Initially, Audi wanted to limit itself to three concepts – the Gran Turismo, the flagship sedan and the minivan. But then they noticed that these cars had nothing to do off-road, and they instructed a design studio in Malibu to develop the activesphere concept as well.
Perhaps this is what the flagship Audi allroad will look like one day. The Germans call the activesphere “active sportback” – the car is only slightly longer than the current A6 allroad (4.98 m; wheelbase length – 2.97 m), but noticeably wider (2.07 m) and taller (1.6 m) . However, the overall height of the Activesphere is a relative concept: the air suspension allows you to change the ground clearance in the range from 168 to 248 mm. Both axles have a five-link suspension with adaptive dampers.
The 22-inch wheels are wrapped in grippy 285/55 off-road tires and have sliding sections. Off-road, they are open to provide maximum ventilation, while on the highway they are closed for better aerodynamics.
But the main sliding element is located at the back. An “active sportback” can turn into a pickup truck at the touch of a button: the rear window slides over the roof, and a partition rises behind the backs of the rear riders. In this configuration, Audi activesphere can transport e-bikes and other sports equipment: there are fastening loops on the inside of the lower boot lid. A retractable ski rack is integrated into the roof structure flush.
In a minimalist cabin, there are not only screens, but also touch surfaces visible to the naked eye. On the roof, behind the windshield, there is a storage compartment for augmented reality glasses. The idea is that by putting them on, each of the riders sees his own (we would not be surprised if the designers were inspired by the mirror from Harry Potter). For example, a three-dimensional interactive route map will be spread out in front of the driver, while passengers can use the Internet (if you look at a certain part of the virtual display for a long time, the system will provide extended information) and control, for example, the climate control system using gesture recognition technology.
Glasses work not only in the car. You can go skiing or cycling in them – in this case, augmented reality will help you find the most interesting and scenic route (or, in any case, will not let you get lost).
The activesphere does not have a central rack – this is bad manners for concepts. The PPE (Premium Platform Electric) platform implies Level 4 autopilot, so the front panel, along with the steering wheel and pedals, can be folded down when the electronics take control. However, it will not work to turn the front seats against the move: the central tunnel, which the Germans propose to use as a bar, interferes (drinks can be cooled or heated).
The branded front Singleframe grille is no longer a grille (and certainly not a radiator grille): the designers made it transparent, so that in autopilot mode, the activesphere has two windshields at once. There are also additional windows at the bottom of the doors. Optics, judging by the ultra-thin LED technology mentioned by the Germans, was provided by Hella.
If the interior of the cabin is an attempt to look into the future, then the power plant is the technology of our days. The “active sportback” has two electric motors (on each of the axles) with a combined peak output of 325 kW (442 hp) and 720 Nm, and a lithium-ion traction battery located under the floor with a capacity of about 100 kWh will allow you to drive more than 600 km without recharging (in the WLTP cycle). One of the advantages of the 800-volt architecture is fast charging. The electric car supports DC terminals up to 270 kW, which will allow you to recharge the battery from 5% to 80% in 25 minutes.
Volkswagen already has an 800-volt platform (the Audi e-tron GT and Porsche Taycan use the J1 platform, a derivative of the MSB that powers the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera), but PPE-based cars will become noticeably more affordable. The first model will be the Audi A6 e-tron, which will premiere before the end of 2023.