Audi’s next flagship will be based on one of its most striking concepts in recent memory.
The German marque, which has shown a willingness to put concepts into production in recent years, will base its next-generation A8 on the Grandsphere prototype it unveiled in 2021, according to Autocar. The vehicle, which will likely debut next year, will also only be available with an all-electric powertrain.
The new A8 won’t exactly be a series-production Grandsphere, but it will be pretty close, at least from a design perspective. That’s a very good thing, too, since the four-door is one of the more memorable prototypes we’ve seen this decade. The luxe cruiser has a muscular-yet-sleek shape, and its suicide doors open to reveal an elegant interior inspired by first-class cabins on long-haul international flights. There’s a reason why the vehicle was teased as a “private jet for the road” upon its unveiling.
“The Grandsphere is a very concrete teaser,” the automaker’s design chief, Marc Lichte, recently told the British magazine. “It’s not far away from what will become production. It’s not 1:1 but very close.”
The production model may end up looking similar to the prototype, but its more advanced technical features are unlikely to carry over. Full Level-5 self-driving, for example, is still far off for everyone, so that feature will clearly not be available at launch. The car will be built on Audi’s new 800-volt Premium Platform Electric architecture, though, which was developed in conjunction with sister-brand Porsche. The marque’s next generation of EVs will also be built on the platform, including the upcoming Q6 E-Tron, and the next-generation A4 and A6.
As exciting as is it to learn that the Grandsphere is going into production, it seems unlikely that its fellow “sphere” concepts will follow—at least in the near future. The series, which started in 2021, consists of vehicles designed to represent what Audi believes will be the future of mobility. Still, if the new A8 turns out to be a hit, who’s to say the company won’t start building the others? We’re definitely holding out hope for last week’s off-road-friendly debut, the Activesphere SUV.
Click here to see more photos of the Audi Grandsphere concept.