Audi Grandsphere Debuts at IAA 2021

Audi Grandsphere Debuts at IAA 2021

Even with its impressive 720 HP electric-only powertrain, the futuristic cabin of Audi grandsphere is the star of the show.

The Ingolstadt-based automaker unveiled its grandsphere concept study at the IAA 2021 yesterday. This is the second installment of the three “sphere” concepts that Audi has been working on. The design of grandsphere concept aims to offer the comfort of luxurious private travel. As a result of this, grandsphere gets one of the most futuristic cabins we’ve ever seen. That’s not all, because Level 4 automated driving capability is also part of the package. This means grandsphere can cruise on freeways and maneuver through heavy traffic conditions with minimum human intervention.

A 120 kWh battery pack powers the grandsphere, and according to Audi, the concept can deliver 470 miles of range.  Customers can recharge the massive battery pack from 5% to 80% capacity in just 25 minutes, courtesy of its 800-volt fast-charging capability. Furthermore, the EV gets a dual-motor setup (one on each axle), and the electric-only powertrain produces 720 HP of power and 708 lb-ft of peak torque.

Sharp creases offset grandsphere’s curvaceous bodywork. The front-end is dominated by a flat hexagonal faux grille that lights up and houses the sensors for grandsphere’s autonomous driving system. The lighting units in the headlights are designed to emulate Audi’s four-ring logo. Audi’s Avus concept from the 1990s inspired the design of grandsphere’s gorgeous 23-inch rims.

Audi Grandsphere Debuts at IAA 2021

Futuristic interior space that offers a luxurious onboard experience

Audi grandsphere’s interior is its pièce de résistance. The car’s steering wheel, instrument display, and pedals retract when the car is in autonomous driving mode, to give occupants more cabin space. The car does not have any B-pillars, and the rear doors open backward, which makes it easy to get in and out of the vehicle.

The infotainment system of grandsphere makes large touchscreen units look antiquated. The concept car uses projectors to display images onto the wooden dashboard. Passengers can control the system with hand gestures and eye movements. The EV’s cabin comes equipped with a drinks cooler that slides out of the center console, which also houses a plant.

Audi has confirmed that its production cars will eventually receive the technologies that are debuting in the grandsphere concept study. The grandsphere concept will offer the foundation for Audi’s flagship sedans in the future. The German automaker’s next concept car will be the Audi urbansphere which will premiere sometime next year.

Image Source: Audi

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Official: New Audis to be All-Electric Starting in 2026

Audi e-tron Line

Audi’s Vorsprung 2030 strategy puts a firm date on the company’s exit from internal combustion.

We knew this was coming. Audi officially ceased internal combustion development in March, and back in June, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported  Ingolstadt would stop introducing new gas and diesel cars in 2026. At the time, I wondered how just much wiggle room the company had left itself between ending development of ICE vehicles and the end of their production. And as it turns out? There’s quite a lot of daylight between those two goalposts.

According to Audi’s just-released Vorsprung 2030 strategy, the last internal combustion-powered machines will roll off the assembly lines in 2033, which is still more than a decade away. Now, it’s important to remember that in the automotive world, that’s an eternity. Ten years ago, the Hellcat was still a twinkle in the eyes of the mad scientists at Ma Mopar, and the horsepower wars which have so shaped our recent history were still shaping up. Performance-wise, it was a different world.

So from where I’m sitting, 2033 seems like an awfully long time, and I have to wonder exactly which Audi models will be the last to feature conventional powertrains. The R8, and its glorious 562-horsepower V10 is slated to bow in 2023, and I can’t imagine the twin-turbo RS 6 Avant will remain as compelling — at least performance-wise — for another 12 years. Perhaps we’ll see an even more ferocious e-tron wagon? Because that’s progress I could get seriously get behind. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the market pushes Audi to kill internal combustion sooner. Because if buyers start gravitating toward green machines in a big way, it might not make sense to continue with the older tech.

Aside from the 2026 and 2033 dates, Audi’s Vorsprung 2030 document is a pretty standard corporate communication. That means it’s essentially melatonin in text form, and packed to the gills with ten-dollar marketing speak — “holistic mobility solutions,”  “cloud connectivity,” “autonomous driving” — and assertions about profitability. So yup, it’s dull enough that reading it aloud could be an effective tool for disciplining children. It’ll likely be more illuminating a decade from now. But until then, enjoy the sound of the R8 wailing on the dyno.

Photos: YouTube

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RS e-tron GT vs AMG E 63 S in EPIC Electric vs Gas Battle!

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

RS e-tron GT proves its worth against AMG, proves electric vehicles can have style, performance on par or better than ICE machines.

There’s no doubt the New ’20s will likely be the last time ICE machines have the higher ground in all aspects of motoring. As more automakers enter the roadway to electrification, new EVs continue to improve their standing away from egomaniacs and their playthings. Audi is among them with their e-tron family, including its high-performance RS e-tron GT fastback sedan.

How far has the electric road come along over the past few years? Why not see by pitting the RS e-tron GT against one of the old guard. Carwow‘s Mat Watson and Yianni Charalambous (a.k.a. Yiannimize) turned up on the runway for a good battle between the Audi and the gas-powered AMG E 63 S. Can the EV hold its own against a V8?

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

“I’m sitting in a Mercedes E 63 AMG,” said Watson. “Next to me is an Audi RS e-tron GT. This may seem like a bit of an odd match-up, but I’m going to explain why I’m doing it. You see, [the Audi] is now the most powerful RS model you can buy. Yet, every time I’ve raced an RS car against this E 63, the Mercedes has come out on top. So can that new, electric-powered RS car regain some honor for Audi?”

Of course, it’s not just about regaining honor for Audi. It’s a demonstration of how far EVs have come along in just a few short years as being as good, if not better than, their ICE counterparts. Though manufacturers like Toyota and Porsche have either put their weight behind alternatives like hydrogen and synthetic gasoline (the latter which could keep ICE machines on the road for a long time to come, per Donut Media), there’s no doubt the EV is not only here to stay, it’s here to overthrow the old order.

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

“I think this [Audi] looks great,” said Charalambous. “I really, really like this a lot. I’ll be honest with you, when I saw the lineup, I was so surprised you gave me this car. I personally don’t think you got a chance. But, I could be underestimating that vehicle.”

Right off the bat, Charalambous proves the RS e-tron GT is the wave of the future. In the drag race, he uses his perfect launch to leave Watson in dust by around two car lengths. After all, his Audi’s pair of electric motors deliver their combined 620 ft-lb of torque all at once. Meanwhile, the AMG’s torque takes a while to come up, just as the Audi’s 630 ponies have long already gotten the job done.

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

That instant torque shows up even harder on the roll races. On the first with both cars in their respective comfort modes, the RS e-tron GT immediately pulls away, crossing the mile-mark by four car lengths. In their performance modes, though, the duo cross the same line in a dead heat. However, it did take the AMG a while to reach the Audi.

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

“For a car that’s so fast,” said Charalambous, “it doesn’t brake well. I assume you got no ceramics on this?”

Despite the AMG winning the brake test, it did so by about a third of a car. Part of this could be due to the RS e-tron GT’s battery pack contributing to the overall 2.3 tons it weighs. It also, as Charalambous believes, could be due to the lack of the right sort of brakes for such a machine.

However, the weight issue could resolve itself once the infrastructure is in place. As Audi CEO Markus Duesmann told Roadshow in February, the long-range packs of today could shrink amid a denser infrastructure. In turn, charging times also shrink, placing EVs finally on par with fueling times for ICE machines. And, of course, shorter stopping distances for brake tests like the ones carwow performs due to less weight overall.

In short, races like these demonstrate where the EV lines up with ICEs. Looks like the latter has finally met its match, and its fate.

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Cameron Aubernon

Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

‘Led Balloon’ From Audi Films is All About Summer Fun

Audi Films: Led Balloon

The latest Audi Flims offering is a water balloon battle royale with cameos from historic hardware and legendary drivers.

If there’s anything that comes to mind when people think about Germany, it’s light-hearted, goofy fun. OK, that might be a bit of a reach. But the latest installment from Audi Films is a blast to watch, and it’s all about being present and enjoying the moment, which is a message we can never hear enough. Plus, there are plenty of shots of people being hit dead in the face with water balloons, and unless you have a titanium plate where your funny bone should be, that should give you a chuckle. Rest assured, no humans were harmed during the making of this lovely little short.

There’s exactly zero exposition here, and the action starts with a suburban dad rolling home from the office. Just after he parks his e-tron Sportback, his children ambush him with a water balloon attack, and while he’s attempting to take cover, the kids next door start lobbing bombs his way too. Fortunately, his wife comes to the rescue. Not only does her orange Q8 provide formidable cover from the onslaught, she’s also packed the cargo area with a grip of water balloons so they can return fire. To me, that screams keeper.

Now, because Audi is actually in the business of selling cars — and not like, planning combat-themed suburban block parties — there’s lots of killer hardware on display here. Keep your eyes peeled, and you’ll spot an R18 E-Tron, Type A, Audi Union Type C, and a 200 Trans Am race car, so it’s clear the folks at Audi Tradition went deep into the vault here. One of my favorite shots shows Walter Rohrl’s co-driver trying in vain to tie a balloon while the legendary rally champ rips down a dirt path in an Audi Sport Quattro. I actually laughed at loud.

There are other cameos here too, including Le Mans-winning driver Tom Kristensen, American endurance legend Hurley Haywood, and YouTuber extraordinaire Doug DeMuro. The last one caught me by surprise, but given the enthusiasm DeMuro has for the brand, it probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Overall, this video is a lot of fun, but as Audi videos go, the 2017 Super Bowl commercial is still tops in my book. So if you missed it, make sure to check it out!

Photos: YouTube

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Audi e-tron S & e-tron S Sportback Will Debut This Fall

Audi e-tron S & e-tron S Sportback Will Debut This Fall

Audi America confirmed much-awaited 2022 e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback models will make their stateside debut this fall.

Well, it has been a long wait, but they are finally here. Audi America has announced that high-performance S versions of its e-tron and e-tron Sportback EVs will make their stateside debut sometime later this year. The two offerings were first introduced over a year ago, but they were only available in the European markets. At the time, the Ingolstadt-based automaker also refrained from confirming whether it plans to launch these tri-motor-equipped models in the U.S.

Both Audi e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback models get a three-motor layout which produces 496 HP of maximum power and 718 lb-ft of peak torque. The S models use a pair of independent electric motors to power the rear wheels, while the front axle is propelled by the third motor. The 496 horsepower is only available for up to 8 seconds after the “Boost Mode” is engaged.

Once the boost mode is deactivated, the overall power output of the 95 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is limited to 429 HP and 596 lb-ft of torque. Audi claims that its models can accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in just 4.3 seconds, courtesy of the boost mode. So far, the company has not revealed the acceleration time for the cars in their standard settings.

Audi e-tron S & e-tron S Sportback Will Debut This Fall

The cars also come equipped with Audi’s proprietary electric quattro system, which allows drivers to carry out controlled drifts. Both offerings get dual charging ports and up 150 kW of rapid charging capability. Using a Level 3 DC fast charger, drivers can recharge the battery pack of their all-electric Audi S models from 5% to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes.

The styling of the two models has also been updated, and Audi offers its Digital Matrix LED headlights as optional extras for both e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback. The cars ride on a set of 20-inch rims as standard, which comes wrapped in all-season tires. Customers can also opt for 21-inch and 22-inch alloys, which are available with summer tires. Launching Sometime this fall, these models will be the first all-electric Audi S offerings in the North American market.

Image Source: Audi

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