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Monday, March 20, 2023
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Audi Activesphere concept is part pickup, part sexy GT

Audi has managed to combine elements from a number of vehicle types for the fourth and final member of its series of Sphere concept vehicles.

Unveiled on Thursday, the new Audi Activesphere concept is a crossover with a coupe-like body that integrates a bed and a tailgate at the rear.

The concept is designed for active lifestyles and as such features a high ground clearance and underbody protection to ensure it can handle rough terrain, but also storage solutions like the bed and a roof-mounted ski rack to carry all the essential gear.

Audi Activesphere concept

Take away some of the off-road gear, and the smooth fastback profile of the Activesphere would make for a sexy next-generation A7, which might not be so far-fetched as the Activesphere’s 196-inch length is the same as the current A7’s.

A standout element of the design is a clear glass front section that includes a window in the shape of Audi’s traditional grille. By keeping this section clear, occupants get an unobstructed view through the front trunk and at the road ahead.

The occupants also have headsets that provide an augmented reality experience. The headsets show the real environment to its wearer, while simultaneously overlaying additional information with 3D graphics. The information is configured differently for the driver and occupants, as the driver is primarily given driving-related information. The wearers can also interact with the information shown in the headsets by controlling touch-sensitive areas of the cabin.

Audi Activesphere concept

Audi Activesphere concept

Audi Activesphere concept

Audi Activesphere concept

Audi Activesphere concept

Audi Activesphere concept

The Activesphere joins the previous Grandsphere, Skysphere, and Urbansphere concepts. The others include fastback sedan, sports car, and minivan body styles.

All the concepts are EVs based on Volkswagen Group’s PPE platform that Audi will first use in a new Q6 E-Tron compact crossover due in 2023 or early next year. For the Activesphere, the platform features a 100-kwh battery and charging capability at up to 270 kw. According to Audi, charging from 5-80% will take about 25 minutes.

The Sphere concepts also feature self-driving capability, giving the person behind the wheel the option to drive or to sit back and relax during a journey. In the Activesphere, the dashboard, steering wheel, and pedals all fold away when the car enters self-driving mode.

Audi Activesphere concept

Audi Activesphere concept

The Sphere concepts were developed by Audi’s Artemis skunkworks team that was established in 2020 to help accelerate vehicle development in an attempt to compete with more agile startups in the EV race. The responsibilities for Artemis were scaled back considerably in 2021, but at least one of the vehicles it was developing is expected to reach production around the middle of the decade. The vehicle is expected to be a production version of the Grandsphere, which is rumored to serve as a replacement for the A8, though given the current craze for crossovers, the Activesphere may be the one given the green light.

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