With the Sphere concepts, Audi has provided a window into the future of design by previewing how next-generation cars are going to look. Leading the way will be a next-generation A8 flagship due in 2024 that will take after the Grandsphere. More than 20 new cars are slated to come out between now and 2026, so Ingolstadt has a busy schedule up ahead.
What to expect? Audi design boss Marc Lichte told Top Gear magazine the Four Rings are working on "softer, more friendly" designs that will be "less aggressive." He referred to the recently unveiled Activesphere concept as a relevant indicator of the fresh design language: "I think this car I would say is not aggressive, it's the opposite. It's very soft, very friendly, very… there's no edge on the exterior design…"
Audi Activesphere Concept
As a refresher, Lichte said Audi will invert the design process by creating the interior first before drawing the body. He told TG upcoming models from the new era of EVs will be "softer, more friendly, less aggressive.” Interestingly, one of the driving forces behind why the German luxury brand is moving away from aggressive designs is Russia's invasion of Ukraine:
"One reason is there is a war not far away [Ukraine] from here, which has an impact on everybody. I don’t like this aggressive styling, honestly speaking. There are so many more opportunities. That’s why designers in general are not focusing on this aggressive design. That’s my interpretation."
Audi's design chief says switching to bespoke electric platforms gives his team more freedom by not having to take into account a combustion engine and the other oily bits. The Ingolstadt-based marque will launch its final new ICE-powered car in 2025, with every new model due from 2026 to be purely electric. By 2033, production of gasoline and diesel vehicles will come to an end globally, with a possible exception in China depending on local demand.
One of the new additions to the electric lineup is believed to be a rugged off-roader to go after the Mercedes EQG. If a recent report is to be believed, it'll go on sale as early as 2027 by utilizing the same platform as the new Scout SUV and pickup truck due in 2026.