Audi activesphere Concept is Designed for the Road Less Traveled
Audi today unveiled a fourth “sphere” concept aimed at drivers with an active lifestyle. Blessed with electronic quattro AWD, the new Audi activesphere concept follows the introduction of the skysphere roadster in 2021, and both the grandsphere sedan and urbansphere wagon in April 2022, all of which showcased future-oriented technology.
These concepts use a fully electric powertrain and offer Level 4 autonomous driving capability, but the activesphere concept stands out with a modular body. In just a few seconds, the luxurious coupe transforms into a pickup for transporting sports gear and more.
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Dual Motors and Fast Charging
The activesphere concept is built on Audi’s most innovative electric drive system, the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), which was developed in a collaboration with Porsche. It features dual electric motors drawing energy from a 100kWh battery and generating a total of 436 hp and peak torque of 531 lb-ft.
Similar to current Audi EVs, the activesphere concept benefits from 800V charging technology, but the difference is that it can be charged with up to 270 kW in a very short time at fast-charging stations. Just 10 minutes is sufficient time to take enough energy on board to power the car
In terms of size, the activesphere concept is 4.98 metres long, 2.7 metres wide and 1.6 metres tall with a wheelbase of 2.96 metres matching that of the A6 e-tron Concept introduced in Shanghai two years ago.
“The activesphere is unique. It is a new type of crossover that cleverly combines the elegance of an Audi Sportback, the practicality of a SUV and true offroad capabilities,” said Gael Buzyn, head of the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, California.
The concept’s 22-inch wheels are connected to an adaptive suspension resulting in variable ground clearance. The latter can be increased by 40 mm from the basic height of 208 mm, or lowered by the same amount when driving on-road. In the rear, the transparent window slides are almost flush with the roof. At the same time, the lower, vertical segment of the rear folds horizontally, opening up an ample cargo bed (called the “active back”) that features brackets for e-bikes, for example.
“The activesphere concept makes it possible to go anywhere with style as it adapts to the customer’s active lifestyle,” Audi’s chief designer Marc Lichte said.
Lounge-Style Interior With Augmented Reality
The doors of the Audi activesphere concept open in opposite directions and there is no B-pillar, so the entire cabin space opens up to passengers as soon as they get into the car. When driving in autonomous mode, the dashboard, steering wheel and pedals disappear into an invisible position, creating even more space inside.
For the first time, the infotainment system combines physical reality and the digital sphere to create a new world—the so-called “Audi dimensions.” The centerpiece of the system is innovative mixed reality headsets.
Essentially, all driver-relevant information such as driving status and navigation can be displayed. And in the interior, headset users can see control panels and other virtual displays in a tidy, minimalist design that remains hidden to the unaided eye.
To be clear, Audi has no intention to produce these headsets, but it might incorporate some that would be supplied by Apple, Google or Microsoft into the vehicle’s electronic ecosystem. Content becomes an active and interactive element as soon as the user is focused and engages with gestures—no physical controls required.
Ultimately, the activesphere concept is yet another effort by Audi to show us how it envisions future design and technology. Some of what you see here will eventually land in production models. The grandsphere concept that debuted in Munich in September 2021 is arguably the closest to hitting the road, possibly as an electric replacement for the conventionally powered A8 full-size sedan.