Audi leaped out of the box of traditional constraints with their skysphere roadster in 2021; and kept pushing the boundaries with the Audi grandspher sedan and urbansphere space concept in 2022.
This four-door crossover coupe, the Audi activesphere is more than a luxury-class sports car. It’s a grand adventure machine for an adventurous lifestyle.
Standing 4.98 metres long, the highly elegant car has impressive ground clearance, and large 22-inch wheels announcing its off-road talent.
The Sportback rear of the activesphere can turn into an open cargo bed (“active back”) at the touch of a button – perfect for carrying recreational equipment such as e-bikes or water and winter sports gear.
The drive system and suspension make it equally adept on both on and off the road. The steering wheel and pedals allow the driver to actively control the car, while also offering autonomous driving for a more relaxed time on the road.
The concept car was conceived and designed at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu. Studio manager Gael Buzyn describes the idea behind the project: “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.”
With an electric drive and quick-charging technology from Audi’s PPE modular system, the Audi activesphere joins the sphere family of concept vehicles. With no local emissions, a range of over 600 km, and extremely fast charging times thanks to 800-volt technology, it combines the sustainability, dynamics and long-distance capability of state-of-the-art electric vehicles.
Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development: “The sphere concept vehicles show our vision for the premium mobility of the future. We are experiencing a paradigm shift, especially in the interior of our future Audi models. The interior becomes a place where the passengers feel at home and can connect to the world outside at the same time. The most important technical innovation in the Audi activesphere is our adaptation of augmented reality for mobility. Audi dimensions creates the perfect synthesis between the surroundings and digital reality.”
Audi dimensions, combines the physical and virtual worlds (i.e., mixed reality) by displaying digital content in the occupants’ fields of vision in real time.
High-tech headsets provide a view of the real environment and the route, while simultaneously displaying 3D content and interactive elements– individually configurable for drivers and passengers.
This means 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. Mixed reality optics gives users the ability to interact precisely with these real, yet invisible, touch-sensitive zones, as the headsets display and carry out functions by reacting in real time when users touch them.
The four individual seats are suspended like extensions of the high, full-length centre console. Resting on the centre console, the upper end of the seat shell’s inner side is shaped horizontally as an armrest. The designers imagined the seat, back, and shoulder surfaces as three separate, circumferential shells; the visual appearance promises good lateral support.
When the Audi activesphere concept is driving in autonomous mode, the dashboard, steering wheel, and pedals disappear into an invisible position. Especially in the first row of seats, a wide space opens in front of the driver, which extends to the front end of the activesphere – and beyond. For a clear field of vision, the fully glazed Singleframe gives passengers an unobstructed view of the road in front.
The dashboard itself works like a xlarge soundbar as well as a smart, full width airvent in both the deployed and stowed position.
If the driver wants to take over the wheel, the dashboard, along with the steering wheel, swivels out from its flush position below the windshield – each driver can adjust the ideal ergonomic position individually. The touchless controls in the doors are always accessible to the eye and the hand, for example to control windows and seat adjustments.
The Audi activesphere concept is a crosser of boundaries, which means it is a master of metamorphosis. Its rear section in particular reflects the active lifestyle of its customers and makes it possible to transport even bulky sports gear– without sacrificing the elegance and sportiness of the Sportback silhouette.
If required, the transparent rear window slides are almost flush with the roof of the Audi activesphere. At the same time, the lower, vertical segment of the rear folds horizontally – this opens up an ample cargo bed called the active back that features brackets for e-bikes. The lateral surfaces of the rear, the C-pillars, remain in position to maintain the activesphere’s dynamic silhouette, whilst a motorized bulkhead deploys from behind the rear seats in order to isolate the cabin from the elements.
A ski rack is integrated in the centre of the roof structure. Completely flush in nominal position and practically invisibly in the roof arch, it extends if required, so that skis can be safely attached and transported.
And the cool new concepts keep on coming with the designers embedding virtual reality into driving like a sci-fi movie star waves their hand to control the world.
Of course, transitioning imagination to production is an epic undertaking. But we’re loving Audi’s imaginative take on the future of motoring. Bring it on!
About our publisher: Kaz has been writing all her working life from business cases to training manuals. Her passion is to share far more interesting information whether it’s about fast cars, great products or as a published author of technothrillers and fantasy. As a content publisher she dedicates herself to clean content that is pleasing to the eye and entertaining to read.
You can also visit Kaz at www.kaliddiard.com.