Volkswagen has revealed its plans for a new electric-powered luxury saloon that is set to join its line-up as an indirect replacement for the discontinued Phaeton with the unveiling of the bold ID Vizzion concept at the 2018 Geneva motor show.
The four-wheel-drive concept previews the fourth in what officials at VW's Wolfsburg headquarters in Germany have confirmed to Autocar will be a series of five new ID production models already granted a green light by chairman Matthias Müller. The ID Vizzion has been conceived to sit at the very top of the German car maker’s line-up, featuring limousine-like exterior dimensions, a plush leather-lined interior and, in a pointer to the technical details of the upcoming showroom version of the new car, a combined 302bhp and an electric range of 413 miles.
Set to go on sale in the UK in 2021, the big saloon forms an integral part of VW’s £10 billion Strategy 2025 electric car programme. It will join production versions of the ID Hatchback, ID Crozz and ID Buzz, plus a yet-to-be-revealed seven-seat SUV in an extended line-up of electric-powered models aimed at establishing VW as a leading player in the electric car ranks.
Hinting that the latest VW concept, which uses a twin-motor drivetrain similar to the ID Crozz and ID Buzz, is more than mere fantasy, VW says its latest concept mirrors how it imagines an electric-powered luxury class model could appear in the future.
“It transfers the characteristic design elements established on other ID models to a large saloon. Status is achieved through the intelligent use of space that provides for more interior accommodation than with conventional combustion engine limousines,” said Klaus Bischoff, head of VW brand design.
In a double role, the ID Vizzion also serves to showcase Level 5 autonomous driving, self-learning, hologram-based interior control and augmented-reality technology that VW says it is developing and expects to incorporate on its models from 2030.
Among its hi-tech arsenal are LIDAR laser scanners, ultra-sound sensors and radar sensors, as well as a series of cameras at the front, rear and sides. A further central component in 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 touted to be introduced within the next five years by providing fully independent decision-making processes that allow it to drive exclusively without human input.
VW said it predicts that both Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving functions will be a reality by 2025, suggesting fully hands-off driving will arrive faster than currently expected.