Volkswagen ID. 7 review by Samual James, Accredited Volkswagen Business Development Manager, at Marshall Volkswagen Gatwick

There’s no question about it, I’m a Volkswagen fan. Not only that, but I am also a massive ‘petrolhead’. My mum always used to say, ‘Anything that has wheels, Sam will love’. My first word was ‘car’, I grew up playing with toy cars, and I would fall asleep at night dreaming of driving a car. Anything that involved the sound of an engine, I would be all over.

Not even two months after my 17th birthday I passed my driving test and got behind the wheel of my first car. I can’t even tell you the thrill I felt when I had the key in my hand, the first time I turned it in the key barrel, put the clutch down, handbrake off, and away I went (bunny hopping down the road). My first experience of true independence. I was the happiest I had ever been.

The sound of the engine added to the experience of the driving the car. Actual physical components working closely together. Making sounds, making heat, making smells, and of course, with the right input from me, making the car actually move along. I knew, that if I did something wrong, the car wouldn’t work. I feel like there was something about this that made it a true skill to drive properly.

Fast forward to 14 years later, I’m leaving work after a very busy week, ready to enjoy my even busier weekend. I unplugged the ID.7, stepped in, connected my phone, and off I went.

I pulled out of work, to the audible ‘whoosh’ sound in the cabin. Obviously, it’s not an engine, and it’s not the electric motor, but nonetheless it made me smile.

I emerged from the congested Gatwick area, got onto the motorway, set the cruise control, and off I went. The ID.7 effortlessly driving along the motorway. The cabin was absolutely silent. I had to keep checking down to see if I was actually doing 70MPH, the sound in the interior genuinely made it feel like it was travelling at half that speed.

I then came up behind a car travelling slower than I was, I saw an arrow pop up on the heads-up display. I touched the indicator stalk, and the ID.7 automatically moved to the lane next to me. I know this isn’t ‘new’ technology as such, but it’s still a step closer to a fully self-driving car. Just the right amount of assistance, in my opinion.

As I travelled further down the motorway, I remembered that this was the first Volkswagen equipped with integrated Chat GPT, a system that makes communication with the car as seamless as it really should be to be honest. I asked it to tell me a joke, ‘What sound do grapes make when you step on them? They wine!’.

I arrived home and said to myself that I wouldn’t charge the car until I genuinely needed to. I wanted to see how far the ID.7 would travel with real-life driving, using all the features we would use on a new car. I had a weekend packed with social events; knew I’d do probably at least 200 miles.

Saturday came and I had a trip to East London planned. Me and my partner got into the car, and we left (a little later than we should have done), so I wasn’t driving in the most efficient way I could.

We arrived and (for the people that know), the car achieved 3.9 miles per kWh. Mightily impressive for a vehicle that weighs near enough 2.2 tonnes that wasn’t being driven with a particularly light right foot.

The drive home was a much more relaxed affair. Again, I wasn’t driving with my eco-hat on, but I wasn’t going mad either. We tried literally everything out that we could; heated seats, massaging seats, heated steering wheel, warm air through the automatically adjusting air vents (I’ll touch on this later). You name it, we had it on. The ID.7 is a fantastic car to crunch up the miles, in the right drive mode it wafts along like a much larger luxurious car from the classes above. The way it drives along the motorway actually reminds me a lot of the old Phaeton that Volkswagen produced way back when.

We got home and the car had averaged 4.5 miles per kWh. If we had driven in that way, for the whole battery charge, the car would have done around 350 miles without stopping for a charge. Bear in mind, we were using pretty much every single battery depleting feature, it was windy, and it wasn’t warm. 9 degrees at most.

The next day I was meeting with some friends for breakfast. These friends are also car crazy. They were both impressed with the design, space, and interior of the ID.7. The historical issue with electric cars is that the battery technology really is the expensive part of the car, so to keep the costs competitive, the interior is normally the place that suffers. The fit and finish really is second to none in the ID.7, and the technology really is unrivalled. Take the air vents, for example. They are now digitally controlled through the large centre touch screen. The benefit of this, is that you can ask the voice control to point the fans anywhere you want, without taking your hands off of the wheel. You can even ask it to oscillate the air around the cabin, like a fan at home. The ID.7 even tracks the location of the sun in relation to the car, and automatically adjusts the vents so you don’t feel the heat coming through the glass, stopping us from lowering the temperature in the cabin. Genuinely mind-boggling tech that I never even thought we needed.

Driving home from breakfast I thought I’d see how the ID.7 handles some fun country roads. Like most modern cars, the ID.7 has different driving modes. The ‘Sport’ mode tightens up the steering, changes the throttle response, tightens up the suspension settings, and also pumps more of the ‘woosh’ sound into the cabin. It also changes the battery regen settings, so the car feels like it’s engine braking when you lift off of the accelerator. Honestly, it handles like it’s on rails. The rear-wheel-drive setup makes the car feel like it's being pushed along rather than pulled from the front, and the way it syncs with the synthesised sound in the cabin is absolutely addictive. Alike other electric cars, the ID.7 isn’t a slouch. Remember, EV’s have no gearbox to flick through, no engine revs to speed up. Torque is instantaneous, and the power delivery just doesn’t stop. 0-60 on the ID.7 happens in just over 6 seconds. I arrived home with a smile from ear to ear. Remember, this is the same car that I mentioned earlier felt like a large luxury saloon on the motorway. Truly a car with two personalities. I can only imagine how good the upcoming GTX performance version will be to drive.

The next morning, I drove into work thinking about what to write on this review, I was absolutely bowled over by this car. It does everything you could ever need a car to do. Its quiet, refined, extremely comfortable, and can turn into a sports car at the touch of a button if you’re in the mood for some fun.

I arrived with 86 miles of range left in the ‘tank’. I’d reset the trip computer when I first left and had done 242 miles in total. Even after my fun ordeal through back lanes, even after my inefficient drive on the Saturday to East London. So, a total of 328 miles was predicted.

I didn’t need to charge, but should I have needed to, the ID.7 will charge at 175kW at a rapid charger. 5-80% can happen in less than half an hour. Bear in mind, 80% in my real-world driving experience would equate to over 260 miles, so you’d only charge for what you need.

Earlier I mentioned that I’m a true petrolhead, I’ve been really nervous about the switch to EV, the absence of a roaring engine and mechanical parts working together to make it move. The fact that I would no longer need to have a skill to drive it, the assistance systems taking over. The idea of a self-driving car literally made me hold my head in my hands. I love driving.

The ID.7 has shown me that actually, the above doesn’t really matter. The cars soul lies purely in the way it’s connected to the road, and the way that it makes you feel. Some might say that the absence of a roaring engine is a sacrilege. But the instant torque, the silent surge of power – it’s an unexpected thrill. It's not the same, granted, but it's a different kind of exhilaration. Dare I say, an addictive one? And the handling? Unbelievably sharp for its size, defying all my expectations. It really felt like a very well executed hot hatch.

Consider this not as a review, but a car enthusiast who has challenged his preconceptions. The open road might look a little different in the electric age, but the thrill of the journey, that remains constant. And that, I believe, is something both petrolheads and EV fans can agree on.