Audi unveils its luxury roadster concept vehicle Skysphere.
- Audi transforming the vehicle into platform for captivating experiences
- Electric-powered luxury roadster
- Redefining progressive luxury
Ingolstadt/Monterey/Malibu, August 10, 2021. The first member of a new family of concept vehicles, a stunning roadster, has been revealed by Audi. The Audi Skysphere concept is a two-door electrified convertible with lines that go directly to the Audi design of the future. It demonstrates the brand’s vision for the progressive luxury segment of the future, in which the interior becomes an interactive area and the vehicle serves as a platform for exciting experiences. Autonomous driving, a new interior overhaul, and a seamless digital ecosystem have all made this feasible.
The Audi skysphere concept demonstrates how the brand is redefining luxury in the future – it’s not just about driving anymore. The concept car was created with the goal of providing its passengers with compelling and world-class experiences. The Audi skysphere idea was created for two alternative driving experiences: a grand touring experience and a sports experience, to provide passengers the most freedom possible. This makes use of a stunning technical feature: the adjustable wheelbase.
Electric motors and a complex mechanism with sliding body and frame components allow the car’s wheelbase and external length to be adjusted by 250 millimeters. Simultaneously, the ground clearance of the car is increased by 10 millimeters to improve comfort and driving dynamics.
The driver may pick their own driving experience with the touch of a button – either they pilot their 4.94-meter-long e-roadster themselves in “Sports” mode with a shorter wheelbase, while the rear-wheel steering ensures the vehicle stays incredibly agile despite its size. Alternatively, they can be escorted around in a 5.19-meter GT in autonomous “Grand Touring” driving mode, taking in the sky and landscape, as well as the amenities provided by a seamlessly integrated digital environment.
The steering wheel and pedals disappear in this position, and the concept car’s sense of space opens up whole new regions of possibility for such a sporty convertible. Meanwhile, the Audi skysphere’s sensor system autonomously monitors the road and traffic and safely transports the passengers to their destination.
Similar to how interior design provides a new, contemporary perception of luxury, digitization and the ecosystem provide passengers with unparalleled degrees of flexibility and access to new worlds of experience. The possibilities are practically unlimited thanks to Audi’s own services and the ability to integrate digital services. Additionally, passengers can use social media to share their road trip with pals, including photographs of the inside and surroundings. The vehicle also handles mundane activities that aren’t related to the ride. The autonomous Audi skysphere concept, for example, picks up passengers with information about their current location and handles parking and charging on its own.
The concept automobile was conceptualized and designed in the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, just a short distance from the famed Pacific Coast Highway, which connects Los Angeles suburbs with northern California. The project’s creative minds are studio manager Gael Buzyn and his staff. The Horch 853 roadster, a legendary classic model from the company’s own history, served as the inspiration for the new breakthrough model. The amazing convertible, which measures roughly 5.20 meters in length, was not only the epitome of modern luxury in the 1930s, but it also won the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2009.
However, the aesthetic inspiration from its predecessor is limited to the concept car’s dimensions and proportions, which include a tiny cabin and a long front end. The Horch has a formidable straight-eight engine with a displacement of 5 liters beneath the hood. Between the front axle and the windscreen, the Audi skysphere has mostly electric drive components, such as the charger and the DC/DC converter, as well as actuators and electronic and mechanical components for the adaptable wheelbase. It also has a large trunk with two golf bags that were specially developed for the concept automobile.
465 kW of power
“New technologies like electrification, digitalization, and autonomous driving gave us the opportunity to create an experience that goes way beyond the one that typical roadsters offer today,” said design project manager Gael Buzyn.
Power is delivered to the wheels of the Audi skysphere by an electric motor located on the powered back axle. The roadster, which weighs roughly 1,800 kilogrammes, can easily handle 465 kilowatts of electricity and 750 Newton metres of torque. The weight distribution on the powered rear axle is roughly 60%, resulting in excellent traction and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just four seconds if needed.
The battery modules in the Audi skysphere are predominantly located behind the cabin, which is perfect for the vehicle’s centre of gravity and agility. Additional modules can be found in the skysphere interior’s centre tube, between the seats – another location chosen for vehicle dynamics. The battery is likely to have a capacity of more than 80 kWh, giving the car a WLTP range of more than 500 kilometres, at least in the economical GT mode.
The chassis: rear-wheel steering and adaptive air suspension
In the front and rear, the vehicle has double wishbone axles. The upper and lower wishbones are made of aluminium, either forged or cast. A steer-by-wire technology controls both the front and rear wheels and allows for precise steering. Because the system isn’t mechanically attached to the front axle, the driver can choose from a variety of steering ratios and settings with the touch of a button. This enables the steering to be modified from extremely direct to comfortable, as well as from high to low self-aligning forces, for example when parking. The car’s tiny turning radius is aided by rear-axle steering and an adaptable wheelbase.
The exterior: reverence without retro
The iconic Horch 853 convertible and the Audi skysphere have a footprint that is strikingly comparable – 5.23 metres in length vs 5.19 metres in length; 1.85 metres in width compared 2.00 metres. The classic Horch, with its iconic design, towered up to 1.77 metres depending on body type, whereas the Audi skysphere, in Sport mode, dips down to the road at 1.23 metres flat, with an optimised centre of gravity and aerodynamics. The concept car pays homage to the iconic model without being a blatant rip-off.
The interior: two spheres of experience in one
The brand is putting the space that surrounds the passengers (“sphere”) and becomes an experience for them – the interior – at the core of its designs for the three future concept cars Audi skysphere, Audi grandsphere, and Audi urbansphere. This is because all three vehicles are built for level 4 autonomous driving, which means the driver can surrender total responsibility to the car and no longer have to intervene in certain designated road and traffic circumstances.
As a result, control parts like the steering wheel and pedals can be swivelled into an unseen position and removed from the cabin completely. Passengers in the front left seat, in particular, can enjoy a new kind of freedom: the ability to relax in the open air, take in the scenery and the breeze, or interact with the Internet and the world owing to the Audi skysphere’s connection to the digital ecosystem.
The three concept cars that the four-ringed brand is employing to display its vision of progressive luxury are the Audi skysphere, Audi grandsphere, and, coming in 2022, Audi urbansphere. Audi is building a vehicle experience that extends well beyond simply getting from point A to point B, and even beyond the driving experience itself.
These concept automobiles have a revolutionary design that reimagines the interior, or passenger compartment, as the heart of the vehicle, rather than subordinating the passenger experience to technological requirements. The interior’s varying arrangement, the absence of the controls, and the sheer expanse of the cabin all reflect this. This not only allows both passengers to enjoy a smooth and enjoyable travel, but it also combines it with new service offers in Grand Touring mode. These can be used to access a variety of services connected to the current journey, such as creating a magnificent scenic route or selecting a restaurant or accommodation.
Customized infotainment options, such as integrating the on-board streaming service to music and video services used at home, are also available. Audi also plans to give tailored and exclusive choices for Audi luxury car owners in the future, such as concerts, cultural events, and even sporting events that are only available by invitation. In just a few years, a car like the Audi skysphere concept will become a platform for experiences that go beyond the simple trip.