Audi has a long tradition of turning its stunning concept cars into actual road cars. But now there’s a new Audi minivan concept that is making fans of people haulers rejoice. Let’s hope that parts of the new urbansphere minivan concept make it. It’s the latest in Audi’s “sphere” line of concept cars.
Does Audi make a minivan?
Audi does not make a minivan today. Instead, it’s focused on luxury SUVs that seat up to seven. But the new concept shows that at least Audi is thinking about a minivan.
Audi has been showing off its “sphere” group of concept cars at auto shows. The skysphere is a swoopy two-seat sports car. The grandsphere is a sedan. But Audi is showing off what else it can do with the platform and has debuted the urbansphere minivan-like concept. The company is saying the sphere vehicles are “experience devices,” not cars or vans. Whatever. They’re sleek and we want to drive one.
You drive. We’re in back.
The new Audi was designed by folks in both Beijing, China, and Ingolstadt, Germany. That, Audi said, is one of the reasons the interior is stunning. Chinese commutes are long and executives don’t want to waste time driving. Instead, they prefer cars with back seats where they can work, spread out, and not waste time driving.
Could some of the Audi minivan tech make it to production cars?
Instead of a key, you can use a fingerprint to turn on the urbansphere. Instead of actual gauges, the cluster is a projection that Audi admits “can be surprising at first.” Instead of switches, or buttons, it simply has a sensor bar under the dash so you can change the settings, like a screen in “Minority Report.” The sensors even work if you’re reclined in the back seat, thanks to eyetracking sensors.
One special tribute to China is a luminous accessory umbrella that passengers can take with them when they leave the urbansphere. The Audi Light Umbrella is a self-illuminating umbrella inspired by traditional Chinese umbrellas, Audi said.
There have been teases of future Audi minivans in the past, but none have made it to production.
This electric platform could underpin and Audi minivan
This could be the world’s quickest minivan, too. The new concept uses Audi’s Premium Platform Electric, which is the company’s battery platform that sits between the axles. It has two electric motors that produce up to 295 KW, or 395 horsepower, and 760 Newton-meters of force, or more than 500 foot-pounds of torque. Those are Dodge Challenger numbers. The urbansphere also has an air suspension system for comfort.
Most concept cars end up being destroyed. But, in Audi’s case, they often preview technology, shapes, or ideas that make it to production in innovative ways. The urbansphere isn’t going to be built as it is, but if some of the tech or design makes it to production, this could be the luxury minivan we want.
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