18 March 2023 ~ 1 Comment

2023 Volkswagen ID 2all concept: could it be an electric Polo?

Volkswagen has announced details of its latest ID-badged electric car, and the ID 2all concept points to not only a potential reset of VW’s EV recipe, but also the brand itself. PoloDriver.com editor Rich Gooding gets a bit hot under the collar…

On the evening of 15 March 2023, Volkswagen live-streamed a world premiere of a new car. The reveal was trailed beforehand to be the latest member of its ID electric car family, and VW stayed true to its promise, pulling the covers off a brand-new concept version of its small EV, the ID 2.

However, I, like most, was expecting a mini-SUV, as hinted at by the previous ID Life concept car of 2021. What was revealed, though, was much more ‘traditional’. Much more ‘typical Volkswagen’. In short, the ID 2all’s arrival is a very pleasant surprise.

The live reveal focused on Volkswagen’s ‘reinvention’ to become more of a ‘love brand’ (ick) again, leaning heavily on its more traditional values of emotion and ‘top quality’. These have arguably been absent from the first batch of ID models and the ID 2all offers the chance of a reset. New focuses on brand, customers, and products were prominent messages.

‘We are transforming Volkswagen rapidly and fundamentally – with the clear objective of making Volkswagen a genuine Love Brand. The ID 2all shows where we want to take the brand: close to the customer, top technologies and a fantastic design. We are implementing transformation at a pace to bring electric mobility to the masses’
Thomas Schäfer, CEO, Volkswagen Passenger Cars

As if to highlight this, VW’s history was showcased with a parade of past models – including the stunning 1975 Bahama Blue Polo restored by Volkswagen Classic for the 2015 Techno Classica Essen show which celebrated 40 years of the Polo nameplate – the ‘back to its roots’ message was loud and clear. And in my opinion, that’s no bad thing.

Nostalgic brouhaha
Once all the nostalgic brouhaha was out of the way, the lights dimmed, the music volume was raised and the ID 2all appeared from the wings of the Hamburg stage. And I was instantly transfixed. Here was no mini-SUV; here was a car which referenced VW styling cues from the past – parallel Golf 4 rear bumper and door shut lines in particular – and had the appearance, and dimensions of a Polo. Which got me excited.

While new VW Passenger Cars CEO Thomas Schäfer hasn’t confirmed plans to ditch the Polo nameplate with the demise of internal combustion-engined cars in the coming years, there has been no confirmation it will stay either. When the lights went up on the ID 2all, there looked to be hope.

Apparently designed and built in around six weeks by new Volkswagen Passenger Cars head of design designer Andreas Mindt and his team, the car was ordered by management – including Schäfer – when the ID Life idea was halted. Some have commented that the ID 2all looks like it was an old concept dusted off and given a sprinkle of contemporary style, but I disagree.

Yes, there are nods to VWs past – and the front even looks similar to a ‘9N3’ Polo BlueMotion with its faired-in grille – but I think it’s a neat design, helped by the way the bright metallic blue paint finish – similar to Volkswagen’s Rising Blue shade – popped under the lights at the Hamburg reveal. Indeed, it was the paint finish that immediately reminded me of the 2001 Polo S1600 rally car prototype when I first saw the ID 2all from the rear. The car is also said to preview a new Volkswagen design language.

Other design highlights include the crease which runs from the front wheel arch, through the – standard production – door handle and rises sharply, meeting the door rear window corner. The lights in the full-width rear bar have echoes of Range Rover Evoque in their 3D effect, while the 20-inch wheels recall the 17-inch ‘Santa Monica’ rims which were an option on some models of the fourth-generation Golf. As it stands, the ID 2all is said to reflect around 80 per cent of the production car.

Inside, there’s a more geometric dashboard than the current family of ID models. Textured cloth material features on the dash top itself, and on the door cards, just like Volkswagens of old. In front of the driver is a 10.9-inch colour display, the infotainment screen in the centre two inches larger in size. Volkswagen says that the system has a ‘new menu structure’ – partly controlled by a rotary dial in the floating centre console – aiming to answer criticisms relating to the current family of ID cars.

Interestingly, the interior of the reveal concept car looked to use a production Polo 6 interior. YouTube content creator Nobby On Cars stated that it was disclosed that the show car’s interior isn’t the ‘finished product’. The car in the press images reveals the concept’s interior proper, which may suggest there may be more than one prototype in existence…

One neat interior feature of the press image car is a function which allows the instrument panel to display information in the style of a classic Beetle, or a late Mk 1 Golf-era water-cooled VW. In fact, the Beetle, Golf and Polo were all specifically mentioned at the reveal event relating to the ID 2all design, Mindt stating that, ‘We are transferring the DNA of our icons into the future. The ID 2all is therefore also an homage to the Beetle, Golf and Polo.’

MEB Entry platform
Of those three cars, only the Golf has been powered by an electric powertrain in the past, but being an ID, the 2all is of course, all-electric, too. Underpinned by a new ‘Entry’ version of VW’s all-conquering ‘MEB’ EV platform, the difference here is that the ID 2all is the first front-wheel drive electric VW. This is, in part, to save costs and bring the production ID 2 in under 25,000 euros – ‘Volkswagen’ does mean ‘people’s car’ after all, and the ‘#VWforthepeople’ hashtag had Twitter ablaze – but it also frees up interior space.

In yet another Polo correlation, the 4,050mm length of the ID 2all is just 3mm shorter than the current Polo (but only 61mm wide and 71mm taller). Volkswagen points to the iD 2all’s interior having Golf-rivalling space, thanks to the 2,600mm wheelbase which is 48mm longer than the current Polo’s. The ID 2all can carry 490 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place, 1,330 litres when they are folded.

Power from the single electric motor is a Polo GTI-rivalling 223bhp, while the electric range is projected to be 280 miles (450km) on a single charge. The car is expected to be available with two batteries of around 40 and 56kWh, the former using cheaper lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) technology. The larger unit is expected to stick with nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) tech, as shared with other VW IDs. The fast 125kW DC charging speed capability means a 10-80 per cent top up in around 20 minutes for the larger battery. Performance is similar to the current ‘AW’ Polo GTI; 0-62mph takes under seven seconds. Top speed is 99mph.

While it’s not been confirmed that the ID 2all will adopt a name that might reference the Polo, with persistent rumours of the Polo’s imminent demise – let’s not forget that Ford has called time on the Fiesta, after all – this looks to be the perfect EV-era interpretation of my favourite small car. Some reports point to the even smaller and yet-to-be-unveiled ID 1 being christened ‘ID Polo’, others that although the ID 2all probably won’t be an electric Polo, the decision hasn’t totally been ruled out…

Whatever, the arrival of the ID 2all brings with it lots of unresolved questions. But it heralds lots of promise, too. Promise that as the Polo approaches its 50th birthday – coincidentally in 2025, the same year as the production ID 2’s slated launch – it may live on into its sixth decade after all. To me, there seems little point in ditching well-known nameplates, be they Volkswagens or from any other brand. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see what shape – and what name – the production ID 2 takes when it materialises, but I, for one, will have my fingers crossed.

Schäfer said at the ID 2all world premiere that when asked, his team said that they wanted to make the brand ‘shine again’. ID Polo or not, making a small EV which incorporates as many features from the ID 2all concept will, for me, do just that.

2023 Volkswagen ID 2all / 2023 Volkswagen Polo

Length: 4,050mm / 4,053mm
Width: 1,812mm / 1,751mm (excluding door mirrors)
Height: 1,530mm 1,459mm
Wheelbase: 2,660mm / 2,552mm
Luggage volume: 490-1,330 litres / 351-1,125 litres
Power: 223bhp / 204bhp (Polo GTI)
Drive: front-wheel drive / front-wheel drive
Wheels and tyres: 225/40 R20 / 215/45 R17 (Polo GTI)

UPDATE, 8 September 2023: It would appear that the production version of the ID 2 will not take the Polo name, and the Golf, Tiguan and GTI names are the only ‘iconic’ badges that would likely star in a future all-electric Volkswagen model family, says this new article from Autocar.

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