Audi has unveiled the first member of a new family of concept vehicles, in the form of a spectacular roadster known as the Skysphere. The electric-powered, two-door convertible illustrates the brands vision for the progressive luxury segment of the future.
Its interior is designed to be an interactive space, and the vehicle a platform for captivating experiences. This is being made possible thanks to autonomous driving, a revolutionary redesign of the interior, and a seamless digital ecosystem.
Set to be revealed at Monterey Car Week at Pebble Beach on Friday, the Skysphere is designed with the clear objective of offering its occupants captivating and world-class experiences.
To give passengers the maximum amount of freedom, the Audi Skysphere concept was designed for two different driving experiences: a grand touring experience and a sports experience.
This makes use of a spectacular technical detail – the variable wheelbase. Electric motors and a sophisticated mechanism with body and frame components that slide into one another make it possible to vary the wheelbase itself and the exterior length of the car.
At the same time, the vehicle’s ground clearance is adjusted by 10mm to enhance comfort and driving dynamics.
With the touch of button, the driver can take advantage of their freedom and choose their own driving experience; the first of these being to pilot their 4.94m-long e-roadster themselves in “Sports” mode, with a reduced wheelbase and agile rear-wheel steering.
Alternatively, they can choose to be chauffeured around in a 5.19-meter GT in the autonomous “Grand Touring” driving mode, while enjoying the sky and the scenery, maximum legroom, and the services offered by a seamlessly integrated digital ecosystem.
In this mode, the steering wheel and pedals move into an invisible area; the feeling of space in the concept car opens up completely new realms of possibility for such a sporty convertible.
Meanwhile, the Audi Skysphere automatically keeps an eye on the road and traffic with its sensor system and drives the occupants safely to their destination.
Similar to how the interior design offers a new, contemporary interpretation of luxury, digitisation and the ecosystem open up unprecedented levels of freedom and worlds of experience for the vehicle’s passengers.
Thanks to Audi’s own services and the ability to integrate digital services, the possibilities are nearly endless. In addition, the passengers can share their experience on the road with friends via social media, with images of the interior and the surrounding area.
The vehicle also takes care of everyday tasks that go beyond the ride itself. For example, the autonomous Audi Skysphere concept picks up its passengers with information about their current destination and independently handles parking and charging.
Its drive system features an electric motor, positioned on the powered rear axle. A total of 465kW of power and 750Nm of torque have an easy time with the roadster, which only weighs around 1,800kg.
The weight distribution of around 60 percent on the powered rear axle results in ample traction and acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in just four seconds, if required. The Audi Skysphere’s battery modules are primarily positioned behind the cabin.
Further modules can be found between the seats in the centre tunnel of the Skysphere interior – another position chosen in favour of vehicle dynamics. The battery’s capacity is expected to be more than 80kWh, giving the car a range of more than 500km.
Audi Skysphere, Grandsphere, and, coming in 2022, Urbansphere are the three concept cars that the brand is using to showcase its vision of progressive luxury. In the process, Audi is creating a vehicle experience that goes far beyond getting from point A to point B.
These concept cars feature a new design that ultimately reimagines the interior, the passenger compartment, as the centre of the vehicle and no longer subordinates the passenger experience to the requirements of the technology.
This is reflected in the variable layout of the interior, the disappearance of the controls, and the sheer expanse of the cabin. Audi also aims to provide personalised and exclusive options for users of its luxury cars in the future.
These might include concerts, cultural events, or even sporting events that are only available upon special invitation. In this way, a vehicle like the Audi Skysphere concept will become a platform for experiences that expand horizons beyond the mere ride.