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August 11, 2021

The Audi Skysphere Can Transform From Roadster To Grand Tourer With Just A Button Press

Audi has revealed what it thinks is the future of luxury brought upon by electrification, autonomous driving, and a digital ecosystem. The Skysphere (stylized as skysphere) is the first of a new family of concept vehicles. It’s a roadster with one unique feature: a variable wheelbase.

Think of it as two vehicles in one—a grand tourer and a sportscar. The Skysphere uses electric motors, and a sophisticated mechanism with body and frame components that slide into one another making it possible to vary the wheelbase and overall length by 250 mm. At the same time, the vehicle’s ground clearance is adjusted by 10 mm to enhance comfort and driving dynamics.

With the touch of button, the driver can “shrink” the Skysphere to 4.94-meters (Sports mode), while it can be lengthened to 5.19 meters in the Grand Touring mode. In the so-called GT mode, the Skysphere turns into a self-driving car with the steering wheel and pedals disappearing into the dashboard.

According to Audi, its historic Horch 853 roadster served as an inspiration for the Skysphere’s design. However, instead of a 5.0-liter inline-8, this new Audi concept uses an all-electric 465 kw (632 horsepower) powertrain.

Together with 750 Nm of torque and a curb weight of just 1,800 kilograms, Audi says the century mark can be dispatched in just 4 seconds. The battery’s capacity is expected to be more than 80 kWh, giving the car a range of more than 500 kilometers according to the WLTP standard, at least in the economical GT mode.

Variable wheelbase aside, Audi is foregoing all mechanical connections to the front axle. This results in a steer-by-wire system wherein the driver can select not just steering effort, but even steering ratios as well.

After the Skysphere, Audi will reveal two more concept cars—the Grandsphere and the Urbansphere. While these vehicles won’t necessarily see production, certain aspects of it—particularly the way how Audi is trying to create a vehicle experience that goes beyond the purpose of merely spending time in a car to get from point A to point B, will.

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