Volkswagen reveals seven-seat, long-wheelbase ID. Buzz, confirms fast GTX version
In surprising news, Volkswagen has revealed a new… holiday, specifically for the United States of America. From now on, 2 June will be known as ‘VW Bus Day’, marking the return of the friendly little van to American shores.
Oh, it’s also revealed said friendly little van, which for its American debut has grown. A lot. This is the Volkswagen ID. Buzz long-wheelbase, which – less surprisingly – is a long wheelbase version of VW’s electric ID. Buzz.
Quite what American citizens will do on this new holiday – wait patiently in line together to charge their cars? – is yet to be seen, but we do know a lot more about the much anticipated seven-seat Buzz.
Firstly, it will have up to seven seats. VW tells us this LWB version was designed in tandem with the regular-length Buzz, and therefore the excellent styling of the original remains intact. It measures just shy of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class (4.9m for the VW, 5.1m for the Benz), a car famously not averse to space.
Though a more relevant comparison might be something like a Skoda Kodiaq (4.7m), or an Audi SQ7 (5m). You will note it is considerably bigger than those first two and equal-ish to the last one, also a car famously not averse to space. The seating options run five (two up front, three in the back, big boot), six (two up front, two in the middle, two in the back, smaller boot), or the full seven (two/three/two, tiny boot).
The second-row is a bench but can be optioned as two individual chairs, while the two back seats – adapted from the US-only VW Atlas – can be folded, angled and moved back and forth. Heck, you can even remove them completely if you want a proper electric van.
There’s a special panoramic sunroof installed in this LWBuzz – the biggest roof fitted to any VW model – while USA versions get an illuminated VW logo on the face (they’re not allowed in Europe, perhaps mercifully). Indeed US-only cars get air-con in the seats too, and Americans will now be able to access the Buzz’s infotainment system, spreading confusion to an entirely new continent.
Such confusion can be mitigated via the LWBuzz’s new battery and motor config. The rear-drive ‘AP550’ MEB chassis can now accommodate a slightly bigger battery – useable 85kWh, gross 91kWh – together with a more powerful e-motor that delivers 282bhp. There’s more torque – 560Nm – while top speed rises from the current Buzz’s 134km/h to a heady 160km/h.
Perhaps more importantly than the LWBuzz’s 0-100km/h time (7.9s, FYI), is its 10-80 per cent charge time. Find a DC rapid charger and VW reckons you’ll do it in just 25 minutes. There’s battery preconditioning fitted as standard too, and the onboard sat nav will add in charging stops if your destination exceeds your range.
VW says the turning circle of this LWB exceeds the NWB – 11.8m vs 11.1m – and it retains the suspension setup and layout of the regular Buzz of course. Wheel sizes run from 18in up to 21in.
“Our aim is to further strengthen the Volkswagen brand in America, and that’s exactly why the ID. Buzz long wheelbase is the right model,” said VW Group America boss Pablo Di Si. VW board member Lars Krause went one further. “In the USA, Canada and also Europe, the VW bus has embodied a unique attitude about life for many decades,” he said.
“The picture of the legendary T1 Lightbus in Woodstock is unforgettable. The DNA of this symbol of freedom lives on in our ID. Buzz.”
A faster symbol of freedom will arrive in the form of the VW ID. Buzz GTX. VW has now confirmed two official numbers – first, its twin-motor, all-wheel-drive setup will produce 334bhp, and second, it’ll do 0-62mph in 6.4s, “making it easy to rapidly merge into traffic when joining motorways”.
Happy Bus Day!
TEXT Vijay Pattni