THE AUDI Activesphere is the latest in a series of concepts that represent the company’s vision of future mobility. The automaker calls it “A luxury coupe that turns into a pickup. Like its predecessors, the Activesphere is packed with technologies and ideas that may still be years away from being realized, but it highlights what is possible for high-tech vehicles in the future.

The Activesphere’s exciting design incorporates the styling of Audi’s Sportback and Allroad models into a versatile, SUV-like EV. The concept features Audi’s air suspension with adaptive dampers, capable of increasing the car’s base ground clearance by 8.1 inches (208 millimeters) to 1.57 inches (40 mm).

This coincides with design features on the exterior that use vertical studs and metal strips to help visualize the additional height. The 22-inch wheels are huge but also functional. When the vehicle is in off-road mode, the flaps on the wheels open for optimal ventilation, and will close when driving on the highway to maximize aerodynamics.

Glass is a sizable part of this vehicle. The concept features a glass roof, glass in the lower doors, and glass louvers that give passengers an unobstructed view to the outside through the trunk. The rear glass window is also functional, able to move in conjunction with the roof to create a cargo bed capable of carrying electric bicycles.

Part of the rear fascia is lowered to create a tailgate, making it more accessible. A motorized bulkhead is used when using the cargo bed to separate the interior from the elements. On the inside, the sparse four-seat cabin is designed for passengers. When the car is in autonomous mode, the dashboard, steering wheel and pedals disappear, but the large sound bar and full-width air vents remain functional.

The seats appear to float in the cabin, attached to a center console that has heating and cooling capabilities but lacks traditional screens and controls. One of the key features of the concept is the augmented reality headsets available to the driver and passenger.

These headsets allow Audi to superimpose virtual content, such as vehicle control panels, information displays and more, over the real world and the cabin. This frees up interior space that would otherwise be reserved for screens and controls, with Audi placing various functions alongside the corresponding hardware within view.

For example, the air conditioning controls float in front of the air vents while the sound and entertainment panel floats above the speakers. Users can view virtual content and activate it if they focus their eyes on certain information, interacting with it through gestures.

The system presents various functions to users so that they can use them comfortably, regardless of seating position. The system can also provide customized content for each passenger, giving the driver important vehicle information while the passenger selects music and other digital features.

Audi built this concept based on the Premium Platform Electric architecture developed together with Porsche. This architecture underpins a wide range of vehicles and allows the Activesphere to have around 100 kilowatts of energy in its battery pack.

The dual-motor powertrain setup gives the concept 242 horsepower (325 kilowatts), 531 pound-feet (720 Newton-meters) of torque, and all-wheel drive. [sources/photo special]