There’s even a plant in the centre console of the self-driving luxury EV concept vehicle.
- Audi has presented the Grandsphere concept, which features a dramatic appearance and represents the brand’s future design direction.
- The Grandsphere concept is an electric car with a vision for autonomous driving technologies in the future.
- A retractable steering column and a large multimedia system projected onto a flat dashboard complete the lounge-like ambience.
This beautiful Grandsphere concept car foreshadows Audi’s future design and engineering. The Grandsphere is the second of a trio of ideas set to appear in the near future. It shares stylistic cues with the faster Skysphere coupe, but adds a more roomy four-door configuration and a slew of innovative technology. Next year, a third idea dubbed Urbansphere will make its debut.
On the WLTP cycle, the firm promises a driving range of up to 466 miles and rapid charging via a 270-kW onboard charger taken from the current e-tron GT.
While the external design is definitely striking and appealing, the interior of the idea is where the concept’s most futuristic aspects are displayed. A wide, flat dashboard with no buttons and no typical touchscreen display faces the driver and front passenger. Instead, the car’s infotainment is projected onto the dashboard, and a camera follows the driver’s eye movement to flip through menus and options. The climate-control system is controlled by physical buttons on each of the car’s four doors, but it can also be changed via hand gestures.
The Grandsphere concept’s biggest stretch is automated driving, and in autonomous mode, there’s no steering wheel in sight. When autonomous driving isn’t an option, such as when exiting a highway into city traffic, a steering wheel and gauge cluster emerge from beneath the flat dashboard, allowing the driver to regain control.
The Grandsphere idea is also strong on the luxury factor, with many high-end details portraying it as an upmarket executive cruiser. The centre console, which is located between the two front seats and contains a cold water dispenser, may be electrically extended forward toward the dashboard to give more storage space. An air filtration and scent diffuser system, wool upholstery, and hornbeam wood trim are among the other upscale features. Audi also included a little potted plant between the two front seats to make it feel even more like a moving living room.
The Grandsphere is now only a concept, but Audi claims to be working on a production version, with a debut planned for the middle of this decade. Although that appears to be a short time period for bringing Level 4 autonomy to the general public, the manufacturing version of the Grandsphere will almost certainly contain some sort of self-driving technology.