source: Audi AG
The future is electric, automated, connected – and it can’t come soon enough! The showcars Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept and Audi grandsphere concept provide pointers to what premium mobility will look like in the future.
Sedan and Avant of the future
If you want to grab a glimpse of the future, you could try gazing into a crystal ball in the hope of discerning the shape of things to come. Or, for a more realistic insight into the future of the automobile, try looking at concept cars and showcars. Audi endeavors to visualize the shape of things to come in the near and distant future with its concept cars. The Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept1 includes plenty of details that will soon find their way into series production. And the Audi grandsphere concept1 is an astonishing demonstration of what the more distant future might bring.
Both vehicles – the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept and the Audi grandsphere concept– clearly have Audi DNA. And that DNA dictates how an Audi looks, how it drives, how it feels. All these attributes are shaped by such things as the high-quality feel of the interior, the distinctive handling that comes from the longitudinal and transverse dynamics, and the steering qualities that make an Audi so distinctive. Audi DNA also defines the driving feel in the automated models of the future. This makes “Vorsprung durch Technik” perceptible on every drive.
A glimpse of the future
The very first glimpse of the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept awakens a sense of yearning. Yearning for the future to begin right now – for this elegant form of mobility to become a reality. But customers will need to wait a little longer for the series-production version of this Avant to reach dealers.
But we can promise one thing: This wait will be a time of incredible anticipation of a vehicle that will be among the first Audi models in the C segment to have the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) as its basis. A platform that redefines the notion of “premium” and what distinguishes a full-size vehicle. This concept car reveals what we can expect in an electrically powered Audi in the near future.
The road becomes a stage
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept uses projectors to actively communicate with its surroundings and the driver.
Aesthetics combined with safety: The Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept uses LED projections on the ground to greet its passengers. These projections are more than just eye-catchers – they also function as communication elements. Symbols cast onto the road surface can warn cyclists of a car door being opened, for example. The same technology is used to project the turn indicators dynamically onto the road surface as well.
It is all about seeing and being seen: Next-generation digital matrix LED headlights can increase safety by means of projections – lane and orientation light – onto the road in front of the vehicle. In addition, the front headlights illuminate the road clearly and brightly. Intelligent lighting control reacts automatically to traffic situations, the weather and the surroundings.
Here’s looking at you
Slim headlights, a closed Singleframe grille: This Avant is recognizable in a flash as an electrically powered Audi.
The ultra-slim digital matrix LED headlights of the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept 1 do more than simply cast bright light onto the road. Projectors are also located further below in the front of the vehicle: Suppose drivers parked next to a wall while the car is charging – they could keep themselves entertained by playing a built-in video game projected onto the wall. This video game was developed specially for the showcar and illustrates what digital features are conceivable in future Audi models. Beneath the headlights there are striking, low-set air inlets of an inverted U-shape to cool the drive, battery and brakes.
The hallmark of every Avant model built by Audi: sporty character emanating from design features that catch the eye and hold your attention.
The Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept is a very special Avant. Approach it from the side and you will notice one design feature above all: The profile along the vehicle’s underbody is reminiscent of an aircraft’s wing. This wing shape will become a typical feature on Audi series-production models with electric drive. The latest-generation digital OLED elements that make a three-dimensional light strip at the rear possible are also among the special design features.
Let the show begin
With its elegant lines, the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept1 adds a new chapter to the Audi Avant success story.
Whether viewed from the front, back, side or from above, there is no doubting Audi’s prowess in creating highly emotional automobiles with remarkable styling. The roof of the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept appears to be floating. That is partly down to the roof spoiler that runs along the glass roof from the A-pillar up to the slanting C-pillar. Among its many other features, it produces very good aerodynamics – the showcar has an excellent drag coefficient. That aerodynamics are part of the key to understanding how the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept achieves a range of up to 700 kilometers (WLTP). It does so with a high-performance battery that is also very quick to recharge: It takes just 10 minutes to “fill up” enough energy for around 300 kilometers.
PPE and E3 – the basis of electric mobility as a platform and in the software
Welcome to the future
The Audi grandsphere concept embodies what Audi plans to achieve in the full-size category over the coming years. The vehicle will become a platform for experiences, embedded in a holistic digital ecosystem. This concept car excites people as soon as they approach it. As the doors swing open automatically – the rear doors are rear-hinged, the front doors have their hinges at the front – you see before you a vast expanse of space because the Audi grandsphere concept does not have a B-pillar. This not only simplifies getting into and out of the car, it also demonstrates first-class comfort in a revolutionarily redesigned interior that becomes an experiential space during the automated drive – just as self-driving Audi models might offer in the future.
While technology and handling always used to be top of the list in automotive development, the Audi grandsphere concept demonstrates that while these attributes are still just as important, the focus is now increasingly on the interior when a new model is created. The electric drivetrain and automated driving will provide the necessary creative freedom for this.
PPE – three letters that denote not just Premium Platform Electric, but the very future of electric mobility.
The front end of the Audi grandsphere concept reinterprets the brand’s typical Singleframe radiator grille: Flowing lines form a hexagon. The technical basis is the Premium Platform Electric (PPE). The core element of PPE is the high-performance battery between the axles. In conjunction with 800-volt charging technology, it enables charging times that are more like a classic refueling stop for a car with combustion engine.
Together with a range in excess of 750 kilometers (WLTP), that makes the Audi grandsphere concept2 unquestionably fit for long-distance driving. The concept car has separate electric motors mounted on the front and rear axles that use electronic coordination to deliver quattro drive on demand and execute a perfect balance between driving dynamics and energy efficiency.
From cockpit to lounge
The Audi grandsphere concept 1illustrates the brand’s ambition to define the future shape of premium mobility.
Unlike many electric cars, the Audi grandsphere concept does not look futuristic at all, but rather emphasizes traditional beauty ideals – both outside and in. Particularly its automated driving (level 4) can now bring all passengers a new dimension of freedom.
Because whereas the comfort zone in many classic sedans was focused on the rear compartment, the best seats in the vehicle are now moving to the front row. The two individual front seats can be tilted back to an angle of up to 60 degrees into a perfect resting position. The result is first-class comfort and an interior that is closer in character to a lounge than an automobile. Many of the technologies and design features combined here are expected to become mainstream in future Audi series-production vehicles over the next few years.
Freedom for something new
In the Audi grandsphere concept, automated driving creates an innovative sphere of experience.
Climb into the Audi grandsphere concept for the first time and you will initially be surprised by the biggest innovation: not a single dial, no flat screens, no touchscreens. Instead of the familiar cockpit, the Audi grandsphere concept1 presents a calm expanse featuring natural materials of the highest quality. Wood, wool and textile fabric predominate. A place to feel at ease, where relaxation is possible without the glow of displays.
No instruments, screens or displays? So how do drivers get information if they want to take control of the Audi grandsphere concept1 themselves? There are displays – in the form of projections onto the wood surfaces beneath the windshield. These can be controlled by eye tracking and gestures and enable travel time to be used productively – for video conferences, for example. The steering wheel and pedals are concealed while the Audi grandsphere concept is in automated mode and only emerge when the driver chooses to take over – or has to because the conditions do not permit driving in the automated modes.