After the Skysphere presented in August 2021, it is now the turn of the Audi Grandsphere Concept, an electric luxury saloon that takes its inspiration from a luxurious first-class seat on an airplane. The Grandsphere is autonomous up to level 4, but has a nice trick to be able to take control yourself.
As with the Urbansphere Concept, which should follow in 2022 and complete the trio of concept cars, this Audi Grandsphere was designed from the inside out. The focus is therefore on comfort and luxury in the cabin, in a state-of-the-art way without focusing too much on displays. In fact, Audi even dares to speak of a digital detox.
The interior should give a feeling of space thanks to the relatively large windows and especially the thin mullions, a B-pillar is even missing. Horizontal lines dominate the design, while the rear seat is also a real sofa and looks very inviting to relax in. In the front you look at what at first sight appears to be an empty surface. Until you activate the various infotainment functions, which are projected onto the dashboard to keep you occupied during the move. If you want to drive yourself, the steering wheel appears from a hidden panel.
Large luxury saloon
The focus on the interior does not mean that the exterior has been ignored by Audi’s designers. The Grandsphere is a serious battleship measuring 5.35 meters long, 2 meters wide and 1.39 meters high. Audi calls it a saloon, but it is certainly not a traditional three-volume design. The roofline has the shape of an arch and ends in a kind of canopy over the stern, while a second line follows the A-pillar and flows into a thick C-pillar. The butt stands out mainly because of its large diffuser.
The light blocks are always an element on which Audi places its focus, the Grandsphere is no exception. The headlights resemble the eyes of a predator, but actually each follow the shape of two rings from the Audi logo. The rear lights also have the same light signature. The ‘grille’ looks large and aggressive, but is actually nothing more than a visual and illuminated element behind glass. Audi does indicate that in a possible production version, the sensors for the autonomous driving functions would be integrated in that zone.
And the production version?
The Audi Grandsphere Concept is more than just a fantasy, the powertrain has really been thought through. The model is based on the PPE platform that was developed together with Porsche for premium electric cars, with support for 800 V batteries that can charge extra quickly. The battery pack has a total capacity of 120 kWh, which would allow a range of more than 750 km. Charging is possible with a capacity of 270 kW. The two electric motors, one on each axle, together deliver 530 kW (721 hp) and 960 Nm. The 0-to-100 should be over in less than 4 seconds.
Audi indicates that the Gransphere will not be the direct successor of the A8, but that the concept car does indicate what we can expect from the brand in terms of luxury saloons in the electric era. Several hints were also given during the presentation that we could get a production-ready version in the near future. How close, we didn’t get that again.