Big luxury cars are all switching to electric powertrains and the competition is getting pretty tough. The BMW i7 is among the newest big electric luxury sedan but it’s far from the only one. There’s the Mercedes EQS, Lucid Air, Tesla Model S, and next year there will be the next-generation Audi A8.

According to this new report from Autocar, the upcoming electric Audi A8 will be coming next year and is said to be built on the VW Group’s PPE electric architecture. It’s the same electric platform that will underpin the next-gen Audi A6 e-tron, Q6 e-tron, and several upcoming Volkswagen and Porsche models. Just that alone will give it an advantage over the BMW i7, which is built on a modified CLAR platform that’s shared with internal combustion variants.

Audi will also be shaking up the A8’s design and won’t go with a traditional three-box sedan look. Instead, it’s going to get a bit funky and give the A8 styling similar to Audi’s Grandsphere concept. So expect something very sleek, aerodynamically slippery, and potentially with a rear hatch. Electric powertrains allow automakers to get weird with their styling and Audi looks to take full advantage of that.

There are no official specs just yet but Autocar claims that Audi’s Grandsphere concept specs should be close to production-ready A8 specs. That would give it a 120 kW battery pack and up to 466 miles of range. While the battery pack is likely, the range figure will almost certainly come down when it hits the assembly line. As with all PPE-based VW Group cars, the Audi A8 will have 800-volt technology, with up to 270 kW charging speeds.

If the Grandsphere concept’s power specs carry over, the Audi A8 will pack 711 horsepower and 708 lb-ft, giving it more horsepower than every BMW not called the XM Label Red. Though, as with all concepts, we expect the power to decrease by the time it reaches the road.

We’re not sure exactly when the next-gen Audi A8 will debut, just that it will likely be sometime next year, potentially as a 2025 model. However it will be a very difficult rival for BMW to deal with when it does. BMW’s decision to base the i7 on the CLAR-based 7 Series automatically sets it behind many of its competitors. The Audi A8 will be built on a clean-sheet EV platform and both its styling and packaging will benefit from it. It will be very interesting to see how BMW responds to more and more EV luxury sedans in the coming years, especially since we’re only on the first year of the i7’s life-cycle, so there are many more years left before BMW replaces it with something Neue Klasse-based.

[Source: Autocar]