Future Models - Volkswagen 2016 Phideon
Geneva show: VW goes PHEV with Phideon
Electric dreams: VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller touched on the company's plans to roll out more electrified and autonomous models in coming years.
VW Phideon revealed as Mueller details focus on electric and autonomous vehicles
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1 March 2016
VOLKSWAGEN Group chief executive officer Matthias Mueller has signalled a
greater push towards electrification and autonomous technologies, pledging to
establish a chain of "future centres" to develop vehicles for the digital age.
Speaking at a pre-Geneva motor show media event where the company also revealed
the Phaeton-replacing China-only Phideon large premium sedan, Mr Mueller
emphasised the massive impact electric vehicles and digital tech will have on
“Electro-mobility and digitisation – the two large topics of the future – will
change the fundamentals of our business to a degree that many have not
realised,” he said.
“Our business will undergo a similarly radical transformation as has happened
in media, retail and consumer electronics.”
Describing digitisation as a “game-changer”, Mr Mueller announced that VW Group
would open three “future centres” in Europe, America and Asia “ where designers
and digital experts will work hand in hand to develop the car of the future”.
Repeating the company's commitment to bring 20 new electrified models to market
globally by 2020, Mr Mueller predicted better charging times and driving ranges
in the future.
He called on governments and the private sector to work together on EV charging
“Pure electric ranges of more than 500km are feasible by end of decade," he
said. "The charging times will drop to just take the time of a coffee break,
and in the long run, the electric car will cost less than a car with a
“Nevertheless this alone will not suffice. For electro-mobility to roll out
more quickly, we now need politicians and businesses to join hands,
particularly to build a charging infrastructure without gaps. This is the
precondition to customers' trust growing in this technology. We need to walk
the talk as time is pressing.”
Mr Mueller also said the company would put far greater emphasis on autonomous
technology, and he predicted that the group would bring the tech to market
ahead of its competitors, with full autonomous vehicles on the roads by 2025.
During his speech, the covers came off the Phideon “four-door coupe” that will
replace the ageing Phaeton sedan and eventually be offered with a plug-in
hybrid electric drivetrain.
Volkswagen says it was developed in Germany with the assistance of its Chinese
manufacturing partner, SAIC, adding that it can act as a “sports saloon” and a
Revealed in Geneva in range-topping 220kW 3.0 TSI 4Motion all-wheel drive
guise, the Phideon is the first Volkswagen-badged model to use the Group's MLB
(Modular Longitudinal Matrix) platform that underpins the new-generation Audi
Q7, A4 and forthcoming A8 as well as the Bentley Bentayga.
It will be powered by a pair of petrol engines – no diesel powertrain will be
made available – including the 220kW/440Nm 3.0-litre V6 and a 2.0-litre
four-cylinder TSI engine from front-wheel drive variants, while a
yet-to-be-detailed plug-in hybrid version is also planned.
The Phideon – a name that “phonetically and symbolically evokes Fides, the
Roman goddess of fidelity” – measures 5050mm long, 1870mm wide and 1480mm tall
with a wheelbase exceeding 3000mm, giving it similar dimensions to that of the
Australian-built Holden Caprice.
In terms of design, the Phideon carries a similar look to that of the Phaeton
that it replaces, but brings more modern lines, a sleeker front end with new
LED headlights integrated into the grille, a design element the company says
will end up on future high-end sedans.
A character line is evident on the side profile, the alloy wheels are taken
from the C Coupe GTE concept from last year's Shanghai motor.
Chrome highlights are featured front and rear, while tail-lights are LED,
sitting above stainless-steel tail-pipes.
Inside, the five-seater features the usual luxuries - a lounge-like atmosphere
as well as a dashboard and cabin architecture focussed on “technical design and
It also has air suspension, five selectable driving modes, electric
soft-closing doors, head-up display, a camera-based night vision system warning
of people or animals on or near the road even in pitch-black darkness or fog, a
surround-view monitor, adaptive cruise control, park assist, a range of active
safety features and access to Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink.
The Phaeton was launched in 2002 and went on sale in Europe, the United States
and China. US sales stopped in 2006 due to low take-up.
Marketed as a rival to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS, the
Phaeton has undergone two major facelifts since launch with production finally
ending this month ahead of the roll out of the Phideon.
VW announced in October last year – shortly after the diesel emissions cheating
scandal started unfolding – that the Phaeton replacement would be electrified.
More reveals are expected from Volkswagen overnight, including a crossover
concept that previews a sub-Tiguan production model.