GENEVA – Volkswagen reveals plans for a new electric-powered luxury sedan set to join its lineup as an indirect replacement for the discontinued Phaeton with the unveiling of the I.D. Vizzion concept ahead of the opening of the 2018 Geneva motor show.
Previewing the fourth in what VW executives have confirmed to WardsAuto will be five new I.D. production models already green-lighted by Chairman Mathias Mueller, the all-wheel-drive I.D. Vizzion has been conceived to sit at the top of the German automaker’s lineup, featuring limousine-like exterior dimensions, a plush leather-lined interior and, signaling the technical details of the upcoming showroom version of the new car, a combined 302 hp and an electric range of 413 miles (665 km).
Due to go on sale in North America by 2022, the big sedan forms an integral part of Volkswagen’s multibillion-dollar Strategy 2025 electric-car program. It will join production versions of the I.D. Hatchback, I.D. Crozz and I.D. Buzz and a yet-to-be-revealed 7-seat SUV in an extended lineup of electric-powered models aimed at establishing VW as a leading player in the EV ranks.
Hinting that the latest Volkswagen concept, which uses a twin-motor driveline similar to those in the I.D. Crozz and I.D. Buzz, is more than mere fantasy, VW says its latest concept mirrors how it imagines a luxury-class EV could appear in the future.
“It transfers the characteristic design elements established on other I.D. models to a large sedan. Status is achieved through the intelligent use of space that provides for more interior accommodation than with conventional combustion-engine limousines,” says Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen brand design.
In a double role, the I.D. Vizzion also showcases Level 5 autonomous driving, self-learning, hologram-based interior control and augmented-reality technology that Volkswagen says it expects to incorporate in its models from 2030.
Its high-tech arsenal includes Lidar laser scanners, ultrasound sensors and radar sensors as well as cameras at the front, rear and sides. Also central to VW’s vision for the future of production cars is an artificial-intelligence system that goes beyond the model-based programming of today’s driver-assistance systems and the machine-learning capability of systems expected to be introduced within the next five years by providing fully independent decision-making processes that allow it to drive exclusively without human input.
Volkswagen says it predicts both Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous-driving functions will be a reality by 2025, suggesting fully hands-off driving will arrive sooner than currently expected.
The new concept car on display in Geneva goes without a steering wheel in a preview of VW’s plans to introduce fully autonomous driving capability to its production models by the end of next decade in a 4-seat interior described as a lounge on wheels. Yet, the new sedan is planned to be launched with a more conventional control layout like that of other first-generation I.D. models.
“It’s our intention to launch the car with a steering wheel,” says Bischoff, though we are already thinking about the next step – and that is full autonomous capability where the steering wheel will become superfluous.”
The dimensions of the I.D. Vizzion back up Volkswagen claims that it previews a new range-topping model. At 203.3 ins. (5,163 mm) in length, 76.7 ins. (1,948 mm) in width and 59.3 ins. (1,506 mm) in height, it is 0.6 in. (15 mm) shorter but 1.5 ins. (38 mm) wider and 2.2 ins. (56 mm) higher than the long-wheelbase Phaeton, Volkswagen’s long running range-topping sedan that ceased production in 2016.
The basis for the big one-box luxury car is Volkswagen’s modular electric architecture platform. It has been tailored to the requirements of the I.D. Vizzion with a wheelbase of 122.0 ins. (3.099 mm) – some 7.8 ins. (198 mm) shorter than that of the I.D. Buzz.
Powering the latest I.D. concept are two individual electric motors – one delivering 101 hp to the front wheels, and the other with 201 hp to the rear wheels. Sourced from a modular range of in-house-produced electric motors that VW says will power the entire I.D. lineup, they provide the Vizzion with an overall system output of 302 hp, with drive channeled directly to each axle and, subsequently, all four wheels.
Although no weight figure has been revealed, VW’s computer simulations point to a 0-62 (100 km/h) mph time of 6.3 seconds, a time that roughly compares to a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. gasoline-powered Passat. The automaker says the I.D. Vizzion’s top speed is limited to 112 mph (180 km/h).
Energy used to run the electric motors is stowed in a 111-kWh lithium-ion battery mounted within a flat floor structure to keep the big luxury car’s center of gravity comparatively low and its front-to-rear weight distribution at a near perfect 50:50. The I.D. Vizzion’s claimed range of up to 413 miles is some 227 miles (365 km) more than today’s eGolf, which receives a 204-hp electric motor and 48-kWh Li-ion battery.