Audi introduced the third of its 'Sphere-Sphere' concept models. The Audi urbansphere concept, designed systematically from the inside out, is especially ideal for metropolitan use.
Although Audi designers and engineers originally designed the urbansphere concept for use in Chinese megacities with heavy traffic, it is suitable for use in all metropolitan centers of the world.
In urban areas where personal space is scarce, the concept car offers the largest interior space an Audi has ever offered. Moreover, it cleverly coordinates this space with technologies and digital services that appeal to all the senses and offer a whole new level of experience.
Audi introduced the urbahsphere, the last of the 'Sphere-Sphere' concept models. The skysphere, which can transform into an autonomous sports car with a variable wheelbase; After the grandsphere, which stands out with its fourth-level autonomous driving features, the premium trio of the future has been completed with urbansphere.
The Audi urbansphere concept was co-developed by Audi's Beijing and Ingolstadt design studios to meet the demands of Chinese customers. For the first time, Chinese customers became part of the process known as “co-creation” and included their own desires and perspectives in the development process.
This is reflected in the Audi urbansphere concept, and particularly in its interior design. With its large interior volume, the car functions as a rolling lounge or mobile office, serving as a third living space during the time spent in traffic. The Audi urbansphere combines advanced luxury with a comprehensive array of hi-tech. Automated driving technology transforms the interior without steering wheels, pedals or gauges into a mobile interactive space that opens up to a vast digital ecosystem.
Turns into an experience tool
The Audi urbansphere concept makes you feel at first glance that it is the biggest model of the sphere family and of all Audi concept cars to date. Its length of 5,51 meters, width of 2,01 meters and height of 1,78 meters carries it to the upper echelons of the automotive world. However, the Audi urbansphere concept differs completely from segment traditions architecturally.
Audi urbansphere has been systematically designed from the inside out with a passenger-oriented approach. The most important dimension feature is the unique wheelbase of 3.40 meters. The interior concept of the Audi urbansphere does not adhere to the traditional principle of cramming as many seats, storage compartments and functional elements as possible into a space constrained by driving conditions. Instead, it prioritizes passengers' need for a spacious experience as a distinctive element of comfort.
Acting on the fact that only the product is not enough anymore, it is necessary to offer a comprehensive ecosystem, Audi therefore creates a comprehensive ecosystem with services for the entire car. The Audi Urbansphere concept offers a variety of options to provide everyone in the vehicle with a highly personalized in-car experience that they can freely use: communication or rest, work or retreat to a private space. Thus, it turns from being an automobile into an "experience vehicle".
The possibilities are almost endless, thanks to Audi's own options and the ability to integrate digital services from other providers. These can be used to access various travel-related services. The vehicle can also handle day-to-day tasks that go beyond the journey, such as making dinner reservations or online shopping from the vehicle. The autonomous Audi urbansphere concept also picks up passengers from their homes and solves the problem of self-finding parking spaces and charging the battery.
There are also personalized infotainment solutions, such as the integration of music and video streaming services. Audi will also offer special benefits, including access to concerts, cultural events and sporting events based on customers' personal preferences.
An architecture from the inside out
The "sphere" in its name means a lot. The heart of the Audi skysphere, grandsphere and urbansphere concept vehicles beats inside. The interior forms the basis of vehicle design and technology and forms the life and experience space for passengers while driving.
Their needs and wants shape this space, its architecture and all integrated functions. As a result of this change, the design process itself is also changing. All the focus is on the interior from the very beginning. Then, the package, contours and body proportions take shape, along with the technological features that turn the car into a work of art.
Surface, form, function – interior
The doors of the Audi urbansphere concept have front and rear opposing hinges. There is no B column. This gives free access to the interior. Outwardly rotating seats and a red carpet of light reflected on the floor next to the vehicle transforms the act of getting into the vehicle into a comfort experience.
The wheelbase of 3,40 meters and the vehicle width of 2,01 meters express a footprint beyond the luxury class. With the contribution of 1,78 meters headroom and large glass areas, an extremely spacious experience emerges in the interior.
Four independent seats in two rows provide passengers with luxurious first-class comfort. The rear seats offer generous dimensions and a variety of adjustment options. In Relaxation and Leisure modes, the backrest can be tilted up to 60 degrees while the leg supports are extended. The armrests integrated into the sides of the seats and their counterparts in the doors create a comforting feeling of security.
Seats meet the changing social needs of passengers in different ways. swivel seats sohbet while making them face each other. Those who want to rest can create a personal space by hiding their head areas with the privacy curtain mounted on the back of the headrest. In addition, each seat has its own sound zone and the headrest has speakers. Individual monitors are placed behind the front seats.
When passengers want to use the infotainment system together, a large-format and transparent OLED screen turns vertically from the roof area to the area between the seats.
This movie screen, which occupies the entire interior width, offers the two rear row passengers the opportunity to join a video conference or watch a movie together. The screen can also be split into two. When the screen is not in use, its transparent design provides a clear view towards the sky from the glass roof area when folded to the front or up.
As in the Audi grandsphere concept, the interior of the urbansphere concept brings together space and architecture, digital technology and unique materials. The stripes emphasize the vehicle's horizontal proportions. Spacious interior supports the sense of space. The steering wheel, pedals and conventional instrument cluster can be hidden during automatic driving. This increases the feeling of spaciousness.
The seating surfaces and backrests of the two seats with integrated seat belts are visually separated. Between the rear seats is a center console that rotates upwards. This space contains a water dispenser and glasses and supports the upmarket approach of the Audi urbansphere concept.
Audi urbansphere also serves as a wellness space, thanks to innovative digital solutions created with input from the co-creation process with Chinese customers. For example, the stress detection function uses facial scans and audio analysis to determine how passengers are feeling, and offers personalized recommendations for relaxation via the personal display or a special sound zone in the headrests.
Less is more
Simplicity becomes a design principle with Audi urbansphere. Circular indicators or black screens do not appear in the display concept until the driving functions are activated.
A plain and clear space adorned with quality materials welcomes the passengers. Wood, wool and synthetic fabrics used in panels, seat upholstery and floor carpets create a sense of touch and increase the perception of quality.
Soft beige and gray tones structure the interior horizontally. The dark green color of the seat upholstery relaxes the eyes. The color zones in the interior become more open from top to bottom, creating a homogeneous, wide interior with the natural light entering the space.
The vehicle comes to life with the touch of a finger. Simultaneously, a series of screens are projected onto the wooden surfaces under the windshield. Depending on the driving mode, either manual or Level 4 with the steering wheel, the screens, which are either distributed over the entire width of the interior or divided into sections for the driver and front passenger, display driving information in high resolution.
There's also a sensor surface below the projection surfaces for quick switching between, for example, music or navigation content. This area shows the functions and applications that are active in the car. Icons for different menus are flashing.
A special, highly innovative control element is located next to the door opening in the floor: MMI non-contact response. If the passenger is sitting in an upright position ahead of his or her area, he or she can use this item to physically select various function menus via a rotating ring and buttons.
Even when the seat is fully reclined, passengers still benefit from this useful feature thanks to a combination of eye tracking and motion control. An eye-directed sensor detects the line of sight when the control unit is activated. In order for the passenger to operate the system without touching anything, it is sufficient to make hand movements similar to physical work without reaching out.
The same goes for all operating modes, whether eye tracking, gesture, voice control or touch. The Audi urbansphere concept is tailored to the individual user and learns his preferences and frequently used functions. It not only reasonably completes simple commands, but also makes personalized recommendations directly to the user.
There are also control panels on the armrests on the doors. The vehicle displays its position with an optical indicator, offering passengers always invisible touchpads. There are also VR glasses on the left and right door armrests that can be used with infotainment content such as Holoride.
Sustainability, a guiding principle
Most of the materials in the interior of the Audi urbansphere concept, such as beech cladding, come from sustainable sources. The whole trunk of the wood grown close to the factory can be used. No chemicals are used in the production process.
The seat padding is made from ECONYL®, a recycled polyamide. After this material is used in the car, it can be recycled without loss of quality. Since mixing the materials will complicate the recycling process, the materials are mounted separately.
Bamboo viscose fabric is used on the armrests and back of the vehicle. Growing faster than ordinary wood, bamboo traps plenty of carbon and requires no herbicides or pesticides to grow.
Luxury class space concept – exterior design
With its imposing and confident appearance, the Audi urbansphere concept is sure to make a lasting first impression. 5,5 meters long, almost 1,78 meters high and more than two meters wide enough to challenge the luxury class.
Singleframe, which integrates with the digital eyes of the lighting units, a wide curved, dynamic roof arch, a huge panel that hides the battery unit, large 90-inch six-double-spoke rims referring to the iconic 24's Audi Avus concept car draw attention as traditional Audi lines and elements. The wheels reflect the brand's motorsport and Bauhaus tradition.
The wedge shape of the body is accentuated by the large, flat windshield. Front and rear are large digital lighting surfaces that also act as communication elements.
Audi urbansphere challenges traditional vehicle classifications. However, at first glance, it immediately reflects that it is an Audi. Features similar to the Audi grandsphere concept draw attention. The unibody design of the body and the soft shape of the fenders are what the two concept cars have in common. The wheelbase of more than three meters and the short overhangs indicate that it is an electric vehicle.
Visible technology – Lighting
At the front is a large octagonal Singleframe grille that defines the Audi look. Although it has lost its air intake function in an electric vehicle, the grille is used as the signature of the brand. The digital illumination surface is located behind a lightly colored, transparent viewfinder that covers a large area. Three-dimensional lighting is regulated by dynamically intensified pixel fields. The top and bottom edges of the singleframe are made of aluminum, while the vertical joints are created with LEDs as part of the light surface.
The surface of the singleframe becomes a stage or canvas. Known as the Audi Light Canvas, this structure can be used to convey messages to other road users with dynamic lighting effects to increase road safety. The low and high beams are implemented by the lighting segments on the exterior of the Singleframe, and a matrix LED surface is featured at the rear.
The lighting units to the left and right of the singleframe look like focused eyes. Known as Audi Eyes, these digital lighting units magnify the intersection of the two rings to form a pupil, creating four halkalı mirrors the brand's logo and creates a new digital light signature.
The illuminated surfaces, thus the expression of the eyes, can be adapted to the traffic situation, the environment and even the mood of the passengers. The daytime running light can focus or widen the gaze.
The digitally created eyebrow also functions as a dynamic turn signal when necessary and contributes to driving safety with its superior level of visibility.
As a uniquely Chinese feature, Audi urbansphere passengers are offered the self-illuminating Audi Light Umbrella, which they can take with them when leaving the vehicle. Reminiscent of traditional Chinese umbrellas, the inner surface of this umbrella is made of reflective material, and therefore the entire surface acts as a non-glare lighting unit.
Audi Light Umbrella not only illuminates the road, but also makes the user more visible. When crossing a street or in dangerous situations, artificial intelligence and sophisticated sensor technology make the light cone flash rhythmically.
Light Umbrella can also step in as the perfect selfie tool when necessary with its active lighting feature.
Power-train and charging
Audi Urbansphere's technology platform – Premium Platform Electric or PPE – is designed exclusively for battery electric powertrains. As in the Audi grandsphere example, the key element of PPE is the battery module between the axles with a capacity of approximately 120 kWh. A flat floor layout is achieved with the battery placed on the floor between the two axles.
In combination with the large 24-inch wheels, a perfect build is achieved, not only in terms of function, but also in terms of body proportions. The long wheelbase brings with it a spacious interior with long legroom between the two seats. In addition, the absence of a gearbox and shaft tunnel increases spatial comfort in electric cars.
The two electric motors of the Audi urbansphere concept produce a total of 295 kW of power and 690 Nm of torque. These are figures that are often not fully utilized in heavy city traffic. In addition, Audi Urbansphere is equipped with the permanent all-wheel drive system quattro, which is one of the main features of the brand's performance models.
Each of the front and rear axles of the concept car is equipped with an electric motor that electronically coordinates the all-wheel drive system and balances it in accordance with consumption and range requirements. To reduce friction and therefore energy consumption at idle, the front axle motor can be deactivated as needed.
Fast charging, long range
At the heart of the propulsion system is 800-volt charging technology. This allows the battery to be charged up to 270 kilowatts at fast charging stations in a short time. Thus, charging times approach the refueling time of a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. It only takes 300 minutes to charge the battery for a range of over 10 kilometers. It also takes less than 120 minutes to charge the 5 kWh battery from 80 percent to 25 percent. This means a range of up to 750 kilometers according to the WLTP standard.
Air suspension with maximum comfort
At the front, a 5-arm linkage specially optimized for electric vehicles is used, while at the rear, a lightweight aluminum multi-link structure is used, like the front axle. Despite the wheelbase of 3,40 meters, the rear axle steering offers superior maneuverability.
As in the grandsphere example, the Audi urbansphere concept is also equipped with Audi adaptive air suspension, a single-chamber air suspension system with semi-active damper control. The system offers superior comfort, without causing uncomfortable body movements, not only on the ring roads, but also on the bumpy, often patchy asphalt of city center streets.