With the Audi Grand Sphere Concept, Audi is giving an outlook on a possible A8 successor. The study is a firework of technology and should already correspond to 80 percent of the series!
The possible successor to the Audi A8 starts in 2025
Mercedes has the EQS, BMW from 2022 the i7. And Audi? Currently, there is still no next-generation luxury sedan. But the Ingolstadt-based are also working on it. At the IAA in Munich (September 7 to 12, 2021), Audi is now showing with the Grand Sphere Concept what one can expect from the four rings in terms of the future of the automobile. The Grand Sphere is the second of three announced Sphere studies and gives an outlook on a fully electric A8 successor. Even if that is only planned for 2025, the study should already be80 percent correspond to the production version.
That is the Audi Grand Sphere Concept
- Possible successor to the Audi A8
- Second of three Sphere studies
- Further development of the Artemis Concept
- Level 4 autonomous driving
- Operation via eye-tracking
- Market launch: 2025
Longer than an Audi A8 in the long version
With a length of 5.3 meters, the study promises a luxury class. However, the proportions are more striking than the sheer size: the greenhouse appears to be significantly lower than it is – an effect that visually elongates the car. The trick is a curved aluminum trim that directs the eye and makes the mind believe that the car is flatter. Typically, Audi, the Grand Sphere comes up with a special light graphic. The digital daytime running lights are divided into four vertical stripes, with which the headlights like eyes with iris and pupil look. The stripes are also intended to symbolize the rings of the Audi logo, which in the medium term should become a distinguishing feature of the brand. The air conditioning for the interior is located under the comparatively short front hood, which creates more space in the cockpit.
The chocolate side of the Grand Sphere is undoubtedly the rear. The roofline flows far back and then drops off abruptly. The trunk lid is, so to speak, the extension of the aluminum trim strip described above. This makes the study a mixture of Sportback and sedan. Will that be the case in the series? We remember the 80 percent and say: it could well be! After all, the study of the e-Tron GT already corresponded almost exactly to the series.
Audi Grand Sphere Concept “third living space”
On the way to series production, the doors that open in opposite directions and the missing B-pillar are likely to be lost. The design makes it easier to get into the interior of the study. And that brings us to the most important part of the vehicle: the Grand Sphere was not developed from the outside in, as usual, but exactly the other way around. The focus was on a generous space for the passengers, around which the body was then tailored. According to Audi, the cockpit of the Grand Sphere is supposed to represent a kind of third living space for people next to the apartment and office.
Level 4 autonomous driving in the Audi Sky Sphere Concept
The new floor plan and use make two things possible: electric drive and autonomous driving. The electric drive allows more space, as electric motors and batteries take up much less space than combustion engines, transmissions, and Cardan shafts. In addition, the production version of the Grand Sphere will later be capable of level 4 autonomous driving.
As in the Sky Sphere, most of the routes should be able to be driven autonomously. A chauffeur is no longer needed, so the best seats are no longer in the back but in the front. Here two people sit on comfortable armchairs that can be folded back in two steps of 40 and 60 degrees.
Whether the back seats will only be a kind of bench in the series is just as doubtful as to the houseplant and the water dispenser in the center tunnel. What is certain is that by the forward gerückte dashboard and the steering wheel wegklappende unequal generous space conditions prevail as in Mercedes EQS and Tesla Model S.
Operation via eye-tracking
Advertisements are still needed. If you steer the car manually, there is a small digital display behind the steering wheel. In the autonomous mode without a steering wheel, a huge display is projected onto the “dashboard” in landscape format. It is no longer operated by touch or voice, but by gestures and eye-tracking. Corresponding sensors recognize where the driver is looking and select the symbol. The selection is confirmed by pressing the armrest in the door, and the system changes the menus – which already works well in the concept vehicle. If the air conditioning is to be adjusted, a glance at the corresponding controls in the door is sufficient. With a hand gesture, the system recognizes the desire for warmer or colder air, and as if by magic, the regulator automatically turns in the right direction. These controls are located in all four doors and include, among other things, touch surfaces for opening the door.
The Audi Grand Sphere recognizes people by their gait
According to Audi, the operating system should be similarly adopted into series production. However, the projection displays are being replaced by screens, which are to be housed almost invisibly in the dashboard. What could also make it into the series is gear recognition. No, not for the transmission such as the Tesla Model S . The Grand Sphere identifies people by their gait and prepares the vehicle accordingly. Then preconfigured settings are loaded or the music streamed on the mobile phone, for example, continues to play seamlessly in the car. That, too, clearly goes in the direction of focus on people. At home in the car, so to speak.
A range of around 800 kilometers could be possible
Technical data for the drive of the upcoming series model are still rare. The PPE platform could serve as a basis, on which Porsche’s electric Macan and the A6 e-Tron will also be built. The power source is supposed to be a 120 kWh battery, with which we – depending on the output – would speculate on a range of around 800 kilometers. When it comes to charging, they are still testing. What that means, of course, is also a matter of speculation; Induction technology seems to be ruled out. Rather, it should mean other solutions for paying or charging with a plug.
Whether the Grand Sphere will inherit the A8 or be launched as a new sister model is just as unclear as to the final name of the production model. The series should come onto the market in 2025 – so you have to be patient until more information is available.