Audi teases Sky Sphere which is sort of both a sports car and a salon


Audi has unveiled some glimpses of its future Sky Sphere concept, a car that will partly define the brand’s future. It is the second of Audi’s Sphere concept trio, which the company will present as a showcase of its upcoming technologies and design.

In the video, the car is depicted by Marc Lichte, head of design at Audi, both “true sports car” and “autonomous living room”, two ideas that seem to be in direct opposition. However Lichte, with the Senior Vice President Henrik Wenders, gives a hint on the direction of the concept by spending time with a classic Horch 853A.

Horch was one of four companies that merged to become Auto Union, today’s predecessor to Audi. It is represented by one of the four rings of the Audi logo. Horch was a luxury brand that rivaled Mercedes, and the 850 Series featured inline eight-cylinder engines under their long hoods.

Wenders and Lichte begin with the “golden” 1920s as the era in which cars were developed, describing it as an exciting time in history. A number of technological innovations – such as the first mainframe, a long-haul transatlantic flight for airliners, and the advent of color film – helped keep the Horch buzzing. Of course, all of these things didn’t happen until the 1930s, like the Horch 850 series itself which debuted in 1935, but it’s understandable that a German company wouldn’t want to label the 1930s as “golden” era.

We only get a few close-ups of the nose and rear of the Sky Sphere. Rather than a separate pair of front or rear lights, they are illuminated by a set of individual lights. The front features a series of light elements in different sizes that together form a semblance of a grille, although there is no actual opening for air, or even an outline of one.

At the rear, dozens of red dots span the trailing edge of the bridge. Each one seems to be able to light with different intensities independently of the others, forming a neat pulsed animation. Bright Audi logos accompany the two sets of lights, a white at the front and a red at the rear, forming the CHMSL.

Audi has made lighting a hallmark of its cars, so it’s no surprise to see a dazzling light show from a flagship concept. Beyond that, we can infer some of the Sky Sphere themes from what Lichte calls the Horch – a long wheelbase, a long hood, and minimal overhangs. Given its name and the fact that the Horch 850 series was known for its superb coach-built convertibles, the Sky Sphere could also be open-top.

The Sky Sphere is the second of Audi’s next three Sphere concepts. The trio were created to show the future of Audi as they enter an electrified and self-sufficient world. The Grand Sphere sedan has already been teased, and the Sky Sphere will be unveiled at the Audi studio in Malibu, Calif. On August 11. The final member, the Urban Sphere SUV, will follow.


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