The Audi Activesphere is the last in a series of concepts from the automaker that preview the company’s vision of future mobility. The automaker calls it “A luxury coupe that turns into a pickup.” Like its predecessors, the Activesphere is packed with technology and ideas that are likely years away from fruition, but it highlights what could be possible in tomorrow’s high-tech vehicles.
The Activesphere’s attractive design combines the styling of Audi’s Sportback and Allroad models into a versatile SUV-like EV. The concept features Audi’s air suspension with adaptive dampers, capable of increasing the car’s base ground clearance of 8.1 inches (208 millimeters) by 1.57 inches (40 mm). This coincides with a design feature on the exterior where vertical studs and metal strips deploy to help visualize the added height.
Gallery: Audi Activesphere Concept
The 22-inch wheels are massive but also functional. When the vehicle is in off-road mode, flaps in the wheels open for optimum ventilation, and they close during on-road driving to maximize aerodynamics. Glass makes up a considerable portion of the vehicle. The concept features a glass roof, glass in the lower doors, and a glass grille that gives passengers an unobstructed view of the outside through the frunk.
The rear glass window is also functional, capable of moving flush with the roof to create a cargo bed that’s capable of carrying e-bikes. A portion of the rear fascia lowers to create the tailgate, making it even more accessible. A motorized bulkhead deploys when using the cargo bed to separate the interior from the elements.
Inside, the sparse four-seat cabin is designed for passengers. When the car is in autonomous mode, the dashboard, steering wheel, and pedals disappear, but the large sound bar and full-width air vent remain functional. The seats appear to float in the cabin, attached to the center console that features heating and cooling capabilities while lacking your traditional screens and controls.
One of the concept’s key features is the augmented reality headsets available for drivers and passengers. They allow Audi to superimpose virtual content, like vehicle control panels, information displays, and more, on top of the real world and the cabin. This frees up interior space once reserved for screens and controls, with Audi placing the various functions alongside the corresponding hardware inside the glasses. For example, the AC control hovers in front of the air vent while the sound and entertainment panel floats over the speaker.
The user can view the virtual content and activate it if they focus their eyes on specific information, interacting with it through gestures. The system brings the various functions to the user so they can use it comfortably regardless of their seating position. The system can also deliver tailored content to each passenger, giving the driver important vehicle information while passengers select music and other digital features.
Audi built the concept on the Premium Platform Electric architecture it jointly developed with Porsche. It underpins various vehicles and allows the Activesphere to have around 100 kilowatts of energy in its battery pack. A dual-motor powertrain setup provides the concept with 242 horsepower (325 kilowatts), 531 pound-feet (720 Newton-meters) of torque, and all-wheel drive.