Don’t we all love cars that can change their dimensions at a touch of a button so that we can park them wherever we want without having to search for a specific spot? While it may sound like a sci-fi movie script, carmakers are actually coming up with concepts that can at least vary their wheelbases for starters. If you remember, Renault showcased the Morphoz concept last year. At this year’s Monterey Car Week, Audi is showcasing the Skysphere concept that can also play dual roles.
You can catch a glimpse of the Skysphere concept on August 13, 2021, on the Pebble Beach golf course. Designed at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, the Skysphere concept is a futuristic iteration of the 5.0L straight-8-cylinder engine-powered Horch 853 roadster of the 1930s. Look carefully at the side profile and you can easily figure out the area where the vehicle extends; the flared rocker panels also move along with the entire front section. There are two modes for dual roles: the Sports mode is where the car is gonna shrink itself measuring 4.94 meters long, and in the autonomous Grand Touring mode, the car stretches up to 5.19 meters long.
The front and the rear of the car are covered with triangular LED elements that can perform animations, as you might have guessed already. And since we’re talking about an all-electric vehicle here, the straight-8 can be replaced with storage spaces that can accommodate two specially designed golf bags. In case you’re wondering, those aerodynamically styled alloy wheels measure 23-inches and are wrapped with 285/30 tires.
And yes, the Skysphere concept has got rear-wheel steering and adaptive three-chamber air suspension too. The air suspension’s individual chambers can be deactivated for a more sporty ride; the body can be lowered by up to 10 mm to further reduce drag.
And, did I mention the doors are rear-hinged? Anyway, once inside, you’ll have displays all around you; there’s even one on the door armrest area to control the climate and media. There are barely any physical controls whatsoever; even the windows are operated via a touch interface on the centre console. Thanks to level 4 autonomous driving capability, the steering wheel and pedals can be moved away for a more relaxed ride.
Moving on to the juicy bits of the story then, an electric motor positioned on the rear axle develops 465 kW (632 metric hp) and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque. The roadster weighs around 1,800 kg (3,968 lbs), which is not exactly lightweight, but fairly so for an EV. Audi claims a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 4 seconds. An 80 kWh battery pack is estimated to offer a WLTP range of over 500 km (310+ mi).