Like the open-topped, extending-wheelbase Skysphere that we saw back in August and the presumably city-sized Urbansphere that is set to be unveiled next spring, Audi’s latest Gransphere concept has also been designed from the inside out and places its main focus on the interior. The German carmaker rather nauseatingly refers to it as a “private jet for the road” and uses plenty of definitely normal language such as “holistic digital ecosystem,” “oasis of wellbeing,” and “digital detox” when describing the interior.
We promise to never repeat those terms on these pages.
Before you can even get inside, though, the Gransphere will have independently handled its charging situation and will recognize your gait as you approach. If you own the thing or have been granted access, only then will the giant suicide doors open up.
What you get inside is a subversion of the usual luxury sedan-layout. Yep, in the Gransphere the posh seats are up front—with two fancy armchairs looking out onto a wraparound wooden dash that’s made from recycled materials and has all of your infotainment/navigation needs projected onto it. There’s even a drink chiller between the chairs. Rear-seat passengers are limited to a small bench and just get a plant to look at. Plebs.
That focus on the front row is because the whole steering wheel, column, and pedals can be retracted at the touch of a steering-wheel-mounted button. Press it and everything you need for driving is swallowed up by the dash to create a massive open space with plenty of room for activities. The Gransphere then enters ‘lounge mode’ where it drives itself using Level 4 autonomy, and passengers can sit back and watch a film or just enjoy the lack of standard screens.
The climate-control knobs on the doors are particularly interesting, too—not something we say often. They can be turned using gesture control, making it look as though you have The Force. Heck, Audi’s designers do admit that much of the interior was inspired by sci-fi movies. Very cool.
Outside of that interior, the Gransphere is absolutely massive. The design is essentially a cross between a standard sedan and a modern four-door coupe, with a swoopy rear end and a massive rear overhang. Anyone else getting Peugeot vibes from that front end, though? And we’re talking before Peugeot started making good-looking cars...
At 5.35 meters, the Gransphere is even longer than the stretched version of Audi’s A8, and the wheels it currently sits on are 23-inchers despite being dwarfed by the vast expanses of bodywork.
The new light signature is one of the many design features that Audi is suggesting might make it onto future models, as are the curved side windows and windshield. In fact, despite the futuristic retractable steering wheel and the Level 4 autonomy gubbins, the Gransphere is apparently the closest of the three sphere concepts to a production car.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.
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