Remember the beautiful shape-shifting Audi Skysphere concept introduced at Pebble Beach last month? It was the brand's first model to adopt the “sphere” name, and it won't be the last.
Joining the two-seater convertible is another such vehicle – the Grandsphere concept. Unlike the open-top model, the Grandsphere is poised as a full-size luxury sedan, or as Audi calls it, a “private jet for the road”.
While the two concepts may share a similar name, the four-door Grandsphere doesn't look like its drop-top sibling. The sedan doesn't “transform” either, but both are fully electric and have Level 4 autonomous capabilities.
The Grandsphere could possibly be one the biggest sedan Audi has built. It measures 5.35 meters long, 2 meters wide, and 1.39 meters tall with a 3.19-meter wheelbase, making it longer than the current A8 L. According to designers, the yacht-like sizing makes the Grandsphere feel like a “top value” model.
Design-wise, it's unlike a traditional sedan. The front end still adopts Audi's signature Singleframe grille, but the rest of the vehicle adopts a unique styling cue. There are a pair of slim headlights which sit on the corners of the grille. While Audi calls it a sedan, the sloping roof gives it a fastback-like design. At the rear, there's a slim pair of taillights and an extended bumper with an integrated diffuser.
Open the rear suicide doors, and the Grandsphere welcomes you to its luxurious cabin. Both the driver and passenger seats can be automatically adjusted, together with the climate control settings depending on preset modes.
The interior is lined with high-end materials like wood, wool, and aluminum. What's interesting is that there are no screens to be found inside. Instead, the controls and displays are projected atop the wooden surface of the dashboard. Similar to the Skysphere, the pedals and steering wheel retracts when in Level 4 autonomous mode.
The Grandsphere concept rides on Audi's Premium Platform Electric architecture, exclusively built for EVs. The battery module has a 120 kWh capacity and powers to electric motors, one on each axle. Combined output is rated at 710 horsepower and 960 Nm torque. While it may be a big sedan, the Grandsphere is no slouch as it is capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just over four seconds. Audi estimates range to be around 750 km on a single charge.
At the moment, Audi didn't say whether the Grandsphere will make it into production. We're hoping it does, possibly as a future EV replacement to the flagship A8. A sedan this stylish deserves to be brought to life and not remain a concept.