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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‘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 RS6 Avant Takes on BMW M4 and Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quad

Audi RS 6 Avant

While not competitors in the traditional sense, watching these three European performance machines face off is a blast.

Other than offering top-notch performance, the Audi RS6 Avant, Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and BMW M4 don’t really have a whole lot in common. That’s made clear at the very beginning of this latest video from carwow, where affable presenter Mat Watson explains that this peculiar hat trick of vehicles was assembled because they represent his favorite offering in their respective categories. And I have to say, it’s hard to argue with the man’s taste — all these machines rip.

Now, while I’m still waiting for Ingolstadt’s latest hot rod wagon to hit my local press fleet, I have driven the Alfa and the BMW. The best description I have of the Stelvio Quad is that it feels like a very practical crossover that’s been thoroughly and enthusiastically possessed by Satan. And performance aside? It has the best sounding engine of the assembled hardware, hands down. The BMW is an absolute hoot to pilot as well — and its limits are far beyond the reach of most any hobbyist. I don’t even mind the new front fascia that’s caused so much commotion.

So given that all I know about the RS6 is what I’ve heard from friends and seen on the web, it was beyond impressive to see just how well it performed when it was time for the rubber to meet the road. Because even given the near-flawless launch Watson delivered with the Alfa, the Audi still managed to best the Italian Stallion from a dig. What was really surprising was just how far behind the representative of the Motoren Werke was until it started gathering steam. Sure, it makes up a lot of space toward the end — but not enough to do any better than third.

That said, the coolest thing about this video is how it illustrates just how capable modern performance vehicles are, regardless of whether they’re coupes, wagons, or even crossovers. Cool as they might look and sound, virtually all the supercars of yesteryear would have gotten their butts handed to them if they’d lined up on the runway here, even though they’re considerably less reliable and comfortable than any one of these choices. What a time to be alive…

Photos: YouTube

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2022 Audi RS 3 Snatches Nürburgring Class Record from Renault

2022 Audi RS 3

In the sport compact class, the red-hot 2022 Audi RS 3 is the new king of the Ring — and it wasn’t even close.

Given everything we’ve heard about the 2022 Audi RS 3, you didn’t have to be Nostradamus to predict it was going to be quick. Now, we know just how quick Ingolstadt’s new pocket rocket is. Because back in June, factory hot shoe Frank Stippler laid down a blistering time of 7:40.748 minutes, and smashed the compact car record. That beat the previous record — set by Renault using a Mégane R.S. Trophy-R — by nearly five seconds, so smashed is hardly hyperbole.

For safety reasons, the RS 3 in question was fitted with a roll cage and racing seats, which likely made it slightly heavier than bone stock versions. But aside from those concessions to the dangerous beast that’s the Green Hell, the car was stock, down to the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slicks it was shod with for the lap. For track rats, they’ll be a must-have option, and according to Stippler, ensuring the proper pressures in the super-sticky rubber was key to the victory.

In the official press release, Technical Project Leader Marvin Schwätter didn’t specify exactly how tweaked the PSI was from the standard settings. For new owners headed to the circuit, that’d be a handy piece of info, so perhaps it’ll come out in the wash. Another key to the run was the trick torque splitter at the rear, which during corners, pipes twist to the outer wheels. This is the first time such a system has been employed on an Audi, and the distribution of power ensures both understeer and oversteer are kept in check.

According to Stippler, the multi-disc clutch system is “a quantum leap in terms of agile driving,” and given its success on the circuit, something we’re sure to see on future Audi models. Of course, other go-fast bits like adaptive dampers, ceramic brakes, and aggressive RS Performance modes were part of the package too, and help demonstrate just how potent the new RS 3 is when the gloves comes off. Watch the video below, and remember that buyers in the States aren’t left out of the fun. So stay tuned for info on when this record-beating sport compact will be available on our shores!

Photos: 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