This article contains independent illustrations based on the Audi Grandsphere Concept as well as information we’ve obtained. The renderings were made by CarScoops’ artist Josh Byrnes and they are not related to nor endorsed by Audi.
The 2021 German International Motor Show is living proof that large exhibitions can exist in a pandemic-infused era. The Munich show (IAA Mobility 2021) replaces Frankfurt as Europe’s leading event, emphasizing electrification and alternative mobility solutions.
One standout was Audi’s Grandsphere concept, the latest in a trio of ‘Sphere‘ show cars previewing the automaker’s future design direction. Audi has strongly hinted that it will morph into an all-electric A8, so with that in mind, we’ve envisioned how the production variant could look and explore everything else we know to date.
A Stunning Stance
Compared with rivals from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the current A8, whilst handsomely restrained, could be considered a bit underwhelming in the aesthetics department. Our design study aims to rectify this by including elements of the Grandsphere concept into a bold, practical package.
Audi’s ‘singleframe’ grille has been completely reimagined with chrome highlights that spear towards the wheels. A low hood and slim headlamps exude hints of the R8 supercar, whilst the scalloped doors and upper beltline add to the svelte aesthetic. Whilst not as dramatic as the boat-tailed Grandsphere, the fastback rear end has OLED tail lamps and a floating roofline with sculptured rear buttresses.
First Class Travel
Audi interiors are arguably some of the best in the business, and the Grandsphere concept is no exception. The show car flaunted technological prowess with projected displays and gesture-based controls. Fortunately, the Ingolstadt automaker has reassured us that future models will retain physical controls for those who prefer a tactile-like experience.
Taking on an elegant interpretation of the e-tron GT’s cabin, the next A8 will bestow improved occupant space, luxury, and sustainable materials. Expect features such as an augmented-reality heads-up display, digital services, a next-generation Audi Virtual Cockpit and dynamic ambient lighting. For the ultimate in relaxation, Level 3 and 4 autonomous self-driving systems could also appear in the latter part of the e-tron’s model cycle.
Underpinned by Volkswagen Group’s Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture, the A8 e-tron shares its modular foundations with the upcoming Porsche Macan EV and Audi A6 e-tron. The 800-volt system utilizes a 120 kWh battery pack, which yields an approximate range of 750 kilometres (466 miles) between charges. DC fast-charging up to 270 kW enables an additional 186 miles (300 km) within 10 minutes, while a 5 to 80 per cent charge will only take 25 minutes.
Sticking to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive philosophy, the A8 e-tron will have electric motors on the front and rear axles for the ultimate in torque-vectoring grip. The Grandsphere concept has a total output of 530 kW (700 hp / 710 PS) and 960 Nm (708 lb-ft) of torque for a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of under 4 seconds. This configuration will likely be reserved for the range-topping S8 e-tron, with lower-powered versions also available.
Audi’s flagship EV will compete against the hyper-screened Mercedes-Benz EQS, the Tesla Model S, the Lucid Air and BMW’s upcoming i7. A variety of variants will likely be offered, including a Maybach-rivaling flagship possibly wearing the Horch name.
An official reveal is not expected until late 2024 or 2025, as the current A8 will be with us for a couple of more years following a mild facelift that will be introduced in the coming months.
Would you consider an electrified A8 over the competition? Share your views in the comments below.