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Audi urbansphere concept¹: A new sphere of life for megacities

The Four Rings’ latest concept car invites each occupant to enjoy personalised comforts as part of a multifaceted, first-class experience on board.

Text: AUDI AG - Photo: AUDI AG Reading Time: 7 min

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

The open doors reveal the interior of the Audi urbansphere concept.
The doors of the Audi urbansphere concept¹ open to face each other, revealing a deluxe first-class interior that is the biggest in an Audi to date.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

Hot on the heels of the Audi skysphere concept¹ roadster and Audi grandsphere concept¹ premium saloon, the Audi urbansphere concept¹ is the third electric concept car in the sphere family unveiled within the space of a year to showcase the carmaker’s vision for tomorrow’s premium mobility. Imagine a future where vehicles unlock a world of experience that is so much richer than spending time on board for the single purpose of getting from A to B. This is the tomorrow for which the largest model in the sphere series, the Audi urbansphere concept¹, has been designed. It offers the most opulent interior of any Audi to date and its dimensions – 5.51metres long, 2.01metres wide and 1.78 metres tall – exceed all previous executive class benchmarks.

 

Since the Audi urbansphere concept¹ was designed with a special focus on mobility in China’s megacities, the concept car is the result of close cooperation between the Four Rings’ design studios in Beijing and at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt. This was the first time Audi embarked on a co-creation process in which prospective customers in China made suggestions based on their own desires and experiences as part of the vehicle development process. The fruits of these inspiring contributions can be seen especially in the interior. Considering that personal space will be at a premium in tomorrow’s metropolitan areas, the Audi urbansphere concept¹ takes the form of a lounge on wheels – a quiet, private space and mobile office with extensive high-tech amenities. During the hours spent negotiating traffic, the vehicle will serve as a mobile venue for immersive experiences, rounding out home and workplace as an additional living space.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

A passenger in the rear of the Audi urbansphere concept¹.
During the hours spent negotiating traffic, the Audi urbansphere concept¹ offers the luxury of a private lounge with all the high-tech amenities.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

Designed from the inside out

That’s why the Audi urbansphere concept¹ was deliberately designed with the interior as the starting point. The passenger experience, their requirements of a vehicle interior, are at the core of every aesthetic and technological detail. Ultimately, even the “sphere” component in the series designation is pioneering, heralding a new vehicle family that gives passengers an ample, comfortable inner space where they can immerse themselves in whole new experiences on the move. Their wishes shape this space, its architecture and all the integrated functions.

 

The traditional design process has been turned on its head. Right from the start, the interior was the centre of attention. Everything – from equipment packages to the exterior silhouette and proportions – takes its cue from the inner heart of the Audi urbansphere concept² and is melded together with technology to form a total artwork. Thanks to its SAE level four² automated driving capabilities, the Audi urbansphere concept¹ takes the task of operating the vehicle out of the driver’s hands whenever they like. What’s more, all of the vehicle’s occupants enjoy new freedoms and can choose to tailor any of a wide range of options – be it communications, relaxation, work or quiet me-time – to their needs. That means the Audi urbansphere concept¹ is no longer simply a car but an “experience device”.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

²The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The automated driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for produc-tion vehicles and only work within system limits. All possible uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regu-lations in the relevant country.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

²The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The automated driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for produc-tion vehicles and only work within system limits. All possible uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regu-lations in the relevant country.

Spatial design for the executive class

Since the front and rear doors of the Audi urbansphere concept¹ open in opposite directions and there is no B-pillar, passengers entering the vehicle are given an expansive welcome into the full sweep of the interior. Thanks to a 3.40-metre wheelbase and a vehicle width of 2.01metres, the car boasts a sizeable footprint. Ample glass surfaces enhance the airy, spacious feeling. At the moment occupants embark, the Red Carpet Light projected onto the ground next to the car already sets the scene for a special experience on board.

 

Inside, four individual seats in two rows offer luxurious, first-class comfort. They turn outward to greet the occupants as they enter. Passengers conversing in the interior can swivel their seats to face each other². Notably the rear seats are generously proportioned and feature a wide range of adjustment options. In Relax and Entertain modes, choosing to recline the backrest by up to 60 degrees simultaneously raises the leg rests. With their integrated armrests, the side bolsters hug the body securely. For even greater privacy, each seat’s head area can be screened off from the neighbour’s view with a blind mounted behind the headrest. What’s more, each seat has its own sound zone with speakers in the headrest area. On top of that, individual monitors are integrated into the front seat backrests.

 

A special feature is the transparent OLED screen that can be released vertically from the roof area into the space between the front and rear seat rows, letting occupants share use of the infotainment system. In this position, the screen stretches across the full width of the interior, allowing occupants in the rear seats to either participate jointly in a video conference, enjoy a movie together or use it separately in split-screen mode. When the Cinema Screen is not in use, its transparent design ensures an unobstructed view through to the front.

Minimalism as a design principle

As previously with the Audi grandsphere concept¹, the interior of the Audi urbansphere concept¹ also melds space and architecture, digital technology and authentic materials into a consummate whole. Before driving functions are activated, the interior is devoid of both round dials and black screens for virtual display concepts. Instead, the ambience is marked by clearly defined, tranquil zones in premium-quality materials, such as wood, wool and synthetic textiles. From the top of the interior down, the colour zones become paler and, with the incidence of natural light, add to the feeling of a broad, homogeneous interior space. Only when, at the touch of a fingertip, the vehicle springs to life is information projected onto the wooden surfaces below the windscreen, either across the full width of the interior or divided into sections for the driver and front-seat passenger.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

²The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The automated driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for produc-tion vehicles and only work within system limits. All possible uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regu-lations in the relevant country.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

²The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The automated driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for produc-tion vehicles and only work within system limits. All possible uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regu-lations in the relevant country.

A transparent OLED screen between the two rows of seats.
Thanks to its transparent design, the OLED screen released vertically from the roof area affords rear-seat occupants an unobstructed view through to the front when not in use.

The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

From high-tech interior to sphere of life

The MMI touchless response is a remarkable control unit located on the interior cladding near the door cutout. When the front-seat occupants are seated in the upright position, they can easily and intuitively operate various function menus by touching the rotary ring and buttons. Once they have reclined their seat backrests² and the MMI is out of reach, they can instead make use of a combination of eye tracking and gesture control. By following the line of sight, a sensor directed at the eye can determine when to activate the control unit. There is no need for the occupants to lean forward. By making hand gestures similar to those when physically engaging the controls, they can fully operate the system without touching it.

 

Whatever the operation mode – whether eye detection, gesture and voice control or touch – the Audi urbansphere concept¹ adapts to each particular user, learning their preferences and frequently used functions. For instance, the car is capable of not only meaningfully augmenting any rudimentary commands it receives but even offering users customised suggestions.

 

Operating the Audi urbansphere concept¹ is as innovative as the other experiences the vehicle offers are compelling. Take, for example, the VR glasses stored in the door armrests on both sides, for use in conjunction with infotainment options such as the holoride system. Additionally, the co-creation process also involving Chinese customers provided the impetus behind fresh digital options. Stress detection is a case in point. This adaptive program uses facial scanning and voice analysis to determine your emotional state. It then suggests bespoke ways to relax, such as with a meditation app that can be accessed via the personal screen and private sound zone in the headrests. All in all, the Audi urbansphere concept¹stands out as a multifaceted and innovative personal experience device.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

²The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The automated driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for produc-tion vehicles and only work within system limits. All possible uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regu-lations in the relevant country.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

²The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The automated driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for produc-tion vehicles and only work within system limits. All possible uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regu-lations in the relevant country.

A side view of the Audi urbansphere concept.
As prestigious as self-assured: The elegantly dynamic Audi urbansphere concept¹ truly makes an impression.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

Blick in den Audi A8 mit zwei Fond-Bildschirmen.

A platform for experiences

Lighting technology, co-creation3, first-class seats and a new sense of space are just some of the fascinating features behind this concept car that serves as a per-sonal experience device. Immerse yourself in the world of the Audi urbansphere concept¹.

Learn more

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

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