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Audi shows off its Skysphere Concept EV

Flexible wheelbase, rear-drive and Level 4 autonomy headline Audi Skysphere Concept

13 Aug 2021

AUDI has given the world another look at its vision of the future with its ‘Skysphere Concept’, an all-electric two-door roadster blending technology and design innovations to extend motoring beyond just driving.


Resembling an electrified Batmobile, the Skysphere Concept is long, low, wide and packed with technology Audi says is designed to offer occupants “captivating and world-class experiences”.


One of these experiences is the ability to tailor the car’s character and driveability through the adjustable wheelbase, resulting in either an engaging sportscar experience or automated grand touring one.


The use of electric motors enables Sport mode to shorten the Skysphere Concept’s wheelbase by 250mm – trimming the overall length from 5190mm to 4940mm – and hands vehicle control over to the would-be driver.


Decent dynamics are promised by the presence of a double wishbone suspension set-up front and rear, with adaptive and predictive (working in tandem with the sat-nav) air springs taking care of the bump absorption, useful given the unforgiving combination of 23-inch alloy wheels and 285/30 Michelin tyres.


Agility is enhanced further through the inclusion of an active rear-wheel-steering system and an adjustable ride height afforded by the air springs.


Alternatively, occupants can sit back in Grand Touring mode and let the level four autonomous driving systems take care of the journey, allowing them more time to enjoy the sights – and the abundance of legroom.


In GT mode, the steering wheel and pedals are taken away from the driver and moved into “an invisible area” to maximise space.


The interior is as futuristic as the exterior, the entire dash being digital and comprising two 1415x180mm touchscreens with internet streaming capabilities.


Other cabin highlights include deeply sculpted bucket seats upholstered in sustainably produced microfibre fabric, digital HVAC controls on the door trims, eucalyptus wood and imitation leather trim. Rear-hinged doors add an extra element of grandeur. 


Backing up those Batmobile looks and gadgets are Batmobile levels of power and torque; 465kW/730Nm courtesy of a rear axle-mounted electric motor and a battery capacity of “more than 80kWh”.


Zero-100km/h is dealt with in around four seconds, while Audi says the effective cruising range is north of 500km (on the WLTP cycle).


“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,” a spokesperson said.


“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 centre of the vehicle and no longer subordinates the passenger experience to the requirements of the technology.”


Project design manager Gael Buzyn added that “new technologies like electrification, digitalisation, and autonomous driving” gave Audi “the opportunity to create an experience that goes way beyond the one that typical roadsters offer today”.

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