The next-generation Audi A8 will reportedly launch next year, and it will look like no other A8 before it.

    Autocar reports the next flagship Audi will ditch the traditional three-box silhouette seen on every generation of A8 thus far, in favour of a sleeker silhouette aimed at maximising efficiency.

    It will rival the likes of the BMW i7 and Mercedes-Benz EQS.

    Audi had previously indicated its Grandsphere concept, revealed late in 2021, would preview a next-generation flagship for the brand.

    The next A8 will reportedly use the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) co-developed by Audi and Porsche and set to underpin models like the Audi Q6 e-tron.

    It could also be the brand’s most powerful vehicle yet.

    The Grandsphere concept featured a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain with 530kW of power and 960Nm of torque, more than even the most powerful Audi R8, with a claimed 0-100km/h time of just over four seconds.

    The concept also featured a large 120kWh lithium-ion battery which Autocar says it expects to reach production.

    Claimed range was over 750km, though the production model may not quite reach this figure.

    For reference, the BMW i7 offers up to 625km of range from its 106kWh battery, while the Mercedes-Benz EQS offers up to 780km from its 107.8kWh battery.

    Like the e-tron GT, the Grandsphere features 800V charging technology, with DC charging of up to 270kW.

    Audi says it’ll take just over 25 minutes to charge from five to 80 per cent when using a DC fast charger.

    The Grandsphere concept was designed to be capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, and featured a retracting steering wheel and pedals.

    Audi has previously said it expects its Level 4 autonomous driving capability to be available in the second half of this decade, though it’ll be limited to certain roads at first and its availability will still be at the mercy of legislation in a particular jurisdiction.

    The Grandsphere’s interior also features seating for four, with few physical controls and greater use of gestures to control key functions.

    The cabin is finished in a mix of wood, wool, metal and synthetic textile fabric trim, and there’s no leather trim at all.

    Projection surfaces in the dashboard can be used for infotainment and video conferences.

    The concept measures 5.35m long, 2.0m wide and 1.39m tall with a 3.19m wheelbase.

    That makes it fractionally longer and wider than a long-wheelbase A8 and around 120mm lower.

    The PPE underpinnings will allow Audi to offer the next A8 with rear-wheel steering and an electronic locking rear differential.

    The Grandsphere features air suspension with adaptive dampers, with a five-link axle used up front and a multi-link axle at the rear.

    The current, fourth-generation A8 received a facelift last year. This also coincided with a return of the Horch nameplate on an ultra-luxury version for the Chinese market.

    The update should help tide Audi over until the launch of the next-generation model.

    The current A8 entered production late in 2017, with three-box styling that was a subtle evolution of that of its predecessor.

    With the A8’s three-box shape set to disappear, the new model will look quite unlike every previous A8 since the first-generation model entered production in 1994.

    MORE: Everything Audi A8

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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