2022 Audi Urbansphere Concept revealed

The Audi Urbansphere Concept was revealed as a new take on a city car, made for Global megacities. Audi Urbansphere design

Perhaps the most surprising feature of the Urbansphere Concept, is its size. At 5.51 metres in length, this would be the largest Audi ever made. The concept is 2.01M wide, 1.78M tall and has a wheelbase of 3.40M. The Urbansphere shares the PPE platform, also used in Audi’s Grandsphere concept, which is destined to underpin the next generation mid to full sized Audi vehicles starting in 2023.

Much was made of the customer focused design and to that end, Audi invited potential buyers in Beijing to provide input of what features they would like to see in the Urbansphere. Reportedly, the Chinese Premier was also invited to participate.

Audi Urbansphere seatingInterior designers revealed that the Urbansphere is a potential 3 row vehicle, oriented as a 4+2 concept. The relevance of the split being that the first two rows were a priority and in particular, the second row was the focus of its designers. If you’ve ever been to China you will understand the significance of that design convergence. Most midsized European models are sold in long wheelbase versions which are meant to be chauffeured. Rear seat comfort for sedan passengers has always been a priority.

The concept of passenger comfort and interaction follows along the lines of the Audi Ai.Me concept we drove in Las Vegas at the 2020 CES show. The cabin is designed to adapt into a personalized space that occupants can either cocoon themselves away or interact as they see fit. The LCD screens built into the back of the front seats, feature eye tracking technology to enhance passenger ergonomics in the vehicle.

Designers foresee occupants being able to transform the Urbansphere into a rolling movie theatre, lounge or office, depending on demand. Flexible seating allows passengers to focus attention within the cabin or isolate if they desire. A privacy collar can rotate around the headrest to offer some visual privacy but it also contains noise cancelling technology. One designer also alluded to the presence of a minibar onboard!

The exterior design features a reinterpretation of the Audi single frame grille upfront. With high mounded headlights, the black grille covers most of the front surface of the vehicle but LED backlighting creates a distinct outline of the iconic trapezoidal grille. Audi Urbansphere front lights

Visually the Urbansphere has some other tricks up its sleeve. Riding on 24 inch wheels and carrying some pretty hefty dimensions, designers placed light coloured aluminum rails across the edges of the roofline and tied them into a similar feature at the rear of the roof which reportedly makes the vehicle’s roof seem visually lower than it is. Also, a long wheelbase and short overhangs front and rear, gives the Urbansphere an aggressive stance.

The controversial element of design is of course the sleek multi-passenger vehicle profile, in other words, van-like appearance. Audi designers were reluctant to acknowledge the term in their presentation however, while the van is a shrinking element in the North American market, it remains popular in Asia and in particular, China.

As with the Ai.Me concept earlier, the doors on the Urbansphere pivot from the centre outward, creating unfettered access to the cabin.

To provide Audi Quattro all-wheel-drive, each axle on the Urbansphere is driven by an electric motor. Power output totals 295 KW and 690 NM of torque. With city driving the focus of this concept, designers have specified smaller batteries with shorter ranges. An 800V system with 270 KW charging, means 300 kms of range can be inducted in only 10 minutes. Designers did say there was the room to install large 120 KW batteries if needed.

Audi Urbansphere drive systemRounding out the focus on rolling comfort, Audi highlights the Adaptive Air Suspension and rear axle steering as features that contribute to onboard comfort and safety.

The public should always take concept cars as a teaser of a car companies next generation of vehicles, sometimes a design language or a technological advancement. This Urbansphere may be a bit different. With direct input from potential customers in its largest market, this is one show car that may come to market with much of its current features intact. Audi Urbansphere rear lights