The future of cars is electric, we have been told that time and time again, many car builders have already committed to stop building internal combustion engines in the not too distant future, while even supercars and hypercars are going electric, or at least hybrid for the next few years, and while I personally do love the sound of a Lamborghini V12, I know it will be a dying breed within a few years, and despite cars like the Rimac Nevera that is all-electric and would obliterate anything from Sant’Agata or Maranello in an acceleration battle, I’m old-school and would still go for a Raging Bull … but that’s just me I guess.
I do look at cars like the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla S, those are some seriously quick cars that can seat four people, but they just don’t give that same sensation in terms of looks like a Lamborghini Urus (if you really need to seat four or five people) or an Aventador, Bugatti Chiron … and other hypercars … but it seems Audi is evolving into the right direction with their latest Skysphere concept, an all-electric two-seater roadster that looks amazing.
Apart from amazing looks and a futuristic design, the Audi Skysphere comes with something really amazing … to offer the client the option of either a sportscar they drive themselves and a comfortable GT with autonomous driving in one single car, the Audi Skysphere can stretch itself by 250mm … yes, you are reading that correctly, the Skysphere can lengthen her wheelbase at the touch of a button to offer more interior space, complete with body panels that slide on top of each other in the ‘Sport’ setting, only to extend in the ‘Grand Touring’ mode.
If that doesn’t blow your mind, get ready for this one … in the ‘Grand Touring’ autonomous driving mode, both the steering wheel and the pedals disappear … since you don’t need them anyway as the Skysphere drives herself, these items would take up unnecessary space in the cabin, so they are moved into an invisible area to give the passengers the best possible feeling of space while the Audi Skysphere worries about the road ahead and other drivers with multiple sensor systems to safely transport the occupants to their destination … I know about self-driving cars already, but this is another level altogether.
But Audi wants to take this autonomous driving even further, the Skysphere can pick up her passengers completely on her own, keeping track of their individual destinations, and when she dropped off the occupants, the Skysphere will drive herself onto a parking spot and take care of recharging her batteries … all on her own, no more waiting in line at the charging station when someone else has taken your spot and you see the battery level drop in fear.
Since this concept car was conceived and designed at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, we’ll be seeing a public unveiling at the Monterey Car Week later this week, on the legendary fairways of the Pebble Beach golf course to be exact, a really nice anecdote is the fact this Audi Skysphere took inspiration from the Horch 853 roadster, an impressive convertible, that was about 5.20 meters in length that was the definition of modern luxury back in the 1930s, the Horch 853 won the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach in 2009.
But unlike the Horch 5-Liter straight 8-cylinder engine, the Audi Skysphere comes with 465 kilowatts of power and 750Nm of torque from an electric motor to the rear wheels, with an overall weight of 1,800 kg, the acceleration should only take 4 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, this is a luxury, convertible GT, not a supercar, with a battery capacity of 80 kWh the Skysphere should come with a 500 km range.
The Audi Skysphere comes with active suspension to offer different handling characteristics, in comfort or Grand Touring mode, the individual wheels are selectively raised or lowered to compensate for unevenness and undulations in the road surface taking information from the navigation system’s digital predictions and the active chassis’ sophisticated control and actuation systems. Fitted with massive, aerodynamically styled 23-inch alloy wheels with 285/30 tires the Skysphere offers both minimal rolling resistance and a sporty, active driving style with high longitudinal and lateral acceleration.
Seen from the side, the rocker panels seem to protrude into the rear wheel arch, a requirement for the varying wheelbase, being attached to the front end of the car, as it moves, the panel slides to the rear under the fixed door, during this process, the wheelbase is reduced from the standard size of an A8 L to the significantly more compact size of the curve-compatible Audi RS 5, a 25 centimetres difference. Also, note the multitude of LED lights both at the front and the rear of this Audi Skysphere change between the Sport and the Grand Touring mode.
Entering the interior is achieved via rear-hinged doors, so-called suicide doors, that unveil a very special Art Deco style design, the comfortable seats look like designer furnishings, upholstered in sustainably produced microfiber fabric, and offer legroom usually only found in first-class airplane seating, other items in the interior are made from environmentally certified eucalyptus wood and synthetically produced imitation leather.