Audi Emphasizes Passenger Comfort, Electric Performance in Its Grandsphere Concept Car

Audi Grandsphere
The Audi Grandsphere electric concept car. Audi AG

Audi continues to show off its electrified vehicle concepts, advancing the company's ideas on what's possible in terms of driving experience, automation and comfort. The German automaker unveiled the Skysphere concept vehicle ahead of The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering. Now, Grandsphere is revealed.

The designers of the Grandsphere sought to break free of the confines of a traditional sedan, saying that it looks "more like a tightly drawn four-door GT with a line the comes straight fromthe wind tunnel."

Design choices meant to evoke the traditional grand touring vehicle are present throughout the exterior. The top edge of the hood continues far into the side of the model. That line continues across to the rear wheel, emphasizing the car's size.

The front and back doors are connected, swinging open simultaneously when passengers enter the cabin.

The 23-inch wheels harken back to the Audi Avus concept from the 1990's.

Calling the technology built for the powertrain "Premium Platform Electric", the car holds two 120-kilowatt-hour batteries, one on the front axle and the other on the rear. The use of electronic coordination between the two makes on-demand all-wheel drive possible.

With about 710 horsepower and generating about 708 pound-feet of torque, the Grandsphere can reach zero to 60 mph in just over four seconds. On a single charge, the car has a range of 466 miles.

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Looking into the cabin, the driver will notice the distinct lack of a steering wheel and pedals. Those are hidden as long as the car is in SAE Level 4 autonomous driving mode. If the driver wishes to self-drive, the steering wheel can be summoned from behind a wood panel.

The interior is outfitted with wood, wool, synthetic textile fabrics and metal that are either synthetically cultivated or recycled. Audi notes that the cabin is free of leather, saying that "even this is in keeping with a progressive understanding of luxury, which is always inseparable from sustainability."

Between the front seats, a chilled onboard cooler is outfitted with two glasses and a bottle for soft drinks.

When getting into the car, pathway identification automatically opens the doors for the driver and any passengers. Upon detection, climate controls and other personal comfort features are adjusted to individual specifications.

The infotainment system will access the passengers' most recently used service and resumes that in the car. The article the driver was reading and the video the passenger was watching would pop up in front of them.

A "reduced-design interior" boasts displays that are all virtual with no dials or black screens present. Instead, the Grandsphere incorporates the company's latest in virtual display concepts from entry to exit.

Displays can be called up by a touch, projected across the entire width of the interior or segmented for driver and passenger on the wooden surfaces under the windshield.

Through a combination of eye tracking, gesture or voice control, handwritten input, or touch, the car learns individual preferences and adjusts accordingly.

A third concept, the Urbansphere, will debut in the first half of 2022.