Audi presented this Thursday (2) the grandsphere. The conceptual sedan will be one of the stars of the IAA 2021, the former Frankfurt Motor Show to be held in Munich for the first time this year.
The sedan is the second of three concepts presented by Audi. The first one was the skysphere, a sports study launched in August 2021. And the last one will be the urbansphere, whose unveiling is scheduled for 2022.
In common, all studies were designed for level 4 automation. The manufacturer’s intention is that the technology will be available for series production in the second half of the decade.
Driverless – or nearly so
As with most studies, grandsphere anticipates technologies and styling trends that will be adopted in Audi models.
At 5.35 meters long, the vehicle “combines the extreme luxury of private transport with a comprehensive level of on-board experiences,” in Audi’s words.
The grandsphere was developed to receive automation level 4, being able to take over the vehicle’s steering and perform all functions, such as acceleration, braking and cornering. Even so, human presence is still required behind the wheel, as the system can request driver intervention in unusual situations.
In any case, the interior is designed to be a comfortable living room. In standalone mode, there is no visible steering wheel, pedals or instrument panel. According to the automaker, the front seats deliver comfort worthy of a first-class lounge.
Design indicates Audi’s future
The grandsphere design was developed exclusively for electric propulsion. The platform known as PPE (from Premium Performance Electric) has a battery module positioned between the axles, capable of receiving a set of approximately 120 kWh – like the one that equips the sedan.
The body lines are proportional and the huge 23-inch wheels were inspired by the set that equipped the Avus, a sporty concept unveiled in the mid-1990s.
The design, by the way, is an evolution of Audi’s current visual identity. Headlights and flashlights are tapered and can have the illumination area adjusted according to the selected function. Thus, the light beam takes on different shapes to operate as daytime running lights or when turn signal lights are turned on.
Audi’s traditional hexagonal grille gained a new interpretation and was given a simpler and more elegant look, with the four-ring logo attached to the outside of the piece. This should be the company’s new visual identity for years to come.
300 km of autonomy in 10 minutes
The concept is powered by two electric motors (one mounted on the front axle and the other on the rear axle) that deliver a combined power of 720 hp and instantaneous torque of 97.9 kgfm.
The autonomy can exceed 750 kilometers and the car has the same ultra-fast recharge support present in the e-tron GT.
Thus, the driver can obtain a range of more than 300 kilometers in just 10 minutes of recharge. If the charge time is 25 minutes, it is possible to jump from 5% charge to 80% charge.
The vehicle also has an active air suspension system developed especially for electric vehicles. It is possible to adjust the height of each wheel individually by means of electromechanical actuators.
With this, the sedan can actively control the state of the chassis in the most diverse situations. Adjustments can be made in milliseconds, either through information collected by sensors or through images taken by the front camera.