Audi has released a “Transformer”: The front of the car is retractable and the steering wheel can be hidden. This is the future of e-tron?

Audi RS 3, with a wheelbase of 2628mm, a proper A-class sedan.

The 400 horsepower exploded by the 2.5T inline five-cylinder engine is seriously inconsistent with its compact body. Coupled with the easy handling characteristics brought by the short wheelbase, this kind of power is surging, and the feeling of where to hit is fascinating.

▲Audi RS 3

Audi S8L, with a wheelbase of 3128mm, is a standard D-class executive sedan.

The body is dynamic and smooth, and the ride comfort is its biggest feature. The soft suspension can filter out all the fine vibrations for you, and enjoy the space bonus brought by the wheelbase in "Everything is calm."

▲Audi S8L

The different wheelbases create different styles of these two cars. Like Phoebe and Ursula in "Friends", although both are played by Lisa Kudrow, their personalities are completely opposite.

And this time, Audi wants to give you both "fish" and "bear paw".

This is a GT, not a GT

On August 10, Audi released the new concept car Audi Skysphere. This is an electric two-door convertible sports car with slender body and sharp styling.

The height of the car is only 1.23 meters, and the low profile shape and exaggerated wide body make the whole car a "dive" posture. The front one-piece grille is embedded with a luminous diamond pattern and an Audi logo, and the left and right are supplemented by slender but "fierce" headlights, which have outstanding visual effects.

Along the low body to the rear, LED taillights, also covered with diamond patterns, traverse the parking space, echoing the front face.

Above the taillights, you can find that Audi has covered a large area of ​​glass for the rear of the skysphere. But unlike other mid-rear engine sports cars, it is not the engine that lies under the glass, but two travel bags.

The futuristic appearance is just a small plus point for Skysphere. The real highlight is the "fish" and "bear paw" mentioned at the beginning.

Press the mode switch button, as the LED light group flashes and changes, you will find that the whole car is slowly shortening.

During the change, the front half of the car body retracted as a whole, and the side skirts slowly concealed into the rear wheel arches. After the "deformation" was completed, the original trim under the A-pillar disappeared.

At the same time, the interior of the vehicle has also changed.

The first is the pop-up of the accelerator and brake pedals, and the instrument panel and center console slowly move closer to the driver. Finally, the steering wheel slowly rises and unfolds from below.

Skysphere has transformed from a large GT into a luxury sports car.

Yes, skysphere has two modes: GT and Sports. It combines the comfortable experience of GT models with the aggressive attitude of luxury sports cars.

Audi officially stated that the wheelbase of Skysphere has been shortened by 25 cm from the GT mode to the Sports mode. Not only can you see the difference from the appearance, the difference can be reflected in the driving experience.

In Sports mode, the motor on the rear axle can output 632 horsepower, and the acceleration time is 4.0s.

In addition, Audi mentioned that its battery module is mainly located behind the cockpit. About 60% of the vehicle's weight is distributed on the rear axle and supports rear-wheel steering. Therefore, Skysphere will have a good dynamic performance of the body.

If you are tired of driving, you can switch Skysphere back to GT mode with one click.

In GT mode, the body will be restored to its original length, and the steering wheel and pedals will be recovered, pulling your attention from the "driving experience" back to the "riding experience".

In order to give the skysphere the general riding experience of an executive-class car, Audi equipped it with its latest adaptive air suspension.

The suspension has three independent air chambers. Part of the air chambers can be closed when the vehicle is accelerating/decelerating, or when cornering, so as to reduce the pitch or roll of the vehicle and improve the riding experience.

So, who will drive?

According to Audi, the skysphere concept car will support L4 autonomous driving. In GT mode, you can delegate all driving tasks to it.

Who said that the car design center must have a car

At present, we can only see this Audi Skysphere in the official promotional video, but the day after tomorrow, that is, August 13, this concept car will have its first show at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course.

The birthplace of this concept car is Malibu, located in the southeast of Pebble Beach.

Gael Buzyn is the director of the Malibu Audi Design Center, and the Audi skysphere was designed by his team.

In the press conference, Gail said that the skysphere's design was inspired by Audi's classic model Horch 853, which won an award at the 2009 Pebble Beach Elegance Exhibition.

▲ Horch 853

However, Gale's inspiration from this classic model is limited to the size and slender engine compartment. Unlike Horch 853, the front of the skysphere windshield is mainly electric drive components and mechanical components for variable wheelbase.

What's interesting is that it's not just the skysphere that is full of futuristic sense. This Audi Design Center in California is also worth talking about.

Unlike the car design center you imagine, the entire Audi Design Center does not have a single car.

Gale mentioned in the press conference that the entire skysphere concept car design work is done through virtual reality.

All in e-tron

In April of this year, FAW-Volkswagen Audi e-tron was officially launched, and the electrification strategy of "All in e-tron" was also announced at the same time.

The birth of e-tron is not only a vane for the development of the Audi brand, but also a commitment to users from a century-old car company.

In July, Audi announced the "Zero Emission Plan". It plans to stop the development of internal combustion engines before 2025 and stop launching new fuel vehicles after 2026. By 2033, it will stop selling fuel vehicles worldwide except China.

As a brand of Volkswagen, Audi is following Volkswagen towards electrification.

Audi said that in addition to the Skysphere concept car released today, they will also launch the Urbansphere in 2022. Coupled with the previously launched grandsphere, it can be seen that Audi has a different understanding of the driving experience of electric vehicles.

Regarding the electrification of cars, Gale also expressed his views:

New technologies such as electrification, digitalization and autonomous driving have given us unlimited opportunities to create future experiences that are unmatched by ordinary roadsters today.

"All in e-tron" hasn't arrived yet, but it's not far.

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