Space, form, function – the interior
The doors of the Audi grandsphere concept are reversed so front and back touch; there is no B-pillar. The whole world of the interior opens up to passengers as soon as they climb in. But even before that, the Audi grandsphere has identified its passengers with a pathway identification – an innovative feature – that opens the doors and welcomes them with individually staged displays and ambient light. The driver and passenger positions are automatically detected and an array of personal comfort features – such as the climate control settings and the seats – are adjusted for the individual seats. At the same time, the infotainment system accesses the passengers’ most recently used services and seamlessly resumes them inside the car. For instance, a video that a passenger was streaming on a tablet is automatically played back over the display surface in the Audi grandsphere. On the driver's side, on the other hand, the projection surface automatically picks up on displaying the news the occupant was reading before getting in.
In the interior, the lines on the decorative surfaces and functional elements are emphatically horizontal. The open, broad interior supports the impression of a unique space and the lack of a steering wheel, pedals, or conventional dashboard create a feeling of openness and breadth.
The large glass surfaces, expansive windshield, and transparent ceiling also emphasize that feeling. The same goes for the particular geometry of the side windows: their upper half is distinctively angled – the widest part is just slightly above eye level. It is a trick that Audi demonstrated for the first time in 2017 with its futuristic AI:CON concept car and which is now moving toward series production.
The change in the comfort zone is radical: if the boss’ seat is in the back in a conventional sedan, first class has now shifted forward into the front row. That is because it is no longer necessarily subordinated, first and foremost, to the driving function and the controls. In level 4 driving, the steering wheel and pedals disappear and the front area of the cabin becomes actual free space in all its breadth, with a perfect view through the large front and side windows, as well as maximum possibilities for movement.
The interior appears particularly wide when the two individual front seats are pushed all the way back. The Audi grandsphere is a 2+2-seater. An upholstered, two-person bench with an armrest that goes around the side is integrated as a seating option in the back, while both front seats are designed for first class comfort and space.
The seating surfaces and backs of the two seats with integrated belts are visually separate. The side bolsters of the seat backs are discreetly bent, thereby ensuring support while driving through curves. The possible seat positions are optimized for every use: in the upright position, the Audi grandsphere can be perfectly ergonomically controlled – as desired and outside level 4 zones. With the back tilted 40 degrees, passengers can relax and use the infotainment system. Finally, if the back is folded out to 60 degrees, it achieves a perfect resting position. The headrest can be bent 15 degrees forward. Outlets for air that is filtered and temperature controlled – even scented, as desired – as well as speakers that are inaudible to other passengers and allow for a private aural zone are all integrated into this area.
Between the front seats – normally concealed under metallic trim – there is a compact, onboard cooler with two glasses and a designed, elegant bottle for soft drinks. This is another sign of the Audi grandsphere concept’s first class claim.