The new Audi’s Skysphere is a self-driving roadster that drives itself while passengers relax and can change shape at the touch of a button.
Details of the new Audi’s electric concept car were revealed this week by the German carmaker.
With the touch of a 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.
“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.
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 metres of torque have an easy time with the roadster, which only weighs around 1,800 kilograms. The weight distribution of around 60% on the powered rear axle results in ample traction and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just four seconds, if required.
The Audi skysphere’s battery modules are primarily positioned behind the cabin – an ideal configuration for the vehicle’s centre of gravity and agility. Further modules can be found between the seats in the centre tunnel of the skysphere interior – another position chosen in favour 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.
The front end – although no longer serving as a radiator grill – clearly features the brand’s typical Singleframe and the three-dimensionally designed, illuminated emblem with the four rings. The entire Singleframe and also the adjacent surfaces on the sides are designed with white LED elements to literally act as a stage for visual effects – both functional effects as well as moving welcome sequences when the vehicle is opened and closed.
The rear end is also dominated by a digitally controlled LED surface that extends across the entire width of the vehicle. Countless red LEDs are scattered like rubies across the vertical rear surface. Reflections create dynamic lighting and shadow effects when the lighting units are switched on and off.
There’s no doubt that the Audi skysphere concept has two personalities – a GT and a luxury sports car. The key differences, however, can only be enjoyed in the interior, because here, behind the rear-hinged and wide-opening doors, the Audi skysphere offers highly contrasting experiences.
Large touch monitor surfaces – 1415 mm wide, 180 mm high – on the dashboard and in the upper area of the centre console are used to operate the vehicle and infotainment systems. In Grand Touring mode, this can be used to display content from the Internet, video conferences, or streamed movies. Small touch panels in the doors are used to operate the air conditioning.
The Audi skysphere concept will make its public debut on August 13, 2021, as part of Monterey Car Week – on the legendary fairways of the Pebble Beach golf course.