After showcasing the Skysphere concept at the Monterey Car Week last month, Audi is showcasing the Grandsphere concept at the IAA 2021 in Munich. The Grandsphere is the second of the three “sphere” concept cars from Audi. The third one is gonna be the Urbansphere concept, but that’s a different story.
For this story, let’s focus on the Grandsphere concept. Unlike the Skysphere which is a 2-door roadster, the Grandsphere is a 4-door coupe. I guess you could say that it is a futuristic version of the e-tron GT. Built on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), it measures 5.35 m (17.6 ft.) long, 2 m (6.6 ft.) wide, and 1.39 m (4.6 ft.) high, with a wheelbase of 3.19 m (10.5 ft.). Those 23-inch wheels are a modern iteration of the wheels on the forgotten Audi Avus concept of the ’90s.
The headlights and taillights mimic the eyes with the intersecting shapes of the four rings logo; look carefully and you’ll notice a pupil. Also, notice the vizor-like design on the windows. The rear windscreen appears to be tiny and is fully hidden inside an integrated roof spoiler. The Grandsphere rides on air suspension—a single chamber system with adaptive dampers.
The doors open nice and wide, and there’s no B-pillar, of course. The rear doors are rear-hinged for additional drama. Once inside, it’s all about digital detox and a relaxed ambiance. Unlike some of the concepts that overload the interior with displays, the Grandsphere takes a minimalistic approach. The information is projected onto the wooden surfaces on the dashboard, for example. Since the Grandsphere is capable of up to level 4 autonomous driving, the steering wheel and pedals can be retracted for an even more relaxed ambiance, or at least that’s the plan. In addition to a physical rotary controller on the door, there is eye-tracking, gesture and voice control as well. What’s more? the armrests house VR glasses for infotainment options.
As for the materials, sustainability is the order of the day. The Grandsphere completely gets rid of leather; instead, there is wool, synthetic fabrics and other stuff made from recycled raw materials.
As for the juicy bits, the Grandsphere has two electric motors—one at each axle, delivering a combined 530 kW (721 metric hp) and 960 Nm (708 lb-ft) of torque. Audi claims a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of just over 4 seconds, while the top speed is “limited” in the interest of range. A 120 kWh battery pack can deliver more than 750 km (466 mi) range depending on the driving mode and other conditions. Thanks to PPE’s 800-volt architecture, the battery pack can be recharged with up to 270 kW at DC fast-charging stations. Charging from 5 to 80% is claimed to take less than 25 minutes at such a station.