With its quartet of Sphere concepts, Audi is providing a solid preview of a fresh design language it will apply to future vehicles. The new look has been conceived exclusively for electric cars since the Four Rings intend to launch their final new models with combustion engines in 2025. By utilizing a dedicated EV platform, expect shorter overhangs, longer wheelbases, and swoopy shapes to maximize aerodynamic efficiency for improved range.
While these facts are generally available across the industry as it gradually shifts to EVs, Audi plans a radical change in how it develops cars. The first order of business will be to create the user interface and interior before moving on to the exterior design. In an interview with Top Gear magazine, the German luxury brand's Marc Lichte talked about the 180-degree turn to prioritize the cabin.
Audi Activesphere Concept
"In the past, the process was always the same: in the beginning, there was the combustion engine and platform. Then together with sales and marketing, we decided on a two-seater, four-seater, or six- or seven-seater, then we start designing the exterior design and in the end, the interior. The future is exactly the opposite."
By changing priorities, Lichte told TG that Audi's Head of UI/UX Design Sid Odedra, together with the team he is running, are now at the center of the design process: "It starts in Sid's department and it ends there because we start thinking about the use case." Going forward, the development will be based on the needs of those inside the cabin before finalizing the exterior design.
The first car from the new wave of EVs from Audi is scheduled to arrive as early as next year with the all-new A8. It'll ditch the combustion engines and embrace the avant-garde styling of the Grandsphere. Lichte has promised the fullsize luxury sedan will be "very close" to the concept, so the future of design from Ingolstadt looks bright.
Another EV due in 2024 is an A6 E-Tron, which will spawn an RS6 E-Tron derivative with a wide body, larger wheels, wider tracks, and more power. Audi is also working on a Q6 E-Tron for a release next year. The SUV is being twinned with the next-generation, electric-only Porsche Macan.