Hot VW ID.4 R variant unlikely until second-gen ID.4 launch: Report [Update]

  • Limitations of the MEB platform keeping Volkswagen R from releasing an ID.4 R
  • ID.4 R may only arrive in the next generation, in the decade's second half
  • ID.4 GTX could remain the performance flagship with small updates
  • ID.4 R could be launched in the U.S. when it eventually arrives

Update: ‘New VW ID. R compact SUV’ section added.

The VW ID.4 GTX isn’t quite the performance benchmark in its segment, with cars like the Kia EV6 GT, the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, and even the current top-end Nissan Ariya beating the German model without having to try hard.

The Nissan Ariya can attain a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) in its top-end configuration. Floor the pedal for just 5.1 seconds, and you’re already halfway there. The ID.4 GTX is slower, taking 6.3 seconds for a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint. Plus, it maxes out at 180 km/h (112 mph).

A VW ID.4 R that’s both quicker and faster will arrive, though maybe not until later this decade. Speaking to Auto Express, Volkswagen R Head Reinhold Ivenz has said that there’s no plan to launch an MEB-based R model at the moment, the British publication reported on October 28, 2022. Such a model would need a different battery, which would make it very expensive in the current scenario.

Limitations in the MEB Platform

VW ID.4 high performance variant rendering
TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the ID.4 high-performance version of today’s car is a work of fiction!

The MEB platform doesn’t allow high levels of horsepower, Ivenz said. A heavy electric R model would need around 500 horsepower if its 0-62 mph acceleration is to be four seconds, the Volkswagen R chief added. The ID.4 has a higher chance of getting an R variant than the ID.3 because of the popular body style, and as its global availability would present a higher volume. “The R models are better suited to ID.4, ID.5, or ID.6,” Ivenz said. The ID.6 is a China-only model.

In addition to enhanced performance, the VW ID.4 R may offer quicker charging on direct current. The ID.4’s peak charging power is 170 kW (ironically the ID.4 GTX is still at 135 kW), although the MEB platform has the technical capability to allow a charging power of over 200 kW.

MEB+ could benefit performance-focused VW EVs

The MEB platform is receiving upgrades to transition to the MEB+ mid-decade, and future performance-focused VWs, including the GTX models, will stand to gain from this investment. The MEB+ platform will allow charging at around 200 kW, use new-generation batteries consisting of unit cells (unified cells), and enable ranges (presumably WLTP) of up to 700 km (435 miles). MEB+ is also expected to gain performance upgrades that reduces the 0-62 mph acceleration time to around 5.5 seconds.

German publication reports on a future VW ID. R compact SUV

According to a report Automobilwoche released on December 29, 2022, the first VW ID. R SUV will be a large model comparable to the Touareg, Atlas, and Atlas Cross Sport, and arrive in 2026. Insiders expect a compact VW ID. R SUV to follow in 2027 in two versions: 5-seat and 7-seat. The report does not mention if the ID.4 R is connected with this program, but further information should emerge later this year.

TopElectricSUV says

Regardless of its launch timeline, the expectation is that the VW ID.4 R will offer sports car-level performance with SUV practicality and the low running costs of an electric vehicle. The car may appeal to customers looking for a five-seat family SUV that offers thrill-a-minute performance.

Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of a high-performance ID.4 version