Audi has unveiled the third concept from its "sphere" family of all-electric design studies, the urbansphere.
Offering a radical vision for the future of urban travel, the Audi urbansphere concept was designed in collaboration with Chinese customers as part of a new process called "co-creation." Its standout feature is the high-tech interior that's said to set a new benchmark for the passenger in-vehicle experience.
Designed from the inside out for traffic-dense Chinese megacities—or any other large cities in the world for that matter—the urbansphere boasts the largest interior space of any Audi to date.
That's because it's truly a massive car, measuring 216.9 inches (5.51 meters) in length, 79.1 inches (2.01 meters) in width, and 70.1 inches (1.78 meters) in height. The most impressive dimension is the wheelbase, though, which measures 133.8 inches (3.40 meters).
Despite that, it only has four individual seats on two rows, which means rear passengers get two reclining and swivel seats with a wide range of adjustment options, a ton of space, and all the amenities they would need. Those include individual monitors built-in the backs of the front seats, water dispenser and glasses in the center console, VR glasses in the door armrests, and even a transparent OLED "cinema screen" that pivots vertically from the roof.
Gallery: Audi urbansphere concept
The roomy minivan—although Audi refrains from calling it that—acts as lounge on wheels and a mobile office, thus serving as a third living space during the time spent in traffic.
Thanks to Level 4 automated driving technology shared with the skysphere and grandsphere concepts, the urbansphere hides the steering wheel, pedals, or dashboard during automated driving, which only adds to the lounge-like experience. The self-driving tech enables the Audi urbansphere concept to pick up its passengers at home, drive them to their destination, take care of finding a parking space, and charge the battery.
Audi describes the vehicle as "a mobile interactive space that provides a gateway to a wider digital ecosystem," offering passengers a personalized in-car experience. The vehicle can take care of services related to the current trip as well as perform everyday tasks such as making dinner reservations or shopping online.
From a styling perspective, the urbansphere shares cues with the skysphere and grandsphere concepts, including the monolithic design of the vehicle body, octagon-shaped Singleframe, narrow lights, and large digital lighting surfaces at both ends that also serve as communication elements. Like the grandsphere sedan, it has suicide doors and no B-pillars.
466 miles of range and 270 kW fast-charging thanks to PPE EV architecture
Under the urbansphere's skin is Audi's Premium Platform Electric (PPE) EV architecture with a flat 120+ kWh battery located between the axles. The pack powers two electric motors delivering a total output of 295 kW (395 hp) and a system torque of 509 lb-ft (690 Nm). The dual-motor setup means the urbansphere benefits from a permanently available quattro all-wheel-drive system. Interestingly, the front motor can be deactivated as required to reduce friction and energy consumption when coasting.
The PPE architecture also enables DC fast-charging at up to 270 kW thanks to the 800-volt charging technology. Charging the battery from 5 to 80% takes less than 25 minutes, while 10 minutes of fast-charging will add 186 miles (300 km) of range.
Speaking of range, the Audi urbansphere can travel up to 466 miles (750 km) on a single charge according to the WLTP standard. To ensure that passengers ride in maximum comfort, Audi fitted it with adaptive air suspension, with rear-wheel steering bringing increased maneuverability necessary for a vehicle of this size.