Audi, BMW, Mercedes large electric luxury sedans to aim above Tesla Model S?

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2018 Tesla Model S

2018 Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S occupies an interesting position among "luxury" sedans and hatchbacks.

It's far from the best-equipped vehicle compared to mid-size and full-size competitors from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz, but that doesn't seem to matter to its 200,000 or so buyers to date.

The good looks, fast and silent performance, and the Supercharger fast-charging network remains a combination no other automaker has matched.

DON'T MISS: Germans are coming for Tesla, paper says, so now it's 'interesting' (Oct 2016)

It was clear more than three years ago the world's luxury automakers were preparing to take on Tesla, and now their plans are considerably more visible.

Given China's intention of converting the largest new-vehicle market in the world entirely to sales of electric cars at some point in the future, those plans have also been accelerated several times.

We will see long-range battery-electric vehicles in both sedan and crossover utility variants, but the Model S—technically a five-door hatchback sedan—still has no direct competitor almost six years after it launched in mid-2012.

Drag race between 2019 Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X 100D electric cars [video: Jaguar]

Drag race between 2019 Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X 100D electric cars [video: Jaguar]

It now appears that the luxury electric cars that will compete with the Model S are likely to sit above it in both price and features.

While the Jaguar I-Pace crossover is considerably smaller than the Tesla Model X now on sale—though only about $10,000 cheaper—it seems likely that the battery-powered luxury sedans to come in 2020 or later will mostly start in the six-figure range.

CHECK OUT: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche Electric Cars To Target Tesla Model S (Dec 2014)

What's no longer surprising is that Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche will all offer such cars. Such headlines from 2014 as "Germany's Plan to Shock Tesla" now seem simply outdated and quaint.

Here's our rundown of what's known about the top-end all-electric sedans to come:

2019 Audi A8

2019 Audi A8

AUDI: The first long-range electric Audi will be the e-tron crossover that will be unveiled in August or September and go on sale before the end of the year, built on an adaptation of its MLB platform for cars with combustion engines.

Audi and Porsche are now cooperating on a new, dedicated electric-car platform called "PPE" that uses elements from that "MLB-Evo" adaptation and the "J1" platform used for the Porsche Mission E.

Any future Audi large electric luxury sedan will most likely use those underpinnings, meaning a battery-powered A8 equivalent won't arrive until 2022 or so—letting Porsche pioneer the electric sedan segment just as Audi pioneered an electric crossover within the VW Group.

BMW Vision Next 100 Concept

BMW Vision Next 100 Concept

BMW: The Bavarian automaker will launch a range-topping production car to be called the iNext, it said in May 2016. The company added in January that the car will offer 400 miles or more of range when it goes on sale in 2021.

That car will have not only have a long-range battery-electric powertrain, but it will be stuffed with the automaker's most cutting-edge self-driving and connectivity features.

Whether it's a sedan or crossover may be debatable; the BMW Vision Next 100 Concept it showed in March 2016 could become either.

The BMW i Vision Dynamics concept released a year later, however, is definitely a sedan, though sized more like a Model 3 than the larger Model S.

With three years yet to go, more details will likely emerge on the BMW iNext. And if Audi and Mercedes-Benz release much larger all-electric sedans (see next page), expect BMW to follow eventually.

2018 Jaguar XJR575

2018 Jaguar XJR575

JAGUAR: The sedan sibling of luxury SUV maker Land Rover has struggled with its lineup of three sedans (in small, medium, and large sizes).

Its sales have only taken off with the addition of the popular F-Pace mid-size crossover and the smaller and more recent E-Pace compact utility vehicle.

By beating the German trio to the punch with the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover, however, the brand has scored a significant win. That car will be delivered to European buyers sometime in late summer or early fall, with U.S. deliveries likely before the end of the year.

Now, industry rumors suggest that the next generation of the top-of-the-line but aging Jaguar XJ large sedan could be a larger and more luxurious high-performance battery-electric hatchback that would face off directly against the Tesla Model S.

No concept vehicles or confirmation of this new model have yet emerged, but given the plans of the German makers, it's an entirely likely scenario. Stay tuned.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560e

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560e

MERCEDES-BENZ: The latest news in electric luxury sedans comes from the Daimler brand, which plans to launch its first long-range electric car in the form of the EQC compact crossover next year, likely as a 2020 model.

According to an article published Friday by the British outlet Autocar, it will launch a Mercedes-Benz EQS large sedan in 2020 at the very top of its range.

Based on an "MEA" modular electric architecture, it essentially counters both the BMW iNext and a future top-end electric Audi A8 version (though the company might not admit it sees any significant competition from the British Jaguar XJ).

Again, no concept vehicle has yet emerged, but we'd expect to see one over the next couple of years.

Porsche Mission E concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Porsche Mission E concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept

PORSCHE: The maker of high-performance sports cars, owned by Volkswagen Group, seems likely to be the first out of the gate with its 2020 Mission E (which will probably get a model name or number more in keeping with Porsche tradition).

The fast, sleek, 300-mile electric four-door will start at 300 kilowatts (400 horsepower) between its front and rear motors, and offer increasingly more powerful variants.

The first cars may go on sale as early as late next year, and they will offer one feature no other car will have at that point: the ability to fast-charge at up to 350 kilowatts, allowing an 80-percent battery recharge in as little as 15 minutes.

At the Geneva auto show in March, Porsche showed a second variant of the Mission E, the Cross Turismo Concept that could easily be put into production after the sedan is launched. It seems likely to be green-lighted as well.

 
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