The New Shape-Shifting Skysphere Concept By Audi Can Expand At The Push Of A Button

A shifting roof of the vehicle is a common sight. You can see the hoods going in and out over vehicles around the world, but a completely retractable vehicle maybe something totally new. Audi has ventured into this domain with its spectacular Skysphere concept. The electric roadster shifts from being an open-air autonomous grand touring and hard-nosed, hand-on-wheel sports driving by adjusting in length and wheelbase, from the full stretch of an A8 to a shorter, sportier version. Apart from making the onlookers gasp at the sight, the future customers of Audi will get two vehicles for the price of one.

When the Skysphere was brought on view for the first time, it looked peculiar. The first thought that came to mind was why Audi would invest in an all-electric roadster that is so long. Well, it turns out that it would not be the case at all times. Audi has set aside all excuses which could possibly be there and have invested in a real transformer. The lack of engine and driveshaft, along with steer-by-wire, to permanently increase interior size was not cited as an excuse.

The body is in contrasting colours over which the Skysphere’s front hood and fender assemblies are nestled. Electric motors will play a pivotal role in the shapeshifting feature of the vehicle. With all shapeshifting in process, the car’s length will be adjusted up to 250 mm, i.e. 9.8 inches.

The vehicle will shift between autonomous shuttling and active driving. The extended 204-in (519-cm) grand touring configuration complements autonomous mode, and not only does the cabin grow along with the wheelbase, but interior space is also freed via the retracting steering wheel, pedals and controls. The passengers will get ever more leg space and more control over the digital dashboard. Its roof also comes with a surprise. The roof is totally detachable in both modes.

Because it is a modern sports car, the sphere cuts away more than half a meter compared to the Horch. As a result, its windshield is hardly above the headrests. When completely expanded, the sky sphere is 1.2 m off the ground.

The public premiere of the vehicle will be on Fri, Aug 13th, during the Monterey Car Week. The Skysphere depends on a 624-hp rear-mounted electric motor with 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque. Audi divides the 80-kWh battery between and behind the seats to offer up to 311 miles (500 km, WLTP) of range during economical GT driving. The car can sprint from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in four seconds in sports mode.

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