Dual dimensions; dual driving personality
The Audi Skysphere concept offers two unique driving experiences: first, a grand touring mode with a spacious lounge-style interior, seamless digital integration and level four autonomous driving; second, compact sportscar dimensions that lend themselves to more dynamic and engaging handling.
Thanks to the relative simplicity of an advanced electric powertrain – with no driveshafts, fuel lines or hydraulics to consider, and the ability to use fly-by-wire steering, throttle and brakes – the Audi Skysphere concept can shapeshift by having its body and frame slide over each other. Contracting its wheelbase by 250mm at the A-pillar, it transforms from a luxurious Audi A8L-sized grand tourer to compact Audi RS5-style sportscar dimensions.
The interior of the car also transforms to put the driving controls back in the hands of the driver, while giving them a more commanding and engaging cockpit-style feel. It’s all about choice.
Henrik Wenders: “For Audi, progress isn’t either/or. Progress is both. The future of the automobile is about choice. Technology lets us create unique experiences.”
Gael Buzyn: “The most exciting thing about the Audi Skysphere concept is that it was always designed to have two distinct personalities – to be two cars in one. How do you merge a grand touring car with a long wheelbase and an autonomous mode, and a true sports car with a short wheelbase that is all about the thrill of driving into one vehicle, without compromising either experience? I mean, what a challenge.”
Hildegard Wortmann: “The digital world opens up so many possibilities, such as automated driving, which lets us give passengers the ultimate luxury – the freedom to choose. To relax or drive; to work or play; or stay in touch with friends.”
Gael Buzyn: “We had to find a way to make that extremely elegant comfortable car become this driving machine, and this involved a change of geometry. We soon arrived at the conclusion that we needed a variable wheelbase – offering ultimate comfort, as well as elegance and beauty. Then the car transforms, and you get a short wheelbase with all the agility and control you would expect from a sportscar. It lets us offer the best of both worlds.