Audi has revealed its Grandsphere concept, which previews a new all-electric flagship.
“The Audi Grandsphere concept is definitely the representative of the concept vehicle trio that comes closest to a series project,” said Audi brand strategist Philipp Gündert, referring to the Skysphere grand tourer and the Urbansphere SUV concept set for a 2022 reveal.
“We can see that we’re talking about a luxury sedan with an electric drive which will have automated driving at level 4.
“Such a series project… is something we’re setting the stage for, and by the middle of the decade we’ll be ready to present it to the public”
Riding the new Premium Platform Electric co-developed by Audi and Porsche, the Grandsphere measures 5.35m long, 2.0m wide and 1.39m tall with a 3.19m wheelbase.
That makes it fractionally longer and wider than a long-wheelbase A8 and around 120mm lower.
The Grandsphere concept uses a 120kWh battery and a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain.
Total outputs are 530kW of power and 960Nm of torque, with a claimed electric range of over 750km on the stricter WLTP standard and a 0-100km/h time of just over four seconds.
Like the e-tron GT, the Grandsphere features 800V charging technology and Audi says it’ll take just over 25 minutes to charge from five to 80 per cent when using a DC fast charger.
There’s air suspension with adaptive dampers, with a five-link axle used up front and a multi-link axle at the rear.
The lounge-like ambience of the interior is enhanced by the disappearing steering wheel and pedals, which underscore the Grandsphere’s claimed Level 4 autonomous driving technology.
Likewise, the instruments aren’t visible if the driving function hasn’t been activated.
Audi says it expects its Level 4 autonomous driving capability to be available in the second half of this decade, though it’ll be limited to certain roads at first and its availability will still be at the mercy of legislation in a particular jurisdiction.
The Grandsphere is a 2+2, though the front seats are designed to be equally as comfortable as those in the back.
Between the front seats, there’s a compact, onboard cooler that can fit two glasses and a bottle – of soft drink, Audi is quick to point out.
The interior is finished in a mix of wood, wool, metal and synthetic textile fabric trim, and there’s no leather at all in the cabin.
Projection surfaces in the dashboard can be used for infotainment and video conferences.
There are physical dials, though these can be manipulated via gesture control.
The exterior has been designed in classic GT style and doesn’t look other-worldly, as so many concepts do, with an emphasis on cleaner, simpler details that are “more soft” and “more human”.
Nevertheless, there are some typical concept car design elements, like suicide doors, the lack of a B-pillar, and the enormous 23-inch alloy wheels.
Though there’s no combustion engine behind it, the Singleframe grille remains; the interior of the grille is indirectly lit from above for a 3D effect.
Audi says the Singleframe is here to stay, even in the electric era.
It’s an important signifier for the brand, and we want to keep it so that people from the street can recognise an Audi immediately,” said exterior designer Amar Vaya.
“So for the case of the Grandsphere, we decided to repurpose it and put in the sensors and the light functions, so for the future models that’s something we want to explore further.”