Audi Grandsphere Concept First Look Review: Very Grand

The Audi Grandsphere concept is another pilot study by the German brand that features an electric drive system and Level 4 autonomy. It joins Audi’s recently revealed Skyphere concept in this space. With the ability to conceal its steering wheel and pedals automatically, the Grandsphere forgoes a traditional dashboard in order to transform the interior into a spacious lounge. Audi claims the technologies in the Grandsphere will transfer over to future models in the Audi lineup.

The Grandsphere reimagines the passenger compartment and implements vanishing controls. The minimalistic design uses neutral colors and features high-quality wood, wool, metals, and synthetic fabrics. It’s an attractive and comfortable-looking place to while away miles behind the wheel as a driver or as a passenger, be it in one of the front two seating positions or in the two-person rear bench.

Along with being able to handle everyday tasks such as picking up passengers, parking itself, and charging its battery pack, the Grandsphere features a pathway identification technology to anticipate approaching passengers and automatically opens the doors and upload individual profile settings for each individual user. The gamut of personalized comfort features includes the likes of audio, climate control, and seat adjustment preferences.

In between the front seats, hidden away from sight below the metallic trim, is a compact cooler with two champagne glasses and a sophisticated bottle for soft drinks. The doors feature MMI touchless response, and if the driver is behind the steering wheel in the active seat position, they can use this control to haptically select different menus and functions. Furthermore, VR glasses located in the armrests are available for use in conjunction with the car’s infotainment system. Additionally, the Grandsphere incorporates eye-tracking, gesture, voice, handwritten input, and touch controls.

Built on what is known as the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), the battery-electric Grandsphere concept features a 120-kWh battery pack, and two electric motors—one at each axle—to produce a mighty 711 hp and 708 lb-ft of torque. Those figures allow the Grandsphere to scoot to 62 mph in a little more than 4.0 seconds, per Audi.

Armed with 800-volt charging technology, the Grandsphere is reportedly capable of adding up to 186 miles of range in 10 minutes when hooked up to a compatible charger. Depending on the drive system settings and power output, the Grandsphere offers more than 466 miles of driving range on a single charge, according to Audi.

The Grandsphere is certainly a grand-looking thing, too, and its 126.0-inch wheelbase overshadows that of today’s long-wheelbase Audi A8. Audi wraps a taut body around the concept’s massive 23-inch wheels and incorporates details such as a hexagon-style grille in place of the brand’s typical single-frame design, slim LED headlights and taillights, and a fastback-like roofline.

Focused on delivering a first-class way of traveling on the road, Audi’s Grandsphere concept is more than a means of getting from point A to point B. Just how much of this flagship EV concept finds its way to future Audi models, however, remains to be seen.

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