Audi is planning to make quite a scene over the coming year by debuting not one, not two, but three concepts. All are based around the company’s “spheres” theme and are named as such, with each visualising a different aspect of Ingolstadt’s idea of personal mobility.
The first show car is the skysphere, which is set to be revealed on August 8 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. As the name suggests, it’s an open-top grand tourer, with the teaser above showing a very long bonnet and cab-backward proportions.
Another video reveals a reimagined closed-off version of the “singleframe” grille, now taking up the full width of the front end and featuring an illuminated rhombus pattern; the latter can also be found at the back, forming the taillights. Also visible are the cross-shaped headlights and twin cowls on the rear deck. The car is being pitched as a driver’s car while also offering autonomous driving capabilities.
Following the debut of the skysphere, the grandsphere will make its world premiere at the Munich Motor Show in September. Taking the form of a large luxury fastback, it is the most significant of the trio, as it will preview a production car coming further down the line. According to Autocar, that car will be the result of the Artemis project – an electric flagship to replace the A8.
Teaser images released a few weeks ago showed the car’s massive wheels, suicide doors and a cabin that emphasises the front occupants, with comfy-looking chairs and a sizeable centre console with drinks holders and even space for a plant. There’s still a steering wheel, mind – one with a flat top and bottom that presumably folds away when not in use, given the car’s expected self-driving ability.
Head of design Marc Lichte said that with autonomous driving in place, luxury car customers might prefer sitting at the front rather than the back, gaining access to an unobstructed view of the outside and a large infotainment display. He likened the concept to a private jet, a third living space outside the home and office.
Codenamed “Landjet”, the production version will reportedly be the first car to ride on the Volkswagen’s Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which will also underpin Wolfsburg’s Project Trinity. It will apparently also utilise the group’s unified-cell battery to provide a range of up to 600 km, plus an 800-volt electric architecture to enable up to 350 kW of DC fast charging.
Aside from the skysphere and grandsphere, Audi will also introduce the urbansphere concept, which looks to be a large MPV/SUV for families. That car is slated to be revealed in the first half of next year.
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