Audi's “sphere” concept cars are a study of vehicles designed for different purposes, but share the same electric drive and autonomous driving.
Following on from the shape-shifting skysphere roadster in 2021, the grandsphere sedan, and the urbansphere minivan, Audi has previewed the final member of the “sphere” family – a four-door crossover that combines the styling of an off-road SUV with the carrying capabilities of a pick-up truck.
Audi calls it the activesphere concept. And as the name suggests, the crossover is designed for those with an active lifestyle and those who venture into the outdoors.
In terms of size, the activesphere concept is close to the dimensions of the production Q8 SUV, and measures 4980 mm long, 2070 mm wide, and 1600 mm high, with a wheelbase of 2970 mm.
The activesphere concept is underpinned by the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture that the upcoming A6 e-tron will have. It is powered by a dual-motor system that has a total system output of 442 PS and 772 Nm of torque. Carrying a 100 kWh battery, the activesphere concept is capable of reaching up to 600 km of range. And thanks to its 800-volt system, the battery supports DC fast charging at up to 270 kW, and can go from 5 to 80% charge in less than 25 minutes.
The crossover's face features a new interpretation of Audi's Singleframe grille, turning it into a transparent window where passengers can see the road in front of the vehicle. In addition, the sportback styling, slim headlamps, thick overriders, frameless doors, and 22-inch wheels complete the look of the activesphere outside.
But once the active back opens up, the activesphere practically turns into a pick-up truck. The split tailgate's lower section folds down while the rear glass slides upward, revealing a small bed that's large enough to fit a pair of mountain bikes. Also, there's a rear motorized bulkhead that keeps the cabin separated from the bed, and a ski rack has been integrated into the roof.
Audi took more unconventional features inside the activesphere concept, and decided to not use large touchscreens. Instead, Audi used augmented reality through a dedicated headset that opens up a visual interface for all four passengers, just like Tony Stark when he puts on the Ironman suit. Like the other “sphere” concepts, the crossover's steering wheel and pedals fold away when autonomous driving is activated.
While its sci-fi interior is unlikely to make it to production anytime soon, the Audi activesphere is essentially the German manufacturer's vision of what they intend to develop in the future.