All-Electric Audi A8 Replacement Coming in 2024 Will Be the Most Powerful Audi Ever

Audi A8 replacementrecent report by Autocar is accurate the Audi A8 replacement is going to be a radical departure from the car on sale today. It will be based on the Grandsphere concept car that debuted in 2021. So, it will certainly look futuristic if it is anything like the concept. But the next generation A8 goes far beyond advanced styling. It promises to be the most powerful Audi ever made. Not just the most powerful A8. The most powerful Audi full stop. More powerful than the RS e-tron GT. More powerful than the RS 6 Avant. But even more impressive is that it is expected to be one of the longest range EVs on the market. And when you do need to charge it up, it won’t take very long as it is equipped with 800V charging functionality.

While we are on the topic of not waiting very long, we should mention that the next generation Audi A8 is expected to go on sale in 2024. The future is almost here. The future seems bright and fast. The new A8 will be packing a 120kWh lithium-ion battery. It is expected to produce a whopping 711 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque. The current Audi S8 makes 563 horsepower from a twin-turbo V8. It hits 60 mph in a little over 3 seconds. The next generation EV A8 will likely be heavier than the S8. But with 25 percent more power, it is hard to image that it also won’t be significantly quicker. What else should we expect?


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Audi activesphere Concept Hands-On: Sportback Sedan on Top, SUV on the Bottom

This week Audi USA invited AudiWorld to see its fourth sphere concept — the activesphere — in person. Here’s everything you need to know.

The Audi activesphere concept — born in the minds of Audi’s Malibu, California-based design team — answers the question, what would happen if one combined the sports car aesthetics of an Audi Sportback with something more rugged than any of Audi’s current SUVs or Allroad offerings? The result is a concept SUV that looks like a futuristic, lifted Audi S7.

It’s my personal favorite of the four Audi concepts.

audi activesphere side

At the time of this writing, the only sphere concept currently evolving toward a production model is the grandsphere. British magazine Autocar reported that the grandsphere will inspire the next generation A8. Which makes sense. (Although this week, Audi told me any grandsphere-inspired vehicle would debut a little further back, closer to 2028. So we’ll see.)

The activesphere, for its part, remains purely a concept electric vehicle. It has dual electric motors, a large battery pack, and a charging plug, of course. But it’s also a non-driver with a minimal, non-DOT-approved feature set that requires a human to stand by with what looks like a TV remote control for every interaction.

audi activesphere

With this in mind, check out the two videos embedded to enjoy a tour of the activesphere. For this post, let’s discuss the three main goals an auto manufacturer might have for any concept vehicle like this one–

  1. Establish new design languages
  2. Experiment with next-generation technology, and
  3. Test the waters for future models

So, how does the activesphere stack up in these categories? Let us know your thoughts HERE in our AudiWorld form thread! Here are my subjective reactions…

Audi activesphere Design Language

Audi activesphere

Because I can’t help but make a mullet dad-joke, the Audi activesphere concept is business up top and party at the bottom. In my opinion, regardless of whether or not it’s an SUV or a genuine Sportback, the activesphere is a visual stunner. Simple, sleek, elegant, and clean, it speaks to me as something that fits in the current Audi stable, but also as something more futuristic.

Here, the designers have reimagined Audi’s current-generation lightning characteristics, body lines, and the overall shape of the nose. Despite its dramatically textured lower half with beefy, big-ass wheels, Audi describes this approach as less aggressive. And when one focuses on the body alone, that seems clearer. The front-end, in particular, is softer and smoother than Audi’s current wider, chunky faces.

It’s also nice to see someone approaching an SUV as something other than a box-on-wheels. These designers, to quote one of our members, appear to have embraced their inner 16-year-old, for better or worse. And the result is something that’s more stylish and sleeker than most SUVs currently in the market.

Could a design like this ever make it to production? Probably not, but we’ll see.

Along these lines, however, I’d also like to note that, to my eyes at least, the activesphere marks an improvement over Audi’s current EV design language. A language that tends to take its ICE vehicles and over-smooth them, save for the massive, fake-grilles. The activesphere feels more natural and aerodynamic, and I’d love to see these lines start to filter into future Audis.

Audi Dimensions (Future Technology)

activesphere in truck mode

The Audi activesphere showcases several new technologies that Audi may or may not implement going forward. Level 4 autonomous driving. A new augmented reality user interface called Audi Dimensions. Open-air, uncluttered cabins. And even a trunk that transforms into a truck bed with built-in e-bike tie-downs.

Level 4 autonomy, which I’ll touch on only very lightly here, is the level at which humans don’t have to pay attention to the car. It just drives. As represented philosophically in the activesphere, even the driver can sit in a passenger-style seat. Lest they find a nice patch and summon the steering wheel.

For these reasons, Audi calls the typical passenger seat location the, “co-driver’s seat” (ala co-pilot).

activesphere presentation

The interior, as stylish as it is, wasn’t particularly comfortable for my six-foot frame — especially when the wheel was revealing itself — but I have to say that the airy openness with glass panels in all directions is inherently relaxing.

Lastly, let’s talk about Audi Dimensions, the automaker’s augmented reality user interface that we were able to demo. (There are clips of AD in the top video). The activesphere lacks screens. No gauges, radio, infotainment or HVAC. Instead, drivers and passengers wear augmented reality glasses that project information into 3D space. Everything from 3D maps to temperature controls to music selection to typical road and vehicle performance data.

activesphere steering wheel

In reality, the demo is fascinating for the way it makes the real world less cluttered; and the augmented space more so. If the idea is to keep things clean and not distracting for drivers, I’m not sure a demonstration bursting with information and graphics is the best way to showcase it. That said, the interactivity worked well and, again, it’s really nice to have an open cabin that’s not cluttered with screens.

I’d like to see Audi experiment more with this, but as with 3D televisions and VR sets, do most people — especially those who already have prescription glasses — really want to wear glasses to see vital vehicle information?

Should Audi Make a Production activesphere? (Hell Yeah!)

journalist touring the concept

Everyone knows that saying about as– er, bellybuttons. Everyone has them. And I’m sure for every person like me who looks at the activesphere fondly, there are others who don’t. Still, to my eyes, the activesphere looks like an S5 or S7 Sportback with much more aggressive A6 Allroad features and capabilities. It looks cool as hell and I’d love to see it realized along with an Avant version. (#WagonLife)

For a production version, many things would have to change, of course — proportions, safety, etc. And the interior seems less likely to be the foundation of anything we’d see this decade. But imagining this sleek Sportback silhouette with a current S or RS interior, Audi air ride suspension, and chonky tires, and you’ve got the makings of a very cool enthusiast-focused SUV with sports car heritage.

Thanks so much to Audi USA for the chance to see the activesphere concept in person!

Photographs by Michael S. Palmer

Additional video footage courtesy of Andi Hedrick and Audi USA

Father. Writer. Photographer. Auto enthusiast.
Current Stable: 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302, 2013 Cadillac ATS-4 3.6, LS3-Swapped 1992 Buick Roadmaster Wagon, 1987 Mercury Cougar XR-7, and usually a Press Loaner.

When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Would Audi Owners Actually Take an Activesphere Off Road?

Audi activesphere concept in Arctic Teal

The Activesphere Concept raises interesting questions about the design, capability, and sustainability of luxury off-roaders.

Even if Head of Audi Design Marc Lichte doesn’t think it’s particularly “aggressive,” the Activesphere Concept is a wicked-looking piece of kit. It’s also no poser. Because as Gael Buzyn, manager of the company’s Malibu Design Studio, described when it was revealed, this green machine offers “true off-road capabilities” — just like the potential G-Wagen fighter hinted at last month undoubtedly will.

The big question, however, is would any meaningful number of Audi owners actually take them on anything more treacherous than a trip up to the slopes, or a snowy school run. And as Alexander Edwards, president of automotive research firm Strategic Vision recently told Capital One’s Auto Navigator, the answer is probably not. Now, to be fair, Edwards wasn’t asked about Audi customers specifically. But he did say that group’s research indicated only 2% of SUV owners drive through mud or rocks more than once per year.

The vast majority — meaning  91% — stick to dirt or gravel, or never go off-road at all. For most people, a rugged SUV is more about the potential than the actual:

“The thought process is, if I want to be proud of myself, and part of the way I imagine that is through the ideas of freedom—being able to go anywhere, do anything—and I happen to be someone who is tied to a job or family where I have so much responsibility, I can’t actualize it,” Edwards explains. “By purchasing the SUV and having that capability, that fills that emotional deficit or gap that I’m having. It says, ‘I still am this person, even if I’m not doing it.’”

This is something that Karl Brauer, executive analyst at, has also discovered in his studies. Here’s what he told ABC News when the latest Land Rover Defender was starting to arrive on dealer lots:

“Consumers who buy these vehicles love the ‘what if’ idea. That alone will get them to buy these vehicles. Consumers want flexibility and confidence. But few will make that leap from mall parking lot to off-roading adventuring.”

Of course, there are Audi owners who might exploit the full abilities of a burly off-roader. Gene Pascua modified his 2015 Audi Allroad for overlanding, and two years ago, Matt Farah shot a video with an RS 4 Avant that was given the safari treatment. But I think it’s reasonable to consider the owners of those vehicles outliers. It’s also reasonable to ask what the harm in people having exponentially more capability than they need really is.

But unfortunately, even when a vehicle is electric — like the Activesphere — there’s still a tremendous cost associated with giant, heavy SUVs. Here’s a relevant bit from a new piece in the New Yorker:

The calculations become more complicated when the vehicles are electric, but the same basic math applies. Heavier vehicles require more energy to move around, and so, until the world is operating on zero-carbon electricity, the more an E.V. weighs, the more emissions it will produce. (Indeed, with electric vehicles, the weight problem is compounded: bigger cars need heavier batteries, which adds to their weight.)

It’s also important to note that along with unsexy metrics like tire particulate and pedestrian deaths, the bonkers level of performance offered by electric SUVs could make for some truly gruesome accidents. For example? The Hummer EV will go from zero to 60 in three seconds — and it weighs 9,000 pounds. And you don’t need to have a doctorate in physics to grasp what will happen when one collides with a small vehicle, or like, a large building.

So I think it’s worth asking about what percentage of owners will use an electric off-roader to its abilities, and how that number lines up with the green message automakers — not just Audi — are sending by pivoting from internal combustion engines. If you think I’m wrong, hit me up. 

Image Source: Audi

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Audi activesphere Concept Previews the Future of Audi SUVs

Audi activesphere concept in Arctic Teal

Is it just me, or does the Audi activesphere concept seem like a cross between the RS e-tron Q rally car and the current A6 Allroad?

Audi this week revealed its fourth and final concept vehicle in the sphere series, the activesphere. That is, for those paying close attention, four sphere concepts representing Audi’s four rings. A roadster. Sedan. Urban utility vehicle. And now a Sportback crossover born for both the streets and rugged offroading.

“Conceived and designed at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu,” California, under the direction of studio manager Gael Buzyn, the activesphere is almost the same external dimensions and wheelbase as the Audi A6. But it’s built on the Premium Platform Electric, or PPE, platform. “The activesphere is unique,” said Buzyn. “It is a new type of crossover that cleverly combines the elegance of an Audi Sportback, the practicality of an SUV, and true offroad capabilities.” The PPE platform is modular in nature, allowing it to be scaled and configured for a variety of SUVs, CUVs, and cars. Audi plans to use this platform for its forthcoming high-volume vehicles.

top - Audi activesphere concept i

Featuring dual electric motors, the activesphere concept outputs roughly 435hp and 530 ft-lbs of peak torque. Between the e-motor axles, Audi engineers placed a 100kwh battery package along with an 800-volt charging system. Connected to a 270 kW DC fast charger, Audi says the concept can charge from 5% to 80% in under 25 minutes. It sits four passengers and features an all-glass panoramic roof.

Audi activesphere Concept Quick Specs

  • Dual electric motors
  • Horsepower: 435hp (325 kW)
  • Torque: 530 ft-lbs (720 Newton meters)
  • Range: 372.8 miles (600 km)
  • Charging: Up to 270 kWh DC Fast Charging, 5-80% in under 25 minutes
  • Dimensions: 16.33′ long x 6.79′ wide x 5.25′ tall (4.98 m long x 2.07 m wide x 1.60 m high)
  • Wheels: 22″
  • Tires: 285/55-22

Cool Tech

interior - Audi activesphere concept in Arctic Teal

Much like the current generation A6 Alllroad, the activesphere boasts an air spring suspension with variable ground clearance. Meaning, with the push of a button, the activesphere lifts from a “basic height” of 8.19 inches (208mm) to 9.76 inches (248mm). This results in 18.9 degrees of approach angle and 28.1 degrees of departure angle for hitting the trails. Not exactly Jeep or Bronco numbers, mind you, but similar to what Ford’s been doing with its F-150 Tremor.

Perhaps most intriguing, especially for the adventurous types, is the activesphere’s transforming “variable rear architecture.” To oversimply the engineering involved, a swooping rear glass panel slides forward while the rear folds down like a truck tailgate. Audi dubs it the “active back,” and it creates enough room to mount gear like bicycles. (It’ll be super interesting to see if this feature makes it to a production vehicle.)

Audi activesphere concept in Arctic Teal

Lastly, the activesphere utilizes augmented reality to allow the driver and passengers to interact with the vehicle’s user interface — infotainment, navigation, and HVAC — using only eye or hand gestures. The system also projects information into the real world. As an example, Audi says that, while off-roading, this glasses-based system will show the driver 3D topography of the terrain while also delivering information about one’s destination. (This sounds like a next-level version of the system we tested in the Q4 e-tron that projects animated navigation directions in the head-up display.) Audi says its AR glasses can also be used independently of the vehicle in activities like mountain biking or skiing.

Opinion – AudiWorld First Impressions

Each of the four sphere concept vehicles is a gorgeous thesis of design and engineering. And, while my heart will always be with sports cars, the activesphere is certainly an attention grabber. It’s also, I would argue, the closest to what we might see in a future production Audi as well as a thorough preview of where Audi will take its all-electric SUVs and crossovers.

The silhouette is very classically Audi Sportback — it looks like a lifted RS 7 or a street-going version of the RS e-tron Q that recently competed in Dakar. And then when you throw in the Allroad styling and variable height suspension that we currently see in Audi wagons, the activesphere feels very plausible and possible.

Because, let’s face it, as much as I adore Audi cars, the Q5 is the brand’s top seller. Mid-sized. Mid-priced. With extra performance and luxury for those who want to upgrade. Therefore, Audi, as it transitions to its all-electric future, needs killer SUVs that demand attention visually, perform on and off road, and deliver a premium, luxury interior. And this activesphere seems to accomplish all of this and more.

Audi activesphere concept in Arctic Teal

In particular, I love the way Audi’s Malibu design team has approached aerodynamics without sacrificing style. Contrast this with the current generation Q4 e-tron. Which, in my humble (not a designer) opinion looks almost like a NASCAR race car. In the sense that OEMs wrap the body with a sticker that kinda looks like the real thing. In that sense, the Q4’s grille seems massive (and it doesn’t even need to exist). And Audi’s current muscular front end appears like it’s been stretched onto a balloon.

The activesphere manages to take current Audi design language and update/elevate it into the EV space, while producing something that looks sporty and elegant. (Dare we compare it to something from Aston Martin or Porsche?)

What do YOU think about the Audi activesphere concept?
Let us know HERE in the forums!

The Full Premiere

If you’d like to see and hear more about the Audi activesphere concept directly from Audi, here’s the full World Premier video presentation that streamed live earlier this week.

Father. Writer. Photographer. Auto enthusiast.
Current Stable: 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302, 2013 Cadillac ATS-4 3.6, LS3-Swapped 1992 Buick Roadmaster Wagon, 1987 Mercury Cougar XR-7, and usually a Press Loaner.

Master Craftsman Builds Audi Skysphere Replica for Daughter

Audi skysphere Replica

It might not feature all the trick technology of the Skysphere concept car, but this wooden replica is incredible all the same.

The Audi Skysphere is a stunning concept that redefines the very idea of what a car can be. Along with next-generation tech like Level 4 autonomy, the 624-horsepower electric dream machine features an adjustable wheelbase, meaning drivers can opt for the dimensions of either a small sports car or a more luxurious GT cruiser. And for the record? While the replica shown here does run and drive, it doesn’t feature any of that other tech — but it’s still incredible.

Built over the course of two and a half months by ND – Woodworking Art, the creation was a gift for the master craftsman’s daughter, and watching it come together in this time-lapse video is absolutely fascinating. So if you’ve ever looked at the roadside woodcarvers turning tree stumps into sculptures of bears and been impressed at their skill? Prepare to be blown away. Because while he begins with just a few planks on a bare concrete floor, this incredible artisan is able to replicate the lines and proportions of Audi’s Skysphere with a level of accuracy that would make Ingolstadt’s stylists proud.

The entire video is hypnotic, but I think my favorite sections are the ones where he’s using the chainsaw to rough out elements like the front fenders. The level of precision he’s able to achieve, all while keeping each side symmetrical, boggles the mind. I also liked seeing him use a chisel to delicately shape all the components of the steering wheel, and loved how it all snapped together like an ornate piece of old-world furniture at the end.

While the drivetrain is obviously metal, and there are a couple of hinges under the hood, virtually everything on this replica is made from wood — even the wheels were turned on a lathe!

As you might expect, this isn’t ND – Woodworking Art’s first rodeo. His YouTube channel is packed with other wild wood creations, including a tank, a steam train, a Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, and a Lamborghini Vision GT. Given how good he is at rendering cars in wood, I’m curious as to what some of the stuff he does for his day job looks like. Can you imagine what a staircase, bookshelf, or dresser looks like when built with this level of talent?

Photos: Audi, YouTube

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