Audi is just that come out with a rather wild EV concept: a Roadster convertible that widens the wheelbase and turns into a grand tourer (GT). At the touch of a button, the entire front of the Audi Skysphere can lengthen or retract 9.8 inches (and fall 0.4 inches).
Skysphere aims to showcase Audi’s design moves as well as their technical strength. The inspiration was taken by the company 1931 Horch 853, a long, low roadster with the cab pushed back and rear-wheel drive. The modern concept retains those basic features, with spikes, a long snout and a low, relaxed cockpit, giving it a slight resemblance to rear-wheel-drive GTs like the Ferrari 812 Superfast.
Instead of the flat engine 8 on the Horch, the concept car has a 623-horsepower electric motor and an 80 kWh battery, with much of it behind the rear bulkhead. This makes the rear weight bias similar to the Porsche 911 from 60-40, meaning it would be easy to get the Skysphere sideways if it was ever made. It also delivers 553 meters of kilograms of torque, which is enough to reach 60 MPH in about 4 seconds. At the same time, it will cross about 310 miles per Euro WLPT cycle, or less in terms of EPA.
The interior is designed to evoke Art Deco architecture from the 1930s (corresponding to the Horch period), with modern electronic amenities. It has a full dashboard screen like that Honda E, along with large touch screens at armrest locations. The minimalist interior with a sharp angle is designed for autonomous level 4 operation, so you can relax in GT mode and take control when you want to have fun with the roadster.
The most unique (though perhaps very unrealistic) feature of Skysphere is the variable wheelbase (above). The electric motors drive a telescopic structure that guides them from a grand touring EV with a long wheelbase to a significantly shorter and lower roadster. It also uses active aerodynamics which is closed in GT mode and open in the form of a roadster. When activated, they would vent the air under the car for extra thrust.
The interior also changes, pushing the steering wheel and pedals forward and the front passenger seat back in roadster mode, while the dash moves forward to make the instrument panel more driver-oriented. Despite the sporty nature of the EV, it has space for custom luggage and two sets of golf clubs.
All in all, the Skysphere concept is a fun EV experience that could be two cars at once, and it also offers fun for the driver and some autonomy if you want to relax. Don’t expect to see it on the road near you, but some of the ideas may one day come to Audi’s electric car. The carmaker has also announced that it will introduce two more concepts in the coming months, Grandsphere and Urbansphere.
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