Audi reverses luxury sedan with new Grandsphere concept

Audi’s design team is in the midst of what’s called the “Sphere Trilogy,” exploring how autonomous driving can transform the luxury car experience. At Monterey Car Week in August, the team showed off the SkySphere, which transforms from stubby sports car to autonomous cruiser, increasing its wheelbase as the driver’s controls move out of sight. Soon, we’ll see a (possibly compact) urban area, but today, it’s the turn of the Grandsphere sedans. And no, none of the names are capitalized.

The Grandsphere doesn’t need morphing bodywork; The vehicle is tall enough that there is always more than enough space inside, no matter who is driving. At first glance, the car looks like a grand tourer, but there’s a visual trick in the works. The base of the windshield extends well beyond the A-pillar, which curves almost to the front axle.

Up front, Audi’s distinctive grille (actually called singleframe) is no longer an actual grille; It’s there so the Grandsphere is a recognizable Audi. Even in our video briefing, the singleframe appeared as if it – and therefore the rest of the car – was a render, the way it was lit from within. (CGI conspiracies to save ted lasso; The car is a real, full-size, physical concept.)

The GrandSphere might be the first concept I’ve seen that manages to do the trick of being a four-seat sedan And 2+2 at the same time. The car is over 17 feet long (5.3 meters to be precise), and you can see from the shots of the open doors that the rear looks huge. But even that two-person bench seat feels a bit spartan.

Instead, all attention is focused on the front seats. Audi says autonomous driving allows the car to reverse the normal order in the case of large luxury sedans, where the rear seats stretch and relax.

First class airline seats are the obvious inspiration; The phrase “first class” appears seven times in briefings. I wonder if the effect is the same without the attentive cabin staff asking the occupants if they want anything to eat or drink, though.

Freshly, Grandsphere is screenless. Instead, displays are offered on wood veneer, with the option of physical controls or gestures and gaze tracking as a way to interact with the infotainment. (There are also VR glasses hidden in the door panels, a nod to Audi’s stake in the Holoride.) When it’s time for a human to drive, the wheel slides out of a compartment neatly into the back of the dash.

While I’m not sure there’s any suggestion that the Grandsphere will ever be more than a concept, Audi says the vehicle uses the upcoming PPE electric car platform. The company also shared some specifications – battery power of “approximately” 120 kWh and a total output of 530 kW and 960 Nm from the pair of electric motors (one for each axle).

Listing Image by Audi

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