The Audi Skysphere concept is an electric roadster that’s also a literal transformer


We’re very fond of concept cars, mostly because they look like the sort of whacky things we were sketching when crayons were still a big part of our daily lives. Audi’s new Skysphere concept car certainly springs from the mind of a pre-teen child who’s mad about cars — it’s an electric roadster that can extend its wheelbase to turn into a grand tourer. The only things missing are the flamethrowers and the ejection seat.

Reach for the Skysphere

The German automaker’s concept vehicle is a two-door electric convertible (in more ways than one). It goes from a roadster configuration to a grand tourer experience by extending its wheelbase and lifting its ride height. The change isn’t massive — the vehicle extends by 250mm (25cm) and itself up by 10mm (1cm) using electric motors inside the frame, along with a “sophisticated mechanism” that probably looks a little a hydraulic piston when it ‘transforms’.

There’s a point behind the transformation, though. When in ‘Roadster’, the 4.94-metre Skysphere is intended to be driven by its user. When in ‘Grand Tourer’ (5.19 metres), it’s designed to operate autonomously — which really drives home the sense that this thing was designed by a daydreaming kid with cars on the brain.

More practical considerations for Audi’s concept include electric motors that produce a total of 623 horsepower and an 80kW battery weighing the thing down in the rear and adding stability (and the ability to go about 500km on a charge). It’ll make 100km/h in about four seconds, which isn’t that speedy (as these things go) but it’s fine for a freaking transformer, surely?

The Skysphere’s interior also transforms, rearranging the cockpit to make it more drivable when you’re actually holding the wheel and giving you a little more space when the car is driving by disappearing the cockpit controls from view entirely. We’re sure that’s not frightening at all.

The concept is set to be unveiled at Monterey Car Week, on the Pebble Beach golf course, later this week and Audi has a few other design reveals lined up for later this year. Expect the Grandsphere and Urbansphere (whatever pre-teen motor-head’s fever-dream those wind up being) to turn up in the next few months.


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Brett writes for Stuff's digital platform and edits Stuff's print magazine, in between reading science fiction and every Batman comic he can get his hands on.

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