The Volkswagen ID.AERO Is Coming To Save The Large Sedan Using The Power Of Electricity

Volkswagen ID.AERO

As practical and pragmatic as crossovers are, there’s just something beautiful about a sedan. Call it tradition, glamour, or the cultural impact of Harley Earl’s “Longer, lower, wider” mantra, cars that cut a low, sweeping silhouette just look right. Volkswagen hasn’t forgotten this, so the German carmaker is honoring the classy, time-honored four-door silhouette with its new ID.AERO.

First, something to keep in mind. The ID.AERO shown off today is a prototype, of sorts. Volkswagen is tight-lipped about changes for production, but it seems like we’re looking at a relatively finished vehicle. Key tip-offs include the plethora of cut lines between panels, the red reflector set in the lower rear valence, real mirrors, and what look to be street tires. I’d be surprised if Volkswagen changes too much between now and the start of production, so feel free to take this car as a general vision of things to come.

close up front
Photo credit: Volkswagen

Right, preamble out of the way, let’s get down to design. This thing looks awesome. Sure, it’s got the Passat CC four-door coupe thing going on, but that’s to be expected for aerodynamic reasons. The hard break of the roofline in a traditional sedan creates a low-pressure zone above the trunk lid, which isn’t exactly great for aerodynamics. Whether you love or hate sloping rooflines, it’s hard to deny their benefits in EV applications. Perhaps more importantly, this is a sedan of proper scale. Volkswagen says that the ID.AERO is nearly five meters (196.85 inches) long, which puts it solidly in Toyota Avalon territory. This is a big car, and I’m all for it. With the Avalon gone, the Chrysler full-sizers not long for this world, and the Nissan Maxima fading into irrelevance, someone needs to keep the flame of big, glamorous, retail-brand cars for golfing alive.

Mind you, unless the ID.AERO is a liftback, I’m not terribly optimistic about easy loading of golf bags into this thing. Despite having a cab-forward silhouette, it takes long hood, short deck proportions to the extreme. Likely a good thing for rear headroom and aerodynamics, but trunk loading looks to be a bit of a nightmare. Still, looking good feels worth it, yeah? Moving along the side, the ID.AERO makes fantastic use of color, trim, and character lines. The black roof has this sweeping contrasting rail that really enhances visual length, while the main character line above the door handles is as sharp as Gordon Ramsay’s paring knife. Add in an upward-curving lower character line and reasonably tidy flat surfaces around the arches, and you have one devilishly handsome sedan.

Volkswagen ID.AERO side
Photo credit: Volkswagen

Up front, the ID.AERO might just be the best EV application of VW’s corporate face. There’s a pleasing sharpness to the light bar, and the relatively modest lower grille is bang-on with a typical EV’s cooling requirements. Speaking of the lower grille area, take a look at those corner lights. They’re almost like the battery indicators on old electronics, such a neat little detail that fills space perfectly. Between those accent lights and the lower grille sit a pair of body-color swooshes that make the ID.AERO almost look saber-toothed. Honestly, they do a great job of breaking up the lower valence and enhancing visual width. Finally, one last neat front end detail. Check out the hexagonal headlight shrouds! While I have no idea if they’ll make production, they look cool as hell and I’d love to see them on the street someday.

Volkswagen ID.AERO front
Photo credit: Volkswagen

Swapping ends, let’s talk about the back of the ID.AERO, a wonderfully restrained piece of design. The full-width tail light features these diamonds reminiscent of old Pontiacs, while the full-width reflector tucked low on the rear valence reduces clutter and actually feels styled rather than tacked on. Finishing things up is a small yet surprisingly aggressive diffuser-like lower valence. Those strakes are pretty gnarly and likely functional given the curvature of the lower piece. In fact, the black lower valence trim ties in perfectly with the black side skirts and black accents on the corners of the front bumper. Good stuff.

Volkswagen ID.AERO rear three-quarter
Photo credit Volkswagen

While Volkswagen’s given us plenty to look at, they’ve been tight-lipped on performance and haven’t shown us the interior of the ID.AERO at all. So, let’s skip the interior and jump into capability. The ID.AERO doesn’t just look slipperier than a greased skating rink, it mocks the wind with an impressive 0.23 drag coefficient. Combine that with 77 kWh of usable battery pack capacity, and the ID.AERO scores an estimated 620 km (385.25 mi) of range on the WLTP cycle. For context, the longest-range Volkswagen ID.4 has a WLTP range of 522 km (324 mi), so the ID.AERO represents a fairly significant step up. Alright, so that’s an estimated range, but what about efficiency? Well, dividing WLTP range by battery pack size means that Volkswagen’s estimating energy consumption of 5 mi/kWh (8.05 km/kWh) on the WLTP cycle. While EPA range varies significantly from WLTP range, there’s every chance that this will be one seriously efficient EV.

Even more impressive than the ID.AERO’s projected efficiency is the fact that it doesn’t use a new platform. This thing’s still on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, the same one underpinning the ID.4 electric crossover, ID.3 hatchback, and upcoming ID.Buzz microbus throwback. That means the ID.AERO could come with rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, and will allow for over-the-air updates. One thing worth mentioning, Volkswagen has announced future upgrades to the MEB platform, namely increasing charging speed from the current 135 kW to 200 kW or greater, and allowing for more range. While faster charging speeds haven’t been announced for the ID.AERO, there’s a good chance they’ll come along at some point in the ID.AERO’s life, if not from the start of production.

Volkswagen ID.AERO front corner
Photo credit: Volkswagen

Speaking of production, Volkswagen’s taking an interesting approach with this one. The ID.AERO will first be released for the Chinese market, with European and American sales coming in 2024. This sleek new sedan is expected to play in a premium sector, so expect pricing on par with smaller luxury competition, sort of like how the Arteon compares to the Audi A4. Honestly, it’s bold as hell of Volkswagen to consider Arteon sales in America and want to do it again, so I commend them on their bravery. Either that, or the ghost of Ryan Dunn is running the product planning department.

So there we are, the Volkswagen ID.AERO, an air of reprieve from the crossover blahs. Not only is it set to carry the torch of all the tasteful sedans Volkswagen has produced, it might just work alongside Tesla’s S and 3 to save the full-size sedan. Honestly, I’m hoping more manufacturers see the benefits in electric sedans and liftbacks, and pivot away from crossovers in pursuit of range. Low hip points and small frontal areas are blessings for driving feel and range, and have the potential to be really fun when combined with the typical EV platform’s low center of gravity. Needless to say, I can’t wait for the production version of this thing to go on sale in 2024.

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29 Responses

  1. I like it a lot, but mainly because I like large, carefully designed sedans. I’m definitely a potential buyer if it is released as shown.

    I’m not a fan of the taillights, and the “saber-tooth” curls in the front are probably the thing I like the very least about this design.

    Also, I certainly don’t think it warrants two oddly placed “as hell” superlatives.

  2. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just not doing it for me, I mean it is not hideous, hide your eyes, but it is neither swoopy nor stately, certainly better than a Crosstour, but that is about as far as I will go with it.

      1. Pretty sure the wagon is in the pipeline.

        But anyho these lower vehicles really benefit the EV. I mean the drag coefficient is only the part of the equation. The vehicle frontal crossection is the other. And as the wind resistance is power of two to speed, it really matters in the highway speeds.

        F = ½ ρ v² A Cv

        ρ is air density
        v is speed
        A is cross section
        Cv is the drag coefficient

        Same also applies to saving gas. Dropping from 70mph (or 120km/h) to 60mph (100km/h) can drop the fuel consumption about 20%. Especially with larger/higher vehicles.

  3. It’s a nicely detailed medium lift back amongst a small field of similar possible choices. I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s gorgeous but it is distinctly VW.

    If memory serves, aren’t Ford using the MEB platform in the future? Their take on this in the North American market could be interesting.

  4. It’s simply a typical Volkswagen. Boring, nothing special.
    I don’t understand this brand and I don’t get why still so many people buy them, eventhough there are lot’s of better or more interesting options on the market – even in the Volkswagen Group.

    But everytime you ask a VW owner (and there are of course many of them here in Germany) they always tell you the same thing: The quality! The looks! The quality and looks of the interior – it’s not cheap plastic like the asians do it…..blahblahblah. And EVERYONE of them tends to say, that VW is so great and they never cheated with emissions, they just used a different interpretation of the regulations.
    Well fuck off.

    I will never own a VW. Will never be that typical german.

  5. I don’t wanna be THAT guy (on my first comment here at that; hi everyone!), but this car IS A CROSSOVER! Worse, it’s one of those dumb “coupefied” ones!
    The side profile gives the game away, with its tall, tall doors, comparatively small windows and huge wheels meant to make it look less gargantuan. If you need more proof, check out the picture of the rear and see the huge space between the rear “bumper” (not to mention how the lateral line from the side curves up dramatically to make said bumper larger) and the tail lights. Never mind golf clubs, you can throw people there with ease, since it’s such a damn tall trunk lid. You know how I know that? Because this ease of entry for cargo AND people is the whole argument behind having a crossover in the first place! Which, I repeat, this is, 100%.

      1. The video you posted does make the car seem less tall than the photos… However the presenter is not a short man (I am 6’2 and taller than a bunch of crossovers and SUVs, too) and the car itself is quite long, which could explain the proportions. I can definitely see where you’re coming from, in the sense that the proportions are not as un-sedan as I had seen!

      2. Some additions:
        Of course the battery in the floor adds some height to the car, which results in a higher beltline, a slightly higher seating position and therefore a slightly higher roof compared to ICE vehicles. This is imminent to all non-sports car EVs.

        But the Aero concept doesn’t add the extra lift of crossovers. It is in the height range of an ID3, not of the crossover ID4 / ID5. If you’ve seen both on the road, the difference is clearly visible.

    1. Agree, also don’t agree with the comments about this thing being “low”. High beltline (admittedly like most everything else these days) and lower roof, but my ancient eyes don’t see it as a low vehicle
      overall.

  6. Surprisingly reminiscient of the NSU Ro80, especially with the character lines as seen in the quarter views, front & rear. Perhaps not so surprising considering how VW took over NSU during the Ro80’s production run & then produced the VW K70 based on the Ro80, not to mention successive generations of the Audi 80. Never mind the haters, this looks to be a mighty pleasing choice as an upscale EV sedan, plus it doesn’t have any association with whiny adolescent edgelord tweets, so a win-win…

  7. That’s a Kammback rear end. Notice how the rear glass goes to the very rear of the car. The stylists put a contrasting body color strip just in front to given the impression of being a 3 box sedan. I’d argue this is technically a slammed ID.5 and not a 3 box sedan. That would imply it’s a liftback after all. We’ll see!

  8. Funny you mention the Arteon. I feel it is this platform that laid the ground work for current styling of the VW ID line. They were a halo car that was used to showcase the universal useability of technology between gas and electric cars. Most everything you see on a face lifted Gen Arteon is standard gear on all VW going forward.

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