German auto maker Audi has released details of its latest concept car, an all-electric, two-door convertible called the Audi skysphere. Designed at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, California, the vehicle draws inspiration from the company’s own Horch 853 roadster, a 1930s luxury convertible.
The skysphere concept was created to give passengers a sense of freedom, with two different driving modes, consisting of a grand touring (GT) and a sports option. Electric motors and mechanisms fitted into the skysphere’s body and frame enable the wheelbase to be extended by 250mm, while the ground clearance is adjusted by 10mm to enhance passenger comfort.
Entering the interior through wide-opening and rear-hinged doors, in GT mode the vehicle measures 5.19m and to provide occupants with maximum legroom, the steering wheel and pedals move to an unseen area of the cabin. With these controls removed, all passengers benefit from extra room and can further enjoy the interior space via internet connected and digital services.
Social media, movie streaming or video conferences can all be displayed on large, touch monitor surfaces measuring 1,415mm in width and 180mm in height on the dashboard and upper center console. The onboard infotainment system can also be linked to music and video providers used by the vehicle’s occupants at home, while small touch panels in the doors are used to operate the air conditioning.
Autonomous driving technology will then enable the skysphere to use its safety and sensor systems to drive passengers to their chosen location.
With sport mode selected, the interior changes to provide drivers with an ergonomically designed cockpit. The electronic wheelbase shortens to 4.94m, while the instrument and monitor panels on the center console move to the rear, leaving the driver with the steering wheel, pedals and controls in their preferred position.
Taking inspiration from the art deco period, the skysphere’s seats mimic that of designer furnishings, but still provide adequate side support and safety features. The vehicle’s seats are upholstered in sustainably produced microfiber fabric, while other environmentally certified materials like eucalyptus wood and synthetically produced imitation leather adorn other parts of the cabin.
A high-quality sound system provides concert hall audio quality from hidden speakers behind the skysphere’s door panels, while speakers in the rear interior wall create a surround sound experience. With the roof down, passengers can still listen to music or enjoy the outside environment without wind noise or turbulence due to specially shaped headrests.
The Audi skysphere will make its debut on August 13, as part of Monterey Car Week.