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Volkswagen ID. Code concept hints at future models. Image by Volkswagen.

Volkswagen ID. Code concept hints at future models
The ID. Code concept previews new design language for Volkswagen in the Chinese market.
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What's all this about?

This is the Volkswagen ID. Code concept car, which made its debut at the Auto China motor show in Beijing. Neither a flight of fancy nor a preview of a specific forthcoming model, the ID. Code is a taster for how a new wave of models being developed in China for the Chinese market will look. That design language will influence many models being specifically developed, though designers haven't denied that some of that style could make its way into models closer to home.

How big is the Volkswagen ID. Code?

It measures in at five metres, putting it on par with a Touareg for reference, and in true concept car style it rides on massive 24-inch wheels. The design team, led by Andreas Mindt, gave the ID. Code a sporty profile with a gently sloping roofline and roof spoiler that directs airflow over the rear glass. Light bars span the car's full width and wrap around the rear arches. Those wheel arches are intentionally pronounced to give the ID. Code a planted look and emphasise its performance nature, even though VW hasn't announced any technical specifications or powertrain details.

What kind of tech is onboard?

One feature of the ID. Code's design is how it integrates the array of sensors and radars for its Level 4 autonomous driving system. These are visible on the lower section of the front bumper, atop the windscreen, along the sides, and on the rear quarters. When the autonomous driving function is active, a bright teal surround illuminates them to signify to other road users that the car is driving itself.

This approach is becoming a standardised way of signalling autonomous driving features after another German marque, Mercedes-Benz, was granted approval for Level 3 autonomous driving in the United States. Its system also displays a teal or turquoise light markers when active.

But there's much more inside, especially from a comfort and entertainment perspective. The four-seat layout is more akin to a luxurious lounge than a car, with comfortable reclining seats and an abundance of warm ambient lighting.

Both front and rear seats are divided by centre consoles containing a touchscreen display that can retract when not required. A pop-up lamp also contains a cup holder, while up front, there is a steering yoke. When the car switches to its automated driving mode, this steering yoke tilts forward and retracts into the dashboard out of the way. Passengers can rotate the front seats 180 degrees to create a conference-style arrangement where everyone is face-to-face.

Anything else?

As with so many cars these days, the ID. Code features a digital assistant, except this one appears in human-like form projected onto the window as you approach. It can remind you to take a jacket because it will rain later that day or give you a heads-up that the traffic on your usual route is heavier than normal.

Why is it only for China?

China is a significant market for Volkswagen, although it has recently lost some ground to newer local brands. That market is so big, with such different demands and tastes to European and US buyers, VW has long produced specific models for China. Alongside its two joint venture partners, Volkswagen has recently entered into a new partnership with Xpeng. The Volkswagen China Technology Company (VCTC) is also developing a new electric vehicle platform that will carry at least four new models. The China Main Platform (CMP) will go into production in 2026.

Volkswagen has big plans for the coming years in China, introducing more electric vehicles that will grow the ID. family to 16 models by 2023. Five of those EVs will be part of the new ID.UX sub-brand that is scheduled to launch in 2027. These models will feature more progressive designs and include a new form of infotainment specifically targeting younger buyers. The first of these models will be called the ID.UNYX.

In addition to a raft of new EVs, Volkswagen will renew its current combustion-engined range along with more efficient plug-in hybrids that focus on delivering electric driving ranges of more than 100km (62 miles). A total of 18 new models are in the pipeline to debut by 2030.

Dave Humphreys - 24 Apr 2024

2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.

2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID. Code concept. Image by Volkswagen.    - Volkswagen road tests
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