Audi Urbansphere concept unveiled — electric luxury van reimagined
The Audi Sphere concept family is an interesting one — while these remain just concept cars for now (at least for the foreseeable future), the technology, research and learnings from these concept cars will ultimately become a reality in future Audi offerings as the car maker readies itself for the electric future. The Urbansphere is the third car from the Sphere concept family, and here’s a surprise — Audi will be unveiling a fourth Sphere concept car, although the timeline for that remains unknown for now.
Audi Urbansphere design
The Urbansphere is essentially a futuristic electric luxury van, made for a world where self-driving has become a norm. Let’s gloss over the design. It’s got that MPV profile when viewed from the sides, but the front and rear give it a slightly butch appearance that would place among some SUVs. However, the body of the car sports smooth, flowing lines, there’s no presence of any boxy lines anywhere, and the overhangs have been kept short. The Singleframe grille and the tailgate receive Audi’s light signature which feature customizable animations to signal pedestrians and other traffic of your presence. The design of the 24-inch alloy wheels pay homage to the Audi Avus concept car that was unveiled back in the 90s. The wheelbase spreads over 3400mm long, which is even longer than the Q8’s.
Audi Urbansphere Powertrain, Range, and Charging
Built on the PPE platform, the Audi Urbansphere is powered by two electric motors, one placed on each axle. The total power and torque output stands at 395bhp and 690Nm of torque, which are impressive figures for a van of this size! The motor on the front axle can be deactivated in order to increase efficiency and range.
Backed by a 120kWh placed between the axles, the Urbansphere can be charged via a 270kW fast-charger, which will give you 300km worth of driving range in just 10 minutes. Audi also claims that the battery can be charged from 5 to 80 per cent in ‘less than 25 minutes’, giving it a WLTP-claimed range of 750km.
Like the Grandsphere concept, the Urbansphere also packs in quattro four-wheel drive.
Audi Urbansphere Interiors
Despite being such a large car, the Urbansphere is only a four-seater, as evidenced by the four jet-like first-class seats. The seats swivel outwards and you’ll be greeted with the red-carpet like floor-lighting so you’ll feel like SRK each time you step out!
It is interesting to note that all four seats receive their own speakers, along with privacy screens in case one of you has a conference call to attend in the car while the others continue to chill. The rear is really the place to be in this car — you get access to a drop-down transparent OLED cinema screen, which even supports split-screen function. The rear row also gets a water dispenser and glasses, so you can quench your thirst while on the go. The seats, panels, and floor mats make use of sustainable materials such as wood, wool and synthetic fibres. The seat padding is made of a recyclable polyamide called Econyl, while the armrests and the rear cabin make use of bamboo viscose fabric. The theme on the inside combines shades of soft beige, grey, and green. Much like the Skysphere and Grandsphere, the pedals and steering wheel on the Urbansphere retract themselves for an enhanced autonomous experience.
Audi says the Urbansphere concept has been designed keeping the Chinese market in mind. However, the learnings and research from these cars will have an impact on Audi’s lineup globally. The German car maker has even confirmed that a new all-electric production model will be showcased in 2025, with its interior based on the Grandsphere concept car. The real surprise is Audi will showcase a fourth Sphere concept car ‘much before’ the yet-unnamed Audi’s 2025 model. When will that be? We’ll have to wait and watch.