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The new Audi Grandsphere concept made its public debut at the 2021 Munich Motor Show. The four-door fully electric luxury sedan features design and technological details that could be incorporated into the next-generation A8 limousine in the part of Audi’s “Project Artemis” company aimed at developing a high-tech next-generation all-electric platform.
The Grandsphere is the second in Audi’s trio of “sphere” concepts, after the two-seater Skysphere roadster which made its recent debut. Like its sister, the Grandsphere is fully electric and was designed as a study for the future of luxury motor travel.
As such, the concept offers a fresh take on interior design that Audi says has been made possible by Level 4 autonomous driving technology.
Audi Grandsphere: design and technology
In fully autonomous mode, the steering wheel and pedals of the 5.35-meter-long sedan retract into hidden compartments in the dashboard and floor, freeing up even more space with a design that “reinvents the interior.” , the passenger compartment, as the center of the vehicle. “
This revolves around a new infotainment system that projects a full-width image onto the wooden surface under the windshield in Level 4 mode; when the driver takes manual control, these displays are segmented for the driver and passenger.
In stand-alone mode, this projection surface can be used for playing movies or videoconferencing on the go. A sensor bar is integrated under the projection surface to switch between menus and content.
It works with Audi’s new MMI contactless answering system. The physical control knobs for air conditioning and multimedia settings have been moved to the doors, and with eye-tracking technology, the system recognizes gestures, with users able to rotate their hands to raise or lower the temperature. , for example . Buttons can also be physically controlled and provide haptic feedback.
Audi says that, combined with its new MMI technology, the Grandsphere’s autonomous driving mode “opens up new levels of freedom for all passengers”.
According to Audi interior designer Maksymilian Nawka, the Grandsphere represents a change from more traditional luxury cars.
Speaking to Auto Express when the car was unveiled, Nawka told us that “the Grandsphere represents a change of approach. Large luxury sedans have traditionally focused on rear passengers when it comes to comfort and technology, but with a new platform, new architecture, it allows us to do things differently, as the Grandsphere shows.
As a result, the Grandsphere is a 2 + 2, with rear seats more compact than the front seats. The front seat backs recline 40 degrees, improving comfort while allowing passengers to use infotainment, with an angle of up to 60 degrees.
The front headrests can be tilted forward 15 degrees and incorporate temperature-controlled scent air outlets, as well as inaudible speakers for other passengers. There is also a drink dispenser in the center console between the front seats with two glasses.
Leather does not appear on the inside; the cabin is built primarily from sustainable or recycled materials. There are also very few amenities, this highly digital approach allowing the Grandsphere to incorporate infotainment options when it comes to streaming music or video, as well as managing parking information and even recharging.
From the outside, the Grandsphere features muscular GT proportions, more akin to a coupe than a traditional luxury sedan. The roofline is low, reinforced by a slit glass which gives the car a lower and more elegant appearance.
A long hood and tapered tail with the 23-inch alloy rims pushed out to the corners of the car were made possible by the Grandsphere underpinnings.
Audi Grandsphere: engine and chassis
With a length of 5.35 meters and a wheelbase of 3.19 meters, the essential dimensions of the Grandsphere mean that it is larger than Audi’s current A8 sedan.
The Grandsphere is based on the company’s Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture for large electric vehicles and is powered by a battery that occupies that entire wheelbase (also allowing for a “flatter” layout), offering “approximately 120 kWh ”of energy.
The battery powers a pair of electric motors delivering 710 hp, 960 Nm of torque and a claimed range of over 466 miles. Audi has yet to release any performance declarations.
The EPI features an 800V electronic architecture, which means the Grandsphere is equipped with 270kW DC fast charging, allowing the battery to be recharged from five to 80% in less than 25 minutes ; Audi says just 10 minutes plugged into a fast charger will add more than 186 miles of range.
The German brand also specifies that the Grandsphere is the model of the trio (comprising the Skysphere and the Urbansphere SUV which will soon debut) which comes closest to a car ready for production, and given that the firm has already sketched Various elements will evolve in production form for a future Audi luxury model, this new approach gives us a good indication of the direction Audi will take.
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