The ID.5, introduced in 2022, was the third of Volkswagen's series of ID electric models, essentially a coupe version of the ID.4. By the time of this model's launch, we'd already seen two other VW Group brands announce coupe versions of their mid-sized EVs. So the Škoda Enyaq iV spawned the Enyaq iV Coupe and the Audi Q4 e-tron sired the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron.
But ID.5 sales were slow, not helped by somewhat unremarkable driving range figures, lack-lustre performance and a less-than-user-friendly interior media interface. So Volkswagen rushed forward the package of update changes which brought us the improved model we look at here, announced at the end of 2023. The range figures are better, power outputs have risen dramatically and the interior's easier to get on with. Let's take a closer look.
Every ID.5 will come with Volkswagen's larger 77kWh battery (now improved with a new charging management system), but there are two power output choices. The most affordable Pro models now use a 286PS motor, as before mounted on the rear axle. This puts out a massive 75% more torque than the original Pro model's feebler 174PS motor (up from 310 to 545Nm). Despite all this extra pulling power, Volkswagen's managed to make this upgraded motor more effcient too: mainstream ID.5 variants are now supposed to make it up to 339 miles between charges (11.8 miles further than before).
Or you can stretch to the top sporty ID.5 GTX, which as before adds an extra motor on the front axle (creating nominal AWD) but now puts out 340PS (41PS more than before), enough to get you to 62mph in 5.4s. The ID.5 GTX gets a special downforce package, consisting of a larger spoiler and diffuser, to aid high speed stability. And the chassis has been tuned to handle the extra performance, plus there's lowered suspension and upgraded brakes. And customers can order the brand's 'DCC' adaptive damping system too. The steering is Volkswagen's 'Progressive' set-up (where the ratio becomes more direct as the wheel is turned).
Otherwise, the whole ID.5 experience should be familiar if you've tried one previously. If you haven't, there's a bit to adapt to if this is your first experience of EV motoring. No gearstick, no handbrake, no ignition key and just the sound of silence as the fixed ratio transmission blends an almost endless wave of torque into meaningful and surprisingly rapid forward progress.
Like Volkswagen's original post-war Beetle, base versions of this car are rear-driven and when you drive such an ID.5 in town, you quickly realise the real advantages of placing the powertrain - the electric motor and its associated single-speed auto gearbox - on the back axle, thereby freeing up the front wheels for steering duties; the result is a London taxi-like 10.2-metre turning circle. Beyond the city limits, that drive format allows for a near-50:50 almost perfect weight distribution which, together with the low centre of gravity provided by the central battery pack placement, helps disguise the portly weight this SUV must carry around. Traction through the turns is excellent and body roll is checked by firm damping cleverly engineered for suppleness over poor surfaces. All of which ought to provide the recipe for a decently sporting EV - and in some ways it does.
Design and Build
There are no significant exterior visual changes to this ID.5. As before, the coupe-like looks mean the car certainly has a dash more pavement presence than its ID.4 SUV stablemate; and a more slippery 0.26Cd drag factor too, though that only fractionally boosts its driving range.
The big difference with this revised model lies inside, where there's a new bigger 12.9-inch infotainment central touchscreen, with simpler menus, a more intuitive control structure and a more responsive IDA voice assistant. This offers fresh functions, including cloud-based weather information and the status of sporting events or stock market prices. Volkswagen has (at last) illuminated the cabin temperature control sliders. Plus the driving mode selector has been moved to the steering column and the optional augmented reality head-up display system has been enhanced. You still have to put up with a very small (5.3-inch) instrument display.
One hi-tech feature we really like is the impressive augmented reality head-up-display, which artificially projects key information and navigation commands straight onto your view of the road ahead. At the back, there's comfortable space for a couple of adults (though it'd be a squash for three). In terms of space of your legs and knees, as in the ID.4, it's all very impressive - as so often these days in a mid-sized EV uncompromised by the packaging needs of a combustion powertrain.
You'd expect the effect of the tapering roof line to be a reduction in boot space, but actually, the 549-litre capacity figure up to the level of the parcel shelf is 6-litres more than you get in an ID.4. The cargo area's extendable to 1,561-litres when you fold the rear seats.
Market and Model
Prices start from around £51,000 (£1,500 more than an equivalent ID.4) and in the mainstream part of the line-up, there's a choice of 'Style' and 'Tech' trim levels. At the top of the range costing from around £55,500 is the GTX variant, with its 340PS output and all-wheel drive: the GTX ID.5 comes in either standard or 'Style' forms. All versions of this model use the same 77kWh battery. There'll be tough competition, not only from this model's identically engineered Škoda Enyaq iV Coupe and Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron cousins but also from cars selling at this point like the Polestar 2 and the Kia EV6.
All ID.5s come with full-LED headlamps, LED tail lights, rain sensing wipers, all-round parking sensors, heated windscreen washer jets and an alarm. Inside, all versions feature the 'ID.Light', a wide, narrow light strip under the windscreen that assists the driver by flashing or moving in different colours to draw attention to various functions. There's also an 'Air Care Climatronic' 2-Zone air conditioning system, a leather-trimmed and a heated multi-function steering wheel. The upholstery is a smart alcantara-like 'Art Velours' microfleece and the front seats are heated, plus there's an auto-dimming rear view mirror, an electric auxiliary air heater, a wireless smartphone charger and an ambient lighting set-up with up to 30 colour options.
Volkswagen's 'Travel Assist' system is also standard and can do most of the driving for you at highway speeds. It's a pity though, that the 'DCC' dynamic chassis control adaptive damping system is optional - and only on the flagship GTX variant. Volkswagen expects a popular option to be it's 'Top Sports' front seats, which are distinguished by perforated ID logos at the tops of the backrests. All models also include the brand's 'Car2X' communication system which uses crowd-swarm data to warn you about traffic hazards ahead.
Cost of Ownership
As we said in our 'Driving' section, driving range with this improved ID.5 has increased significantly to as much as 339 miles thanks to the new APP550 motor. The other significant change is an increase in charging speed to 175kW - though that only applies to the GTX 4MOTION AWD version; the base rear-driven Pro variants still charge at just 135kW.
To achieve the quoted range figure, you'll need to frequently use the provided 'Eco' drive mode setting, ideally in combination with the available 'B' regenerative braking function, which slows the car significantly when you come off the accelerator. Whatever ID.5 model you select, your charging regime should be quite straightforward. There's a 'We Charge' app that helps you find and use over 150,000 public charge points. An AC1-phase 7.4kW garage wallbox would replenish the 77kWh battery from zero in about twelve hours. Out and about at a DC3 100kW charge point, it'll take no more than around 30 minutes to recharge your ID.5 with enough direct current to cover the next 137 miles.
You should also make savings in BiK payments (there's the usual 2% EV rating), as well as exemption (until 2025) from road tax and ULEZ/congestion charging. Volkswagen says that its aim is to make sure that the battery pack lasts as long as the car and, sure enough, that battery pack is warrantied to have at least 70% of its usable capacity after eight years or 100,000 miles.