Audi chose Monterey Car Week to bring together the three concept cars that show the car manufacturer’s vision for future mobility. Audi grandsphere, Audi skysphere and Audi urbansphere gather on the Monterey Peninsula for the prestigious The quail, at Motorsports rally. During this event, Audi announced the imminent arrival (early 2023) of a fourth concept called activesphere, which fits into the niche of the current Allroad variants of the A4 and A6.
As a result of the Artemis project, launched by Audi to speed up the development of new vehicles, the grandsphere concept presupposes a possible production model whose arrival on the market is planned during 2025. Described by the brand as being “a private jet for road”, the grandsphere concept measures 17.6 feet in length and inaugurates the visual language that Audi will introduce in the near future.
A sign of the times, this concept is electric mobility with two motors driving each axis powered by a 120 kilowatt/hour battery in the floor. The brand claims a total output of 530 kilowatts, which is equivalent to 710 horsepower, while the torque is calculated at 960 newton-meters or 708 lb-ft.
The expected range is 750 kilometers for this concept, which will also be equipped with level 4 autonomous driving, after which the vehicle will be able to take over its movements in certain driving conditions.
Autonomous driving as Game changer
According to Oliver Hoffmann, member of the group responsible for technical development at Audi, the next decade will be the one in which the car will undergo the greatest development in its history, and level 4 autonomous driving will be the most important innovation, one that qualifies as Game changer by Hoffman. This is why this concept has what allows passengers to save time, according to Hoffmann, by letting the car develop on its own to devote to other tasks.
This explains why the grandsphere concept features a cabin with first-class comfort. All seats can recline for relaxation or work when Level 4 Autonomous Driving is activated by the driver, with the steering wheel and pedals back in the dashboard and floor.
We also note the absence of screens, yet very fashionable at the moment, in this refined cabin, where the information here is projected on the surface covered with woodwork under the windshield. If the driver is in control of the car, the driving information is visible, but it is replaced by a cinema-like projection that allows multimedia content to be viewed across the width of the dashboard when the car is in autonomous driving.
In terms of style, the grandsphere concept has the classic proportions of a Grand Touring car, and its particular shapes were dictated by aerodynamics to enhance its autonomy. This concept is also developed on the PPE platform (Premium Platform Electric)which is shared with Porsche, announcing the imminent arrival of a new luxury electric car in the niche of the current Audi A8.
Audi skysphere with adjustable wheelbase
Conceived and designed by the team of designer Gaël Buzyn, head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu, the skysphere electric mobility concept is innovative because it is two cars in one. Its wheelbase can be adjusted at the touch of a button on the dashboard, making it possible to acquire the behavior of a luxury car or a sports car.
In GT mode, the skysphere concept is 5.19 meters long, with a wheelbase comparable to the A8L luxury sedan. When the driver chooses the Sport configuration, the length of the vehicle is reduced to 4.94 meters, while the wheelbase remains the same as an RS 5.
The style of the Audi skysphere concept evokes “a moving sculpture”, according to Gaël Buzyn. The French designer specifies that this car announces a new design language for the Ingolstadt brand, which demonstrates a “muscular fluidity”. The Sky Sphere concept also pays homage to the famous Horch 853, a roadster from the 1930s, with its antagonistic open doors.
A propulsion type concept
The Audi skysphere is powered by a single electric motor with an output of 623 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, driving only the rear wheels. The battery has two modules: one behind the seats and the other between the two seats in the central tunnel. Its capacity is greater than 80 kilowatts/hour, which makes it possible to foresee a range of 500 kilometers. The weight of the skysphere concept is calculated at 1,800 kilos, 60% of this mass rests on the rear axle.
The connections to the ground are ensured by double triangulated aluminum handles, front and rear, the suspension is adaptive pneumatic and the active steering at the four wheels is of steer-by-wire, electronically controlled instead of mechanically. Like the grandsphere concept, the skysphere also features level 4 autonomous driving.
Audi urbansphere, an oasis of peace in the city
Designed for China’s megacities, the urban sphere concept with electric motorization capable of Level 4 autonomous driving is presented as a third living space, after home and office. Also built on the PPE platform, it is 5.6 meters long, 2.0 meters wide and 1.8 meters high with a wheelbase of 3.4 meters.
At first glance, we notice a new interpretation of the Singleframe grill, which is impressive but not aggressive, as well as the very slim headlights and the antagonistic doors, as well as the extended fenders that evoke the four-wheel drive, and this concept is animated by two electric motors.
The cabin is a veritable living room on wheels with seats whose backrests have semi-circular headrests to preserve passenger privacy. These seats can be adjusted in several ways and allow passengers to work on board or relax while watching multimedia content on the oversized screens in the cabin.
In the second row, a floating console even covers a minibar. If this concept was conceived in accordance with the expectations of Chinese customers, however, it is not excluded that a possible series model is proposed in other markets, including Europe and North America.
This trio of concepts clearly announces the German manufacturer’s intentions and its vision for the car of the future.