Audi has unveiled the first member of a new family of concept vehicles, a spectacular roadster. Audi skysphere concept is the name of the electric-powered, two-door convertible whose lines lead directly to the Audi design of tomorrow. With it, the brand is illustrating its vision for the progressive luxury segment of the future, in which the interior becomes 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. 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 by 250 millimeters. At the same time, the vehicle’s ground clearance is adjusted by 10 millimeters to enhance comfort and driving dynamics.
The Audi skysphere concept shows how the brand is redefining luxury in the future – it’s no longer just about driving. The concept car was designed with the clear objective of offering its occupants captivating and world-class experiences. With the touch of button, the driver can take advantage of their freedom and choose their own driving experience- either they pilot their 4.94-meter-long e-roadster themselves in “Sports” mode with a reduced wheelbase, while the rear-wheel steering ensures that the vehicle remains extremely agile despite its dimensions. Or 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.
The Audi skysphere concept makes its public debut as part of 2021 Monterey Car Week – on the legendary fairways of the Pebble Beach golf course. This means the vehicle’s unveiling in California is taking place more or less on its home turf. This is because the concept car was conceived and designed at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, just a stone’s throw away from the Pacific Coast Highway, the legendary coastal road that connects the suburbs of Los Angeles with northern California. The impressive convertible, which is also around 5.20 meters in length, was not only the definition of modern luxury in the 1930s, but also won the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach in 2009. But the visual inspiration from its predecessor is limited to the concept car’s dimensions and typical proportions with a rather compact cabin and long front end.The Audi skysphere, on the other hand, mainly has electric drive components between the front axle and the windshield, such as the charger and the DC/DC converter, plus the actuators and electronic and mechanical components for the adaptive wheelbase.
The Audi skysphere’s battery modules are primarily positioned behind the cabin – an ideal configuration for the vehicle’s center of gravity and agility. Further modules can be found between the seats in the center tunnel of the skysphere interior – another position chosen in favor of vehicle dynamics. The battery’s capacity is expected to be more than 80 kWh, giving the car a range of more than 500 kilometers according to the WLTP standard, at least in the economical GT mode. An electric motor positioned on the powered rear axle is responsible for delivering power to the wheels of the Audi skysphere. A total of 465 kilowatts of power and 750 Newton meters of torque have an easy time with the roadster, which only weighs around 1,800 kilograms. The weight distribution of around 60 percent on the powered rear axle results in ample traction and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just four seconds, if required.
Audi skysphere, Audi grandsphere, and, coming in 2022, Audi urbansphere are the three concept cars that the brand with the four rings is using to showcase its vision of progressive luxury. In the process, Audi is creating a vehicle experience that goes far beyond the purpose of merely spending time in a car to get from point A to point B, and even far beyond the driving experience itself. These concept cars feature a new design that ultimately reimagines the interior, the passenger compartment, as the center of the vehicle and no longer subordinates the passenger experience to the requirements of the technology. In Grand Touring mode, this not only allows both passengers to enjoy a smooth and pleasant journey, but also combines it with new service offerings. These can be used to access a variety of service options related to the current trip – such as designing a spectacular scenic route, as well as restaurant or hotel options. Customized infotainment options are also available, such as linking the on-board streaming service to music and video providers used at home.
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