The new Grandsphere is the second of a trio of “sphere” concept cars that show what Vorsprung durch Technik will be like in a not-too-distant future. It’s electric, highly autonomous and offers driver and passengers an “innovative experience sphere”. Although Audi may not be about to put into production the car you see here, be assured the technologies it contains and the themes it explores will figure in our motoring lives soon.
Compared to the shape-shifting Skysphere unveiled in early August, this one is relatively conventional-looking and as such a clearer pointer to what Audi says is indicative of its next-generation design language – hence widespread anticipation that there is plenty here that will pop up in the next Audi A8. Can you picture this as a tech-laden electric luxury rival for the Mercedes EQS?
That’s a welcome thought because the Grandsphere is almost as rakishly sporty as its “sphere” predecessor with a dramatic – almost Alfa Disco Volante-ish – rear end. But where the Skysphere, with its weird variable wheelbase, showed what a sporty two-door GT convertible might be like, the Grandsphere is an unashamed four-door sedan, and at 5.35 m (17.6 ft) long a big one, too.
It looks good but looks are not what this machine is primarily about. This car has been designed from the inside out so that it is chiefly about its cabin. It’s a variable space where the emphasis is on relaxation, in a private jet sort of way according to Audi. Here, you can relax with friends and family, the tedious business of actually driving the thing left entirely to the car itself.