Audi Builds Epic Trilogy with Grandsphere Concept
If you’re having trouble keeping track of every new EV on the market, you’re not alone.
What was a novel idea only 5-10 years ago is quickly becoming the automotive industry’s shiniest new toy, as just about every major manufacturer steps up to commit to going electric. Eventually, many of these EV concept cars will also have the aim to be self-driving, although it’s unclear when or if those goals will be met. Nevertheless, there are some advantages to looking at our automotive future through rose-colored-probably-energy-efficient-smart-glasses. Taking the driver out of the equation can open the door for innovative and imaginative new concept designs, like the new line of driverless and driver-assisted electric cars that Audi has been slowly unveiling for the past couple of months.
Our first look at Audi’s newest series of concept cars came earlier this summer, when the semi-autonomous Skysphere debuted at Monterey Car Week and started a conversation about the potential versatility of self-driving cars. What if this technology could actually give the driver more freedom, instead of less? That’s exactly what the Skysphere aims to do, with a wheelbase that can transform from long to short depending on whether the car is in autonomous or driver mode. But what’s even more enticing is that the Skysphere isn’t the only -sphere car Audi is developing: there’s also the Grandsphere concept, unveiled earlier this month, which was billed as the second car in a -sphere trilogy. It’s an ambitious rollout for sure, setting these cars apart from the ever-growing EV pack.
Of course, making a line of new cars and calling them a “family” isn’t exactly a new idea, as anyone who has ever seen a car ad on TV can attest. But Audi’s approach here feels slightly more refined than that, like a trilogy in a movie series, especially given the dramatically different style and personality of the new Grandsphere concept.
While the shapeshifting, 623-horsepower Skysphere appeals to those not ready to give up the thrill of driving, the Grandsphere is a rolling living room that lets the passenger kick back while the car does all the work. And although Audi hasn’t revealed much about the Urbansphere, the third car in the trilogy, the name suggests that it will have yet another distinct personality. The car is set to debut early next year at the Bejing Motor Show, an appropriately urban setting for a car that will almost certainly cater to city drivers.
All of this fanfare has generated much more anticipation than Audi could’ve garnered if they’d revealed these concepts all at once, which leads us to wonder if other brands might follow suit. In a crowded field of autonomous and semi-autonomous EVs, any car that isn’t a Tesla will have to fight for consumer attention, and Audi has zeroed in on an epic, head-turning, world-building rollout technique that can make that happen. Sign us up for the -sphere Cinematic Universe.
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