The next flagship of the Audi brand will be based on one of its most striking concepts presented in recent times.
The German marque, which has shown a willingness to bring concepts into production in recent years, will base its next-generation A8 model on the Grandsphere prototype that was unveiled in 2021, according to Autocar. The vehicle, which is likely to debut next year, will also only be available with an all-electric drivetrain.
The new A8 won't quite be a production Grandsphere, but it will be pretty close, at least from a design perspective. That's a very good thing, too, as this car is one of the most striking prototypes, we've seen this decade. The luxury cruiser has a muscular yet sleek shape, and its doors open to reveal an elegant interior inspired by first-class cabins on long-haul international flights. There's a reason the vehicle was dubbed a "private jet for the road" upon its unveiling.
"The Grandsphere is a very concrete teaser," the automaker's head of design, Marc Lichte, said recently. "It's not far from what will make it into production. It's not 1:1, but very close."
The production model may look similar to the prototype, but its more advanced technical features are unlikely to carry over. Full level 5 self-driving, for example, is still a long way off for everyone, so that feature obviously won't be available at launch. The car will be built on the Audi brand's new 800-volt Premium Platform Electric architecture, which was developed in collaboration with sister brand Porsche. The brand's next-generation electric vehicles will also be built on the platform, including the upcoming Q6 E-Tron, and the next-generation A4 and A6.
As exciting as it is to learn that the Grandsphere is going into production, it seems unlikely that similar "sphere" concepts will follow - at least in the near future. The series, which began in 2021, consists of vehicles designed to represent what Audi believes will be the future of mobility. Still, if the new A8 proves to be a hit, who's to say the company won't start building others? We definitely hope that an off-road variant, the Activesphere SUV, will be the next item on their list.