Audi Activesphere Concept Is A Sleek Coupe-Crossover That Transforms Into A Pickup


Audi has been quite active in the concept game recently, communicating its vision about the design and technologies of future EVs. The fourth and probably most peculiar example of Audi’s sphere family of concepts is the Activesphere, combining a coupe-style silhouette with generous ground clearance, off-road tires, and the ability to transform into a pickup. It also comes equipped with mixed reality glasses for the driver and all passengers, allowing them to use the futuristic Audi dimensions system.

A Sleek Coupe-Crossover With Rugged Features

Following the Skysphere two-door grand tourer, the Grandsphere flagship sedan, and the Urbansphere minivan, Audi designers gave the Activesphere a raised four-door coupe stance. In our eyes, it is the EV equivalent of a future A5 Sportback with the Allroad treatment. The aerodynamic, almost single-volume silhouette is unconventionally mated to a set of 22-inch wheels shod in grippy tires (285/55R22), while the slim and muscular bodywork features plenty of protective cladding.

Read: Audi Sport Boss Says More RS SUVs Are Coming

The model has large glass surfaces alongside transparent areas on the singleframe grille and above the rocker panels offering a greater view of the surroundings. More importantly, the rear glass slides above the roof, exposing the cargo space and transforming the Activesphere into a pickup. Audi says that the rear bed can carry two e-bikes and other sports equipment, while the roof has an integrated ski carrier. Other high-tech features include the fancy LED lighting units on both ends, the mirror-replacing cameras, and the six-spoke alloy wheels with holes that open and close.

Thanks to the adaptive air suspension, the ground clearance of the Activesphere is variable. The standard height of 208 mm (8.2 inches) which is similar to that of the Q5, can increase to a hefty 248 mm (9.8 inches) in off-road mode, or lower to a car-like figure of 168 mm (6.6 inches) for driving on tarmac, benefiting handling and aerodynamics.

Mixed Reality Tech Cleans-Up The Interior

The interior design of the Activesphere is equally impressive with the exterior in terms of new features. Two large suicide doors and the lack of b-pillars provide easy access to the four-seater cabin. The four individual seats look like lounge chairs with integrated armrests and headrests. There is a yoke-shaped steering wheel and a floating dashboard that is free of any screens, working as a large soundbar and climate vent.

In autonomous driving mode, the entire dashboard structure swivels and completely disappears together with the steering wheel and the pedals, opening up the space ahead of the driver and front passenger and providing a great view of the road ahead through the transparent grille. The center tunnel between the passengers has a transparent cover offering heated or cooled storage for food or drinks.

The coolest tech feature though is stored on the roof of the concept – four individual mixed-reality headsets that look like stylish pairs of glasses. Those provide all occupants access to a new world of possibilities when it comes to human-machine interaction without the need for screens or physical controls. The new system is called Audi dimensions and can be easily and intuitively accessed by simply wearing the headsets.

Each user can access infotainment features by interacting with 3D graphics through touch, gestures, or eye movement. Interestingly, each menu/function is depicted close to the points of interest – the climate controls hoover next to the climate vents, the music menu hoovers next to the speakers, etc. All of the interior surfaces can turn into invisible touchscreens for displaying each user’s content of preference. Furthermore, occupants can continue wearing the headsets outside the vehicle, using their augmented reality functions in the real world.

PPE-based Underpinnings And AWD

As with the previous sphere concepts, the Activesphere is based on the PPE architecture. It has a generous footprint measuring 4.98 m (196 inches) long, 2.07 m (81.5 inches) wide, and 1.60 m (63 inches) tall, with a wheelbase of 2.97 m (116.9 inches). Audi suggests that those figures are nearly identical to the upcoming A6 e-tron production model which will be offered in more conventional sportback and avant bodystyles.

The concept comes fitted with dual electric motors producing a combined 436 hp (325 kW / 442 PS) of power and 720 Nm (531 lb-ft) of torque and bringing AWD capabilities. The 800 Volt battery pack mounted between the axles has a capacity of 100 kWh and offers a driving range of over 600 km (373 miles). More importantly, it supports charging rates of up to 270 kW, meaning it can charge from 5 to 80% in less than 24 minutes from a compatible ultra-fast charger. As for the chassis, it has a five-link setup on both axles combined with adaptive dampers and air suspension.

As is the case with the previous Sphere concepts, the Audi Activesphere isn’t expected to directly evolve into a production vehicle. However, some of its features will most likely find their way into future EVs, hopefully not in the distant future. Audi will unveil its first PPE-based models in 2023, gradually expanding its range before it becomes an EV-only automaker by 2033.


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