Two wheelbase lengths, one for driving, one for being driven
Autonomous concept changes gap between GT and sports car
Audi has revealed the Skysphere concept. It’s one of the most elegant models we’ve ever seen from the automaker, but it’s also a sign. That even Audi thinks that the future of driving will be less about driving and more about the entire experience.
The Audi Skysphere is designed to offer two different experiences, Audi says. One a grand touring experience, the other a “sports” one. To offer these two very different experiences, Audi has given the car a variable wheelbase. The whole thing can shrink 250mm thanks to electric motors and sliding frame components, and the adaptive suspension changes the ride height and rest of the dynamics for comfort or driving.
The long mode is intended to be autonomous, with the driver handling wheel duties with the short wheelbase. The longer GT mode hides the pedals and wheel and really takes advantage of the extra space, while the open top lets the driver turned rider fully experience the world around them.
A new digital ecosystem encourages autonomous drivers to share their experience through social media, because we need more of that. More usefully, punch in your destination and the concept lets you know helpful information about your destination. It will also park and charge itself.
The adjustable wheelbase Skysphere is a rear-drive car, odd for an Audi which has recently been focused around quattro all-wheel drive. A 465 kW (624 hp) motor drives the back tires with an 80 kWh battery promising a 500 km WLTP range. The chassis also features rear-wheel steering as well as adaptive air suspension.
Audi says two more sphere cars, the Grandsphere and Urbanshpere are coming, all working toward providing new luxury experiences. The styling is also new for Audi, but it recalls the very old, with the Skysphere evoking the vintage Horch 853 roadster of the 1930s, as well as other similar-era Auto Union cars.