Automobile

The Audi Grandsphere Is a Level 4 Autonomous EV Concept With a Disappearing Steering Wheel

So, what do you need to know? Well, it’s a concept so it’s not like we’re all gonna be rushing out and buying it but something interesting about the Gransphere is boy they are not kidding about it being grand. This is, for a sedan, a real big boy.

It’s 17 feet and seven inches long, six feet and seven inches wide, and four feet and seven inches tall. Audi is calling the dimensions “an unambiguous example of the luxury class automobile,” saying the 126-inch wheelbase “indicates top value.” Whatever that means, on a concept you can’t actually purchase that’s designed to speak to outlandish indulgence.

Audi says the Grandsphere is designed around traditional automotive beauty concepts. That’s strange to me as it in no way resembles a 1989 Saab C900 but to each their own. The point is that it’s not meant to, despite being a concept, look futuristic. Everything about this car is supposed to, in a strangely simulated way, be analog.

With all the proposed autonomous technology in the car, there’s no real driving experience to be had. The idea of the minimal controls is that they’re there if you need to temporarily use them but should be tucked away like the tray table for take-off—this land yacht’s getting sold as a private jet because you’re meant to just sit back and sip the champagne. That is, unless you’re in the driver’s seat because Level 4 autonomy does say you will need to remain fit and ready to drive at all times, even if the car should be able to cope on its own. 

Again, it’s a concept so you probably don’t care about the range on the thing but it’s packing a 120-kilowatt-hour battery so even at that size, it should go a decent distance. It’s not an EPA estimate, obviously, but Audi reckons it’ll go 466 miles on a charge. Impressively, given it is absolutely enormous and probably weighs the best part of two tons, it should go zero to 60 mph in under four seconds.

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