Sedan

Volkswagen Plots New Flagship Sedan To Rival Mercedes S-Class

Unsurprisingly, it will be based on the I.D. Vizzion that debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Remember the Volkswagen Phaeton? Launched in 2003 in the US, the opulent sedan was Volkswagen’s attempt to tap into the luxury market to challenge the Mercedes S-Class. Sadly, it lived a short life, as slow sales led to it being scrapped in 2006 in America. It continued to be sold in Europe until 2016, but VW only sold 84,253 units during its 14-year production run. According to Auto Express, the Phaeton will be getting a spiritual successor, as Volkswagen is planning to put a new luxury electric sedan into production . It will be the automaker’s first flagship sedan since the ill-fated Phaeton and will rival the Mercedes S-Class and Tesla Model S.

“Phaeton is a symbol of what VW needed at the time. It was the positing of VW into the upper market and showed the capability of the brand, in terms of quality and tech,” sales and marketing boss Jurgen Stackmann told Auto Express. “I.D. Vizzion takes the same position; it shows our leadership ambition for EVs and, in the more distant future, for autonomous driving.” Like the I.D. Vizzion concept that debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the production version of the I.D. Vizzion will have an electric powertrain and self-driving technology, as well as a long body and wheelbase thanks to VW’s new flexible MEB platform.

While the I.D. Vizzion concept was fully autonomous and didn’t have a steering wheel, the production model will have traditional driving controls. “We want to put I.D. Vizzion into a reality, but not with Level 5 autonomous driving, and the timing is planned for around 2022. We did not even think for a second about what [powertrain] system we should put into the flagship model; it’s a flagship for the next generation.”

The flexibility of the MEB platform will enable VW to offer the I.D. Vizzion with different battery sizes and powertrain configurations. Having one with an electric motor on each axle will create the possibility of all-wheel drive, for example. No range details have been confirmed, but VW is planning large electric vehicles like the I.D. Vizzion to be capable of at least 327 miles on a single charge.

“Luxury will get a new definition in the EV space,” said Stackmann. "I think EVs provide a lot of opportunities to position luxury in a new field because the platform provides a new dimension of space in the interior, and space is perceived as a luxury by many people.”

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