Audi Activesphere Concept is an AR-Powered Off-Roader with a Truck Bed
Audi is upping the ante when it comes to desirable concepts and its latest one might be the coolest of them all. Boasting the rugged charm of a ute with the functionality of an all-purpose built off-roader, the Audi Activesphere Concept promises a little something for everyone.
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The new concept, the fourth in the series, is a four-door crossover coupe with a pick-up bed neatly tucked away at the back. The swoopy SUV coupe proportions are blended with sci-fi design details, masking the remarkably long body which stands at 4.98 metres long and 2.07 metres wide. The off-roader pretensions are perhaps best-evident with the large 22-inch wheels and 285/55 all-weather tires, while the ground clearance can even be raised from 208mm to 248mm.
Design-wise, there is a lot going on here. The new Activesphere Concept car uses a lot of transparent glass surfacing all over, from the single-frame grille to the lower door area. Even the curved tailgate has this rather interesting design trend. Elsewhere, there are chunky wheel arches, slim LEDs, and a gaping mouth with the absence of hard surfacing giving the design a sportier appearance rather than a typical boxy off-roader.
The biggest talking point of the Activesphere Concept, however, must be the pick-up bed. According to Audi, at the touch of a button, the transparent rear window will fold horizontally to reveal a spacious cargo bed. Dubbed ‘Active Back’, the cargo bed can take two e-bikes with brackets in place for them while there is even a ski rack integrated at the centre of the roof.
The AR focused cabin interior, while impressive, does point towards a future where one must endlessly stare at several screens or finger-jab their way around. There is a distinct lounge-like ambience, courtesy of the wide open doors with no B-pillar with MMI touchless controls on the doors along with four individual seats. It does not get a traditional console as instead everything is controlled by augmented reality along with four headsets present in the car.
The controls, displays and virtual content are customisable with content active as and when the user focuses on it or uses gestures. Forget traditional navigation as instead in off-road mode, for example, high-resolution 3D topography graphics can be projected onto the real landscape and information on navigation and the destination can be displayed. Traffic safety information, i.e., alerts for traffic jams or slippery roads, can also be used here.
Better still, the Activesphere passenger can take his or her headset out of the car and onto the ski slope to help navigate the bike trail or to find the ideal descent when skiing downhill.
In terms of performance, there are electric motors at the front and rear axles which deliver a total output of 325 kW and a torque output of 720 Newton metres. The front and rear wheels are connected via a five-link axle. The concept car features adaptive air suspension with adaptive dampers and is all-wheel drive of course. The concept reportedly uses 800-volt charging technology and can deliver a range of more than 600km.
While it remains a concept for now, the new Audi Activesphere does pose a unique and rather enticing prospect. Landing somewhere between a sporty crossover and a tough-as-nails ute, the latest effort from Audi will undoubtedly be too futuristic for some, but you can’t count us among them.