Mercedes renewed the S-Class and gave it an electric counterpart by introducing the EQS as a dedicated EV. BMW made a similar move with the 7 Series, although the i7 shares the platform with the ICE-powered versions. Audi doesn't have a fullsize electric saloon available, but that will change in 2024 with the unveiling of the next-generation A8. Unlike its two rivals, the folks from Ingolstadt intend to sell their next flagship only as an EV.
Although we haven't seen any spy shots whatsoever, the all-new range topper from the Four Rings will break cover next year with styling heavily influenced by the Grandsphere. The sleek concept unveiled in September 2021 is one of the four Sphere concepts developed by Audi to preview its electric lineup. As a refresher, the company intends to launch only EVs from 2026 and end sales of ICE models by 2033.
Audi Grandsphere Concept
Speaking with Autocar, Audi design boss Marc Lichte said the Grandsphere is "very close" to how the A8 will look. He went on to mention it won't be a carbon copy of the showcar, but the latter is a "very concrete teaser" of the road-going model. The British magazine claims it'll go by the name of A8 E-Tron and sit on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture co-developed with Porsche.
The concept was not only bigger than the long-wheelbase model available globally but also stretched further compared to the Maybach-rivaling Horch version sold exclusively in China. We'll remind you the concept was touted as being a "private jet for the road," measuring a stately 5.35 metres (17.6 feet) long with a massive wheelbase of 3.19 metres (10.5 feet).
While technical specifications of the production car have yet to be revealed, we do know the Grandsphere had all-wheel drive from a pair of electric motors. Audi claimed a combined output of 710 bhp (530 kilowatts) and 960 Newton-metres (708 pound-feet) of torque for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in a little over four seconds.
A large 120-kWh battery had enough juice for more than 466 miles (750 kilometres) of range and support for 270-kWh charging, in which case it took less than 10 minutes to obtain over 186 miles (300 kilometres) of range. Audi said the concept needed a little over 20 minutes to charge the battery from 5 to 80 percent.
With no prototypes spotted yet, the A8 E-Tron is unlikely to arrive early next year as logic tells us it'll debut later in 2024. It's unclear whether the current-generation A8 will remain on sale once the EV arrives.