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Audi skysphere concept¹: Executive-class roadster with a twin personality

The electric Audi skysphere concept¹ shows that the cars of the future will become a platform for captivating experiences, giving the driver the freedom to choose between two different driving options: a cosy first-class lounge or an agile sports car.

09/07/2021 Text: AUDI AG; Foto: AUDI AG Reading Time: 6 min

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

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

Side view of the Audi skysphere concept¹
The Audi skysphere concept¹, here in the 5.19-meter “Grand Touring” mode (just 11 centimeters shorter than the Audi A8L²), is an electric executive-class roadster offering a contemporary, progressive luxury experience.

¹The vehicle shown here is a concept car that is not available as a production model.
²Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km: 10.8–6.5; CO₂ emissions combined in g/km: 248–171. Fuel consumption and CO₂ emission figures given in ranges depend on the tyre/wheel set used.

¹The vehicle shown here is a concept car that is not available as a production model.
²Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km: 10.8–6.5; CO₂ emissions combined in g/km: 248–171. Fuel consumption and CO₂ emission figures given in ranges depend on the tyre/wheel set used.

Audi presents the Audi skysphere concept¹, the first of three concept cars that redefine progressive luxury. The vision is to offer occupants a fascinating high-end experience that goes far beyond the practical reasons for being in a car. The interior becomes an interactive space, making the vehicle what Audi likes to call an “experience device”. All this is made possible by autonomous driving¹, a revolutionary interior redesign and a 360-degree digital ecosystem. In addition, the design of the electrically powered, open two-door Audi skysphere¹ is simply breathtaking.

Variable wheelbase for dual driving experiences

The Audi skysphere concept¹ completely redefines freedom of choice when it comes to driving. It was designed to combine two different driving experiences in one vehicle: a grand touring experience and a sports experience. This is made possible thanks to a spectacular technical feature: the variable wheelbase. Electric motors and a sophisticated mechanism with interlocking body and frame components allow both the wheelbase and the exterior length to be varied by 250 millimeters. At the same time, ground clearance can be varied by 10 millimeters.

 

The 4.94-meter “Sports” mode configuration delivers an agile electric roadster for drivers to steer themselves. Here, the focus is on the vehicle dynamics. Like the steering wheel and pedals, all the controls on the dashboard and monitor panel in the centre console are ideally positioned for each driver in the ergonomically perfect cockpit.

If occupants prefer the comfortable, autonomous “Grand Touring” mode, the Audi skysphere concept¹ extends to a length of 5.19 meters and the steering wheel and pedals disappear from view. While the Audi skysphere¹ uses its sensor system to automatically monitor the road and traffic, occupants enjoy not only a sense of space that explores new dimensions in a sporty cabriolet but also services delivered by a seamlessly integrated digital ecosystem.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The autonomous driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for production vehicles and only work within system limits. All potential uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regulations in the relevant country.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle. The autonomous driving functions shown are technologies currently under development, are not available for production vehicles and only work within system limits. All potential uses of the technical systems and functions shown represent only a possible concept and are dependent on the respective legal regulations in the relevant country.

Audi skysphere roadster with closed roof viewed diagonally from behind
When in 4.94-meter “Sports” mode (just 16 centimeters longer than the Audi RS 5 Sportback²), the Audi skysphere¹ is an agile sports car.

¹The vehicle shown here is a concept car that is not available as a production model.
²Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km: 8.8–8.7; CO₂ emissions combined in g/km: 200. Fuel consumption and CO₂ emission figures given in ranges depend on the tyre/wheel set used.

¹The vehicle shown here is a concept car that is not available as a production model.
²Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km: 8.8–8.7; CO₂ emissions combined in g/km: 200. Fuel consumption and CO₂ emission figures given in ranges depend on the tyre/wheel set used.

Twenty-five centimeters of variable wheelbase transform the “Sports” experience into a “Grand Touring” experience.

Executive-class interior becomes an interactive space

The Audi skysphere concept¹ is designed in such a way that the passenger compartment becomes a hub where what occupants experience no longer comes second to the demands of technology. Instead, the interior becomes an interactive space. The Audi skysphere¹ is designed for autonomous driving¹, which means that, in defined road and traffic situations, the driver can delegate full responsibility to the car and no longer has to intervene.

 

With all the controls out of sight in “Grand Touring” mode, the car’s interior is a light, open space with a design that redefines contemporary luxury. The comfortable seats boast the visual elegance of designer furnishings yet uncompromisingly meet the functions of a car seat in driving mode – lateral support and safety features are part of the package. Thanks to their variable positioning in the passenger compartment, they offer generous freedom of movement and legroom.

 

“Grand Touring” mode lets occupants enjoy the freedom of choice that comes with autonomous driving¹: They can relax in the open air; enjoy the scenery and the wind in their hair, or infotainment offerings. Large touch-screen monitors on the dashboard and in the upper area of the centre console are used to operate the vehicle and infotainment systems. This makes it possible to display content from the Internet, video conferences or streamed movies.

 

The Audi skysphere concept¹ is connected to a digital ecosystem that provides the vehicle’s occupants with a broad range of service offerings not limited to any specific journey. With select offerings customised to passengers’ personal tastes, such as gallery openings, digital boutique visits or dinner reservations, the digital service offers additional experiences en route.

¹The 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 production 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 regulations in the relevant country.

¹The 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 production 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 regulations in the relevant country.

Audi skysphere roadster viewed diagonally from above
The battery modules in the fully electric Audi skysphere¹ are primarily positioned behind the cabin. This is ideal for ensuring the agility of a sports car.

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

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

The interior becomes an interactive space, making the vehicle what Audi likes to call an “experience device”.

Dynamic design points the way to the future

Even in “Grand Touring” mode, when it is 5.19 meters long and 2.00 meters wide, the Audi skysphere concept¹ ducks down to the road at 1.23 meters flat, with an optimised centre of gravity and aerodynamics. With the Four Rings’ signature curved and flared wheel arches, the design accentuates the wide wheelbase. Viewed from the side, the car reveals its impressive proportions that feature a long hood and short overhangs as well as the broad side sill that appears to extend into the rear wheel arch. The doors are hinged at the rear and open wide.

 

The front is shaped by the brand’s typical Singleframe and the eye-catching design of the illuminated Four Rings emblem. Daytime running lights in the side front sections lend the lighting units a look that is both resolute and focused. The entire Singleframe and adjacent side surfaces are equipped with white LED elements, which give the Audi skysphere concept¹ its characteristic light signature. Optimised in the wind tunnel, the rear end with its classic streamlining fuses speedster elements with generous glass surfaces. The design of the rear end also features a digitally controlled LED surface across the vehicle’s entire width for dynamic lighting effects when the lighting units are switched on and off.

 

When the wheelbase of the Audi skysphere concept¹ is changed, the LEDs at the front and rear of the vehicle display a specially composed dynamic light sequence. The “Grand Touring” and “Sports” modes each have a distinct light signature, especially in the Singleframe area. This is how the Audi skysphere concept¹ sends a clear message to the outside world: I am two personalities offering two unique experiences—a Gran Turismo and a top-class athlete.

¹The 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 production 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 regulations in the relevant country.

¹The 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 production 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 regulations in the relevant country.

Audi skysphere concept viewed from the front
The entire Singleframe and side front section are equipped with white LED elements, which give the Audi skysphere concept¹ its characteristic light signature.

¹The vehicle shown here is a concept car that is not available as a production model.
Professional driver, closed course. Do not attempt.

¹The vehicle shown here is a concept car that is not available as a production model.
Professional driver, closed course. Do not attempt.

Shaping the future

Shaping the future

In an interview, Gael Buzyn, Senior Director of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California, explains the new approach Audi chose in designing the Audi skysphere concept¹.

To the interview

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

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

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