That was then, though. Now Volkswagen is leaving no stone unturned in the race to win sales in the world of SUVs, and in particular electric SUVs. This, the ID.5, is not just the firm's first electric coupe-SUV but its first coupe-SUV in general.
Unusually, Volkswagen’s sister brands, Škoda and Audi both have competing products in the form of the new Enyaq Coupe and Q4 e-tron Sportback (the brand usually likes to arrange its line-ups to avoid any awkward head-to-heads). Interestingly, only Volkswagen has tried to pitch its coupe version as a separate model in its range. Time will tell if that was a smart move or not.
Launched initially in all-wheel drive, range-topping GTX form, Volkswagen has recently filled in all the gaps to give the ID.5 a full range of trim options. As with the ID.3, the line-up is almost wilfully confusing with the lower output models (172bhp) referred to as Pro and the higher output versions (with 201bhp) dubbed Pro Performance. On top of that mouthful comes four trim grades; Style, Tech, Max and GTX – with the latter only available with the larger battery.
Volkswagen ID.5 design
Unless you’re a seasoned Volkswagen-spotter, it takes a few minutes to work out the key differences between the ID.5 and the ID.4. They’re effectively the same car from the driver’s seat forwards, and it’s only when you see it in profile or from the rear that you can appreciate the differences. While the ID.4’s roof extends in a gradual curve to maximise rear headroom and boot space, the ID.5’s roofline slopes downwards in a more traditionally coupe-like fashion. The rear window is more raked, too, and there’s a neat integrated rear spoiler. Coupe-SUVs can sometimes look a little dumpy, but the ID.5 is rather good looking in our eyes.
The sloping roofline doesn’t impact too much on interior space, either. While there’s noticeably less headroom than the family-friendly ID.4, there’s still plenty of it, and VW has been clever with the packaging. Six-foot passengers can slide the rear seats forwards ahead of where the roof really starts to steeply drop down, meaning their heads don’t brush the roof too much. And thanks to the ID.5’s long wheelbase, even when the seats are slid forwards, there’s still plenty of knee room.
The boot is actually slightly bigger than that of the boxier ID.4 at 549 litres (although a few litres shy of the Enyaq Coupe’s 570 litres) and comes with folding rear seat backs that take the total luggage capacity up to 1,561 litres. As family transport goes, the ID.5 certainly ticks all the right boxes.
Volkswagen ID.5 infotainment
Much has been said about Volkswagen’s ID infotainment systems in the three years since it was introduced – most of it bad. The ID.5 is lumbered with the same system that first appeared on the ID.3, albeit in a much more polished state. Volkswagen has ironed out most of the bugs that blighted the original and while it’s far from perfect or the best on the market, it is at least usable now. Some screens and menus still take a lifetime to load and populate, but the user experience is a little slicker than it was.
One thing that can’t be fixed with a software update is the switchgear. You can understand why Volkswagen felt that the time was right to junk physical switches (we live in a touchscreen, contactless world after all), but the execution let the whole plan down. Trying to turn the stereo up or down with the haptic slider under the infotainment screen is almost impossible. Using the steering wheel buttons to do the job is equally tricky because these too are haptic rather than actual buttons. Interestingly, Volkswagen is set to put physical buttons back in the facelifted ID.3, so expect the same to happen to the ID.4 and 5 when they get updated later this year.
Volkswagen ID.5 battery, range and charging
The ID.5 comes with a single 77kWh battery option but offers three power outputs. Pro versions make do with 172bhp, while Pro Performance models get 201bhp. Go for the range-topping GTX variant and you’ll benefit from 295bhp split across both axles. If you must have all-wheel drive, then the GTX is only model to offer it.
Volkswagen claims a WLTP range figure of 327 miles, which equates to just over 4.2 miles per kWh. I drove a mixed test route (motorway and town) with an ambient temperature in the low twenties and saw between 3.6 and 4.0 miles per kWh on the consumption display. If we took the lower figure, that equates to a real world range of around 275 miles - which is good but not spectacular. Expect winter to trim off a further 20 or so miles - especially if you don’t have the optional (£1,050) heat pump fitted. This scavenges heat from the battery pack and uses it to heat the cabin - reducing the power drain on the pack.
The ID.5 can rapid charge at a maximum rate of 135kW, which is fast enough to deliver a 10-80% charge in around 30 minutes. Although that’s a lower speed than some rivals can manage (such as the Tesla model 3/Y, Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6) it’s not enough of a difference to make it a deal-breaker for most. On and AC connection, the ID.5 can accept up to 11kW, which is okay, but again, not as good as cars like the Nissan Ariya than can handle 22kW on an AC connection.
Volkswagen ID.5 performance and driving
We drove the Pro Performance model and it strikes a good balance between efficiency and performance. It’s 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds might sound tardy, but there’s a decent wodge of torque that gives it excellent flexibility. It’s no hot-hatch, but can waft from A to B with complete ease.
In terms of ride and handling, the ID.5 does everything you would expect it do. Despite being on big 19-inch wheels, the ride quality is smooth and comfortable while body roll is well controlled through faster corners. It’s not a car to stir the emotions – which is understandable given the target market of families – but those forking out extra for the all-wheel drive GTX may wonder where Volkswagen’s sporting spirit went. Even with Volkswagen’s adaptive chassis control (DCC), Sports suspension and progressive steering system fitted as standard, the ID.5 GTX never feels as though it wants to be hurried through corners in the way a Kia EV6 or even a Tesla Model 3 does.
Volkswagen ID.5 verdict
The ID.5 is a comfortable, smooth driving and good-looking family car that does most things well. However, it’s hard to argue its case against the ID.4, which offers more space and a lower price. Yes, coupes are traditionally an irrational purchase, but the ID.5 lacks the style and sassiness to really mark it out as a coupe in the traditional sense of the word. A £50,000 price tag pitches the ID.5 up against some serious competition, with most rivals able to offer greater performance and faster charging. In isolation, the ID.5 is a pleasant package, but at its current price point, it's hard to justify over the ID.4.