Audi is presenting the first concept car of a trilogy that will offer, in addition to the large Skysphere coupe, an SUV and a generously sized sedan. This first exercise in the luxury coupe genre will redefine the concept’s foundations for the years to come.
Inspired by the Horch 853 of the 1930s, the Skysphere reinterprets the Horch’s key words “dynamism” and “comfort” by housing two cars in one. A long wheelbase version for level 4 driving, and a short wheelbase (the front end slides towards the windscreen bay, like on the Renault Morphoz!) for Sport.
When this is done, the dashboard unfolds, the steering wheel appears and the pedals emerge from the floor. Of course, the Skysphere is 100% electric. A very nice concept, studied digitally by the advanced design studio (Audi Design Loft) located in the USA in Malibu and directed by the Frenchman Gael Buzyn (below).
As you can read in September in the quarterly LIGNES/auto#05 (available around 20 September on https://lignesautoeditions.fr), according to Alexandre Malval (director of the Mercedes advanced design centre in Sophia Antipolis), 100% digital design does not really exist. Alexandre explains that “at Mercedes we believe in combining the two approaches (digital and physical) and we are careful not to adopt a dogmatic position. Each project is different and requires appropriate resources, what counts is responsiveness with the appropriate tools.” Bingo, this seems to be the same at Audi since, however digital it may be, the Skysphere study still went through the physical model stage, below. Well, if it isn’t the Grandsphere on the left.
Anyway, let’s keep it short, as the videos of the presentation of this concept car can be seen on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lignesauto) and let’s tackle a topic that nobody has yet approached: is this Audi revolutionary? No, if you remember the Mercedes-Maybach Vision-6, Renault Coupé C and Renault TreZor concept cars below.
And with these three, it’s all about luggage, and the intelligent way in which it is carried on board. Because with the new platforms dedicated to 100% electric vehicles, a whole range of innovations is opening up for designers and architects: modular wheelbase and new storage spaces. Have you packed your bags? Then follow us!
Rummaging through the luggage compartments, it soon becomes apparent that the Audi concept, like its three competitors, interprets the same themes, if not the same architecture. At the front of the Skysphere, the two hinged bonnet elements extend into two slots to accommodate beautifully designed golf bags.
On the Maybach, equally aesthetic suitcases are fitted under the bonnet, also in two parts. But the Maybach offers other storage spaces alongside the suitcases, as we will see below…
What about Renault’s Coupé -C (for Le Corbusier…) concept? (below) It is rather inspired by the large trunks that Gabriel Voisin (a friend of Le Corbusier) put on the running boards of his Avions Voisin in the 1920s. Thus, the storage space is located deep in the long front wings!
On the 2016 Renault TreZor, it is a third architecture that we discover with two places for suitcases located above the legs of the two occupants! The luggage dedicated to these compartments is located in the dashboard body, below.
As the Renault TreZor has a canopy that tilts from the rear to the front, it’s easy to access your luggage from the top. You didn’t think that designers would go to such lengths to accommodate your luggage! You’ll never look at them the same way again (the designers, not your bags!)
In the Audi Skysphere, there are two dashboard layouts, depending on whether the dashboard is extended or not. Below, we see it in its “sport” configuration with the short wheelbase.
In the “lounge and autonomous” version below, we discover in the extended console a receptacle for a bottle of champagne and two glasses! The Audi is now a Rolls Royce Boat Tail!
The Maybach also thinks of refreshing the happy passengers of the Vison-6 with, in the back, a small fridge with TWO bottles and, in the front, in addition to the two huge suitcases, everything needed for a picnic: cutlery, dishes and even an umbrella…
And Renault? The designers have not planned any champagne in any case. On the other hand, the Coupé-C has the exclusive right to the title of leader since it appeared well before its three rivals (below)
Finally, the Audi concept is magnificent (we love it, yes…), validates the digital design between two studios separated by an ocean (thanks to the virtual reality system with collaborative mode) and confirms that the electric architectures will revolutionize those of our future cars.
BUT, because there is a but: it stretches out like a 2019 Renault Morphoz, stores its luggage like the Maybach or the TreZor, changes its universe between its driving or piloting delegation mode, like the Peugeot Instinct, plagiarises the design of the stern of the Renault TreZor concept car and opens its doors like those of a Rolls… No doubt its two brothers (Grandsphere and Urbansphere) which will accompany it by next year will be less dreamy, but will bring more concrete innovations.