Audi’s latest concept car, the Activesphere, is a futuristic electric vehicle that can transform from a sporty, autonomous long-range cruiser to a rugged off-road pickup in seconds. With its mighty morphing body, the Activesphere is the fourth in a series of concepts that Audi has named “Sphere-themed,” each one designed to adapt to the needs of the occupants.
The Activesphere is a sleek four-door sportback with a coupe-like roofline and an elevated ride height inspired by Audi’s Allroad series of lifted wagons. Measuring 196 inches long by 81.5 inches wide with a longish 117-inch wheelbase, the new concept’s footprint is roughly similar to that of the A6 E-Tron concept, but, with an overall height of 63 inches, it’s notably taller.
The Activesphere can raise its chassis by 1.6 inches in seconds, increasing its 8.2-inch ride height to 9.8 inches for enhanced off-road performance. This isn’t just a simple suspension lift either. The Activesphere’s body also stretches vertically, exposing a more beefy lower sill design and boosting the approach and departure angles of 18.9 and 28.1 degrees, respectively.
The concept rides on large 22-inch wheels with moveable segments that can close to improve aerodynamics for high on-road velocities or open for improved ventilation at low off-road speeds. The sportback hatch is reconfigurable. The rear storage area is able to transform into a small pickup truck bed on demand thanks to a fold-down tailgate, a rear window that slides forward to sit flush with the roof and a midgate divider that flips up to separate the cabin from the bed.
The Activesphere’s cabin is minimalist with four, independently suspended seats and a wrap-around dashboard that integrates a powerful soundbar, but is almost completely devoid of screens. There’s only a small, single-line display that shows speed and battery charge. The only physical controls are a pair of small knobs that seem to double as door handles. Audi was able to get rid of the physical screens because the Activesphere uses virtual displays that you view through mixed reality glasses and hand-tracked gesture controls.
The Activesphere is based on a modified version of the Premium Platform Electric electric vehicle architecture that Audi shares with Porsche. Dual electric motors, one for the front axle and one for the rear, make up the concept’s independent Quattro electric all-wheel drive system, cranking out 409 horsepower (305 kilowatts) and 531 pound-feet of torque combined. With a large 100 kWh battery pack to draw from, the Audi estimates around 373 miles of range for the concept. Charging should also be quick thanks to the 800-volt architecture’s ability to gobble up a DC fast charge at 270 kW.