Audi’s “family” of Sphere dubbed vehicles is adding another member and it appears to be quite a handful.
The German premium auto brand offered a tease of its newest concept car, the activesphere. The new crossover-style coupe is set to make its debut Jan. 26 during the “Celebration of Progress.” It’s the fourth member of the group following the urbansphere, grandsphere and skysphere.
“The Audi activesphere concept provides ultimate freedom and is the perfect companion for ambitious outdoor adventures,” Audi notes in the teaser.
“Whether it’s water sports, skiing, golfing or challenging mountain roads — the activesphere concept offers ultimate variability for all activities While the concept car combines extraordinary elegance with outstanding off-road performance, its communication technology creates a unique experience — beyond the car itself.”
TheDetroitBureau.com took some time to tinker with the photo in order to get a better look at the top-down photo Audi provided and it’s clear the activesphere is aimed at, well, active people. It concept shows two sets of skis sitting atop a glass panoramic roof with red interior lighting the cabin.
It looks to have room for at least four adults inside the four-door crossover. The modern sleek look is accented by door handles recessed into the body of the vehicle. It’s also a little thinner in the middle, giving it wide shoulders and haunches, probably contributing an athletic and powerful overall look. It’s definitely a departure from the rest of the “spheres.”
A family of concepts
The four members of the Sphere family — skysphere, grandsphere, urbansphere and activesphere — present Audi’s vision for the premium mobility of tomorrow. The concept vehicles are united not only by a fascinating design, but also by the electric drive and the design for the possibility of automated driving.
The urbansphere was the most recent offering. Aimed at the Chinese market and its traffic-dense urban environs, it rides on Volkswagen Group’s Premium Platform Electric platform. The urbansphere’s cabin is the largest Audi has ever made. It boasts a 133.9-inch wheelbase and measures 217-inch long, 79 inches wide and 70 inches tall. Those generous proportions pay big dividends inside.
Being a luxury vehicle Audi fitted just two rows of seats offering space for four. The seats swivel, so passengers can face each other while talking. A privacy screen is mounted behind the headrest to conceal a passenger’s head for those who want a little privacy.
Each seat also has speakers mounted in the headrest for viewing the monitors placed in the back of the front seats. Rear seat passengers can also access the cinema screen, a cabin-wide transparent screen that folds down from the ceiling.
When it comes time to travel, two electric motors provide 395 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels.
Power comes from a 120kWh battery pack, which offers 466 miles of range. It recharges using 800-volt technology, so it can be charged from 5% to 80% in less than 25 minutes, according to Audi.
The second of the concepts, Audi described the grandsphere as a “private jet for the road.” The grandsphere measures 17.6 feet, nose-to-tail, and vaguely resembles a stretched version of Audi’s current A7 line.
The technology built into the “lounge on wheels” falls roughly into three distinct categories. To start with, the show vehicle uses an all-electric drivetrain pairing twin motors — one on each axle — to produce 711 horsepower and 686 pound-feet of torque. According to Audi, that would permit a launch from 0-100 kmh, or 62 mph, in about 4.2 seconds.
Range is 750 kilometers, or 466 miles, using a 120 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The system operates at 800 volts and can draw up to 270 kW from a Level 3 quick charger, letting it go from a 5 to 80% state-of-charge in just 25 minutes. In 10 minutes, it would yield another 300 km, or about 186 miles.
The gransphere, meanwhile, features Level 4 autonomy. That’s not quite go-anywhere, anytime capability but could allow a driver to effectively hand off control on most roads and under most weather conditions.
Where is started: skysphere
The skysphere concept aims to take the idea of a “convertible” to new extremes.
The long, low roadster’s roof can retract, but that’s just the start. It can even change its wheelbase at the touch of a button. And, when you get tired of putting the skysphere through its paces, the steering wheel and pedals tuck away, transforming the cabin into a luxurious lounge on wheels.
In the case of skysphere, the show car retains classic roadster proportions, Audi officials saying they were strongly influenced by the Horch 835, one of the most celebrated German luxury vehicles of the 1930s. Horch was one of the four brands that eventually became Audi.
Like any good roadster, the two-door’s roof retracts. But here’s where Audi engineers pulled off a neat bit of magic. As a roadster, skysphere measures about 194 inches in length. And, with its low-mounted two-part battery pack and motors, it should be capable of scooting nimbly around corners.
The show car uses a single electric motor that punches out 623 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque through the rear wheels. Audi claims that will launch the roughly 4,000 pound skysphere from 0-60 in just 4 seconds.
But when you’ve had your fun and now want to go for a comfortable cruise, skysphere transforms into a mobile lounge. The wheelbase stretches by nearly a foot, to 204 inches, nose-to-tail, as body and frame components pull apart. At the same time, the traditional driver controls vanish, the prototype now operating at Level 4 autonomy. That means it can go anywhere, anytime, without ever needing a driver’s intervention.
One response to “Audi Teases Latest Member of Its “Sphere” Family”
Oh how I would love to be able to own a skysphere! Wow!