Currently reading: Italdesign Giugiaro GEA concept previews autonomous Audi saloon
Electric concept car at the Geneva motor show provides a blueprint for how a future luxury Audi autonomous saloon could look, and be used inside and out

Volkswagen Group-owned design house Italdesign Giugiaro has revealed its GEA concept car at the Geneva motor show.

Described as an Audi-style autonomous electric luxury saloon of the future, the four-wheel-drive GEA is 5370mm long – some 235mm longer than an Audi A8. It is powered by four electric motors (two at the front and two at the rear) with a combined power output of 764bhp. Top speed is 155mph.

The concept has been designed by Italdesign’s styling chief Wolfgang Egger who moved to the design house from Audi last year. The firm describes the GEA as having the look of a “stylish saloon with a sporty twist”.

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Notable exterior design features on the GEA, which is made from lightweight materials including aluminium, carbonfibre and magnesium for a kerb weight of just over 2000kg, include its 60-spoke, 26in alloys, each milled from a solid block, and slim light clusters which feature Audi laserlight and LED technology. The lights glow white when the GEA is being driven by the driver, and blue when it is driving itself in autonomous mode.

Access to the cabin is through rear-hinged doors; the GEA does without conventional B-pillars to further boost access. The focal part of the cabin is the rear, where an integrated smartphone controls major vehicle functions and allows one of three interior modes to be selected: Business, Wellness or Dream.

In Business mode, the GEA turns into a travelling office, where two 19.0in transparent LED screens come down from the roof. The front passenger seat can be swivelled 180 degrees, or folded down, where it can be used as a work top.

In Wellness mode, the GEA becomes a mini gym. Aluminium handles in the rear seats can be used for upper body exercises, and boards come out of the floor for leg exercises. There is also a fridge between the two rear seats to store drinks. Instructional videos produced by fitness firm Technogym can be played on the screens.

In Dream mode, the GEA becomes a relaxing environment, with blue LED lighting and the ability for one of the rear seats to fully recline and link up with a front seat to become a bed, similar to that of a first class seat in an airliner.

Premium, natural materials are used throughout the cabin, and the driver gets all driving information via a 12.0in screen. Three buttons on the control stick-style steering wheel control the driving of the car, and whether it is in autonomous mode or being operated by the driver.

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