Is this sleek, mysterious concept a Volkswagen?
A series of images published on the World Intellectual Property Organization’s website have asked more questions than they answer.
The model takes the form of a long, sleek sedan fitted with a pair of gullwing doors. Its front end is characterized by bulging fenders and a pair of round LED headlights integrated into air vents, while its rear end gets a big, shark-like fin and thin tail lamps connected by a light bar.
The sedan borrows styling cues from all over the automotive landscape. To us, the rear end looks McLaren, the wheels are reminiscent of the ones found on recent Lamborghini models, and the concept’s front end bears more than a passing resemblance to the Concept IAA that Mercedes-Benz showed during last year’s edition of the Frankfurt Auto Show. No logos are visible, as is generally the case with patent images, so it’s difficult to pin down which brand this car belongs to.
The images were uncovered by members of the VW Vortex forum, and the original poster claims they preview a Volkswagen Group concept that’s all-electric and fully autonomous. We can rule out quite a few brands if that assumption is correct. It’s not an Audi because the company’s design language has been evolutionary at best for at least a decade, and we feel it’s safe to rule out Bugatti and Porsche because both of those brands have strong defining styling cues that aren’t accounted for on this model. Finally, it’s far too upscale to be a SEAT or a Škoda, and it goes without saying that Ducati, MAN, and Scania aren’t plausible options.
Volkswagen recently announced the imminent launch of a yet-unnamed 13th brand focused on mobility, but its task will be to develop car-sharing programs and autonomous shuttles, not high-end sedans presumably aimed at the Tesla S. That leaves us with Lamborghini, Bentley, and Volkswagen, though the front end looks far too soft for the Raging Bull’s rumored Porsche-based electric sedan. And even if it’s a Volkswagen or a Bentley the concept represents a drastic design shift. Ultimately, could this be our first look at the all-electric model that will fill the void left by the Phaeton? The Volkswagen brand is out to re-invent itself, after all.
Of course, it could also be a wild, science fiction-esque concept developed by a shady vaporware startup based in China. Regardless of who makes it, the concept was designed to turn heads so odds are it will be revealed during a major auto show in the not-too-distant future. That means we’ll see it either next month in Los Angeles, or in January in Detroit. However, given the tech-focused nature of the sedan it might also be the star of the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES).