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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Audi RS6 vs BMW M550i

Audi RS6 vs BMW M550i

Mat Watson races a BMW 550i against an Audi RS6 in one of CarWow’s recent webisode.

We can always count on Mat Watson from CarWow to bring us some exciting drag races. In one of its most recent webisodes, the YouTube channel pits an Audi RS6 against a BMW M550i. Both contenders were evenly matched, as the 4.4-liter V8 motor in the BMW 550i produces 530 HP of maximum power and around 553 lb-ft of peak torque. The Audi comes equipped with a 600 HP 4.0-liter V8 engine which churns out 590 lb-ft of torque.

Watson was behind the wheel of the BMW 550i shares its TwinPower motor with the lauded BMW M5. Both cars get 8-speed automatic transmissions and all-wheel-drive layouts, but at around 4574 lbs, the Audi is 353 lbs heavier than BMW’s performance sedan. Both cars also come equipped with launch controls, but that did not help the BMW 550i. The BMW 550i completed the quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds, and the quattro equipped Audi RS6 made the same run in just 11.6 seconds.

“This (BMW 550i) kind of felt a little bit soft. It didn’t have the hard kick that you get in that,” said Watson.

Audi RS6 vs BMW M550i

Watson’s Beemer was quicker off the line than the Audi RS6, but the presenter attributed that to his reaction time. The two cars then participated in a rolling drag race traveling at 50 MPH in Comfort mode. The Audi RS6 took the lead straight away, which it maintained till the end of the race and even the track for that matter. Even in Sport mode, the Audi RS6 managed to pull away from Watson’s BMW 550i in a rolling drag race.

This (BMW 550i) picks up pretty nice, not quite as nice as that RS6, confessed Watson. He further added, “he’s (driver in the Audi RS6) just easing ahead but once again not by loads.”
The Audi RS6 was not just quick in a straight line, but also managed to decelerate faster than the 550i in the brake test. In the interest of full disclosure, the Audi RS6 is more expensive than the BMW 550i, but as Mat made evident in the video, you do get a lot more performance for the extra money.

Image Source: CarWow

New vs. Old: Audi e-tron Sportback Races a V12-powered Q7 TDI

New vs. Old: Audi e-tron Sportback Races a V12-powered Q7 TDI

Mat Watson of CarWow drag races an Audi e-tron Sportback against a 2009 Q7 TDI equipped with a 6-liter V12 motor.

In one of CarWow‘s most recent videos, the YouTube channel uses the age-old rivalry between old and new as a parameter to investigate how an Audi e-tron Sportback fares against a first-generation Q7 (facelift model). The latter is propelled by a 6-liter V12 TDI diesel engine which produced 493 HP of maximum power and 738 lb-ft of peak torque in its factory tune.

CarWow’s presenter Mat Watson was quite impressed by the diesel Q7. Watson recently also proclaimed that the Q4e-tron is the best electric SUV on sale. Even though the e-tron Sportback is more powerful than its smaller sibling, it is still no match for the Q7 TDI, when it comes to the overall power output. The all-electric SUV produces 405 HP of power and around 490 lb-ft of torque. So it would seem that a drag race between the two models would favor the internal combustion model.

However, Watson was quick to highlight that “the idea behind this race is to show just how fast these latest electric cars are compared to internal combustion engines.” At 5,390 lbs the Sportback is much lighter than the V12 Q7, which weighs around 5,809 lbs. Thanks to its electric-only powertrain, the Sportback should also accelerate much faster than the Q7 TDI. Unsurprisingly, Watson also shared our opinion. “It could be a very close race. This (e-tron Sportback) will get off the line very very well, not sure how that (V12 Q7 TDI) will get off the line,” said Watson.

New vs. Old: Audi e-tron Sportback Races a V12-powered Q7 TDI

After an underwhelming soundcheck, both cars lined up for the first bout where the Q7 TDI proved to be victorious, on the account of a driver’s error.  Mat’s reaction time cost him the first race. “I held on the brake, and it just didn’t go very well,” explained Watson. Luckily, the drivers agreed to race a couple of more times, and on both occasions, the e-tron Sportback won the race with a quarter-mile time of 13.5 seconds.

The Q7 TDI made up for its losses by beating the e-tron Sportback in back-to-back rolling drag races, but the battery-powered model performed better in brake tests thanks to regenerative braking. Overall, CarWow’s latest webisode offers a thrilling ride and keeps the viewers on their toes throughout the video.

Image Source: CarWow

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Map your course for a Concours d’Elegance then head 180° in the opposite direction. That’s how you get to a car show like 35th Annual West Coast Kustoms’ Cruisin’ Nationals, blogs Jim Palam.

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! It’s the multifariousness of Car Culture that makes it so appealing to so many people. And it’s the people as much as the cars that make the 2018 Cruisin Nationals such a fun three-day event. There’s the Santa Maria City Cruise on Friday night, the Show-n-Shine on Saturday and Sunday – plus a swap meet, vendors, live music, model car show and appearances by many “Legends of Kustomizing”.

With close to 800 pre-1961 American make cars on the Fairpark grounds it wasn’t easy picking a Car Guy Chronicles’ selection to showcase – but here are a choice few that grabbed my attention.

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! John Saltsman’s radically customized ’49 Studebaker pickup, top & above, is not only a driver; it’s an emergency cargo hauler as well. John, an avid inline speed skater, drove his famous big-tailed ’49 up from his home in Joshua Tree, CA.

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! When Hoodoo Paintworks’ owner George Tantardini isn’t polishing his metalflake GMC pickup, I’m guessing he’s refining the verticality of his Rockabilly haircut!

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS!TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! This sculpted ’58 Chevy was just one of the outstanding, low-slung Kustoms on display in the King Max show area. As if the exterior wasn’t kool enough, the organic gauge clusters are more outer space than interior space vehicle control components.

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! Has your Hybrid or ePower vehicle taken the fun out of driving? Maybe it’s time for some blasts to the Drive-in or down the quarter-mile in this thumpin’ ’28 Ford Hemi roadster?

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! Pickups and SUVs continue to be sales leaders in today’s automotive/truck markets, but good luck trying to find a ’62 Ford Econoline pickup as sleek, sexy and creamy-good as this one at your local dealership!

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! Art Serna of Linsay, CA sought to build a true-to-period, pre-war hot rod. He wanted to put a performance-modified Model B Four in a ’31 Ford roadster and he wanted everything about the build to be perfect. He succeeded.

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! Inside the show’s arena building actress Candy Clark from the movie American Graffiti was signing autographs. I was outside drooling over this fiery ’34 Ford three-window coupe. Catch you next time, Candy!

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! Stan Fuller’s ’52 Willys wagon is a sleeper. I’m not talking about camping here. Nestled neatly into its reinforced frame is a high-performance Chevy 427 big-block. Don’t forget the extra gas cans, Stan!

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! One of the kool vendor cars was this custom-painted ’35 Ford five-window coupe. Now this is the way to drive to work – in a shiny, rollin’ work of art.

TALL TAILS, LOW RIDES & KOOL KATS! Just as I was beginning to fade, I encountered this “Lean Machine” – a ’60 Jeep Step Van in need of some serious TLC. “Hang in there, Old Guy” I thought as I snapped some pix and then headed to my truck.

Words & Photos: Jim Palam,

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The ‘19 Corvette ZR1 set a production-car lap record on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West at Virginia International Raceway with a time of 2:37.25.

’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!Along with a harness bar and track seats with five-point harnesses, the record-setting stock ZR1 coupe was equipped with the available paddle-shift eight-speed automatic and ZTK Performance Package. The ZTK package includes an adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning.

“The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar – at any price.”

On sale this spring, the ZR1 coupe will carry a suggested retail price of $119,995 (price includes destination charge, but excludes tax, title and other dealer fees). The ZTK Performance Package will cost $2,995.

 The ZR1’s record lap at VIR was set during routine validation testing earlier this month; with vehicle dynamics engineer Jim Mero at the wheel. The car was set up per the owner’s manual’s recommended track alignment and aerodynamic settings. As part of the validation, the ZR1 was finalizing its total of 24 hours of at-limit track testing, with multiple GM Performance engineers logging laps.

’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!“The track had been empty since mid-December, so it was a bit slow when we started, but the conditions turned pretty quick at the end,” said Alex MacDonald, manager, Vehicle Performance. “On the heels of announcing our Z06 time of 2:39.77, the ZR1 lap time is the icing on the cake. It’s not too often you set a lap record during validation testing.”


The ZR1’s exclusive LT5 6.2L supercharged engine is rated at an SAE-certified 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. It features a new, more-efficient intercooled supercharger system, along with GM’s first dual fuel-injection system, which employs primary direct injection and supplemental port injection. Compared to the supercharger system on the Corvette Z06 LT4 engine, the LT5 employs a larger, 2.65-liter supercharger that generates more boost while spinning at a slightly slower speed. That reduces heat to help maintain a lower air intake temperature for optimal performance. Four new radiators also help manage cooling in the ZR1, which features 13 radiators in all, including circuits for engine oil, transmission and differential cooling.

Watch the 2019 Corvette ZR1 set lap record at VIR,

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