Concept cars are hugely important when it comes to shaping a brand
Helping to generate interest in upcoming models, while often being hugely influential to the design and technology of eventual production cars.
In recent years, Audi has been particularly bold with its concept cars. Called ‘Sphere’ models, each has a different theme, and will help to define a particular aspect of a model – some being closer to production than others.
Three have already been revealed: the Skysphere, Grandsphere and Urbansphere, while a fourth called the Activesphere is in the pipeline. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Audi Skysphere concept (2021)
The Skysphere is arguably the most important of all these concepts, as it was the first model to be shown as part of the family. It’s arguably the most dramatic of all of them, and a spectacular roadster that could hint at a future convertible GT car for the firm.
Also previewing the future design direction of Audi’s luxury models, the Skysphere boasts full self-driving capability. But at the press of the button, the steering wheel and pedals emerge from recesses, allowing the driver to have full control of the vehicle once again.
A particular trick up the Skysphere’s sleeve is the fact that it has an extendable wheelbase, which can lengthen or shorten the body, depending on whether a sporty or more luxurious, comfort-focused experience is required. A powerful 614bhp rear motor also allows for a 0-60mph time of four seconds, while an 80kWh battery is good for a claimed 310 miles.
Audi Grandsphere concept (2021)
Presented at last year’s Munich motor show (called IAA Mobility), the Grandsphere concept is the closest of these models to an eventual production car, teasing a future Audi A7 and A8 in the luxury segment.
Described by Audi as a ‘private jet for the road’, the 5.35m-long model offers advanced Level 4 fully-automated driving and a particularly luxurious interior. Like the Skysphere, however, those wanting to be in charge of the car themselves can still have full control by changing the driving mode.
Like the Skysphere, it features a ‘ready to go’ powertrain, and is even underpinned by the same PPE platform as Audi’s e-tron GT. Twin electric motors combine to produce 700bhp, while a large 120kWh battery is said to be good for a range of 466 miles.
Audi Urbansphere concept (2022)
Designed for metropolitan cities, Audi says the Urbansphere was created from the inside out. Penned first and foremost for use in ‘traffic-dense Chinese megacities’, this large model is more like an MPV than the SUVs we’ve been accustomed to in recent years.
Said to offer the most interior space of any Audi to date, it aims to allow occupants to relax and escape the hustle and bustle that might be happening around them outside, with Chinese customers having their say when the model was being designed.
Longer than an Audi A8 in terms of size, it even gets swivelling seats to aid easier access to and from the car.
Audi Activesphere concept (2023)
The fourth model in the Audi ‘Sphere’ series is one we haven’t yet seen in full, with the brand only teasing the car to date ahead of an expected 2023 reveal. Previewing an off-road ‘lifestyle concept’, it shows a rugged model that could point towards how the brand’s SUVs might look in the future.
More will be known about the Activesphere in the coming months…