Audi has previewed its upcoming flagship electric vehicle with the Grand Sphere concept.
The new flagship is set to join the Audi line-up in 2025, and could wear the A9 e-tron nameplate.
Teased ahead of its reveal at this year’s German motor show in Munich, which runs from 7-12 September 2021, the Grand Sphere concept has a footprint roughly the size of a long-wheelbase Audi A8.
For context, the A8 LWB measures 5302mm long and 1945mm wide.
Unlike the similarly-sized Audi Aicon concept, which debuted at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, the Grand Sphere features level 4 instead of level 5 autonomous driving technology.
Accordingly, Audi designers have penned a more traditional exterior design, with the A-pillar raked further back to aid visibility around corners, and a more conventional bonnet that stretches into the body.
The design still benefits from the long wheelbase and short overhangs achievable with a battery-electric vehicle.
“Well the Grand Sphere is clearly much closer to reality [than the Aicon],” said Philipp Römers, head of exterior design at Audi.
“…The Grand Sphere is definitely an outlook onto those forms, especially when you talk about design language, interior and exterior. Of course, we want to bring as many elements of these design elements into production as possible.”
Römers said the Grand Sphere will also preview a new interpretation of Audi’s single-frame grille design.
It’s also said to bring the luxury and comfort of the second row to the front row.
The Grand Sphere appears to have a rakish, elongated shooting brake silhouette, and there are no B-pillars to speak of.
The production model could ride the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE), co-developed by Audi and Porsche.
The Grand Sphere concept will debut alongside the Sky Sphere and Urban Sphere concepts, which have been previewed only via sketched silhouettes.
The Sky Sphere looks to be a two-door grand tourer with a dramatically long bonnet, while the Urban Sphere is a large luxury crossover.
Audi announced in 2020 it was developing a new EV flagship as part of its Project Artemis.
The Artemis project is intended to show how quickly and “unbureaucratically” Audi can get a new electric vehicle to market, providing a blueprint for the rest of the Volkswagen Group to follow.
Audi’s also hoping to avoid any logjam in Volkswagen’s EV pipeline, as the German giant works to roll out 75 electric vehicles by 2029. To that end, the Ingolstadt division is being given a large degree of freedom.