Categories: Automobiles

Audi Urbansphere futuristic minivan for Asian megacities

Con Urbansphere, Audi completes the series of three prototypes of the “sphere” series which began with the sports car Skysphere and continued with the luxury sedan Grandsphere.

Just as Mini did with the Urbanaut, Audi is committed to proposing a minivan silhouette, a bodywork that seemed set aside by the designers, but which is making a comeback thanks to not having a classic front engine.

Audi claims that the Urbansphere is designed to move around in large Chinese cities, but its size is by no means small. Unlike the Mini, which is 4.46 meters long, it is a huge minivan of 5.51 meters, 2.01 meters wide and 1.78 meters high. The wheels are 24 inches.

This concept, which is, according to the brand itself, the most spacious Audi in history, has four individual seats which are accessed through doors that open towards the ends of the body and without a central pillar.

Audi Urbansphere brings technology and comfort to the highest levels

But before we get into the visual and technological details, let’s talk about what appears to be the most ‘common’ in this concept: the engine. The technical basis of the Urbansphere concept is Audi’s PPE platform, which will also use the upcoming A6 e-tron. With an electric motor on each axis, the minivan develops 401 hp and 70.4 kgfm. Interesting numbers, but not surprising. What really catches the eye is the incredible charging capacity. According to Audi, Urbansphere can load from 5% to 80% in just 25 minutes. Or recover 300 km of the 750 km range, estimated from the WLTP cycle, in 10 minutes. All this thanks to the a 800 volts which allows fast charging up to 270 kW.

In addition, Audi’s new concept has all-wheel steering, air suspension and brakes and steering-by-wire.

The front and rear are dominated by illuminated surfaces intended to communicate with the environment. At the front, two aluminum clips indicate Audi’s typical single-frame element and leave no doubts about affiliation to the brand. Inside is accessed through doors that open in opposite directions. The four swivel seats facilitate access, while in place of the trunk there is an additional bench. But the best seats are in rows one and two. The individual seats can be adjusted in various positions to become real beds.

For more privacy, a sort of screen can be extended around the headrest to separate from the person sitting next to it. The available space seems infinite. The thin roof pillars and huge glass surfaces make the lush interior even more airy.

In addition to space, Audi Urbansphere also brings a lot of technology. Infotainment screens for the second row of passengers are integrated in the front seats. Furthermore, another large screen for rear passengers should be able to be lowered from the roof lining. This could be used for video conferencing or entertainment. Each seat has an individual audio output and its own “cabin attendant” control. Air conditioning, seat adjustment, navigation and more can be controlled via voice input, gestures or eye tracking.

And who should be driving while the passengers relax? The car itself or at least most of the time. Audi Urbansphere should be able to drive autonomously at level 4. In this regard the steering wheel folds up, freeing up even more space inside and the occupants can fully concentrate on themselves.

According to Audi, a decision on series production has not yet been made. If the reactions are positive, a series version could be made before 2030. But as mentioned it should only be sold in Asia.

Published by
John Vassallo

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