When you think of futuristic cars, you probably imagine something ultra-fast, exquisitely sculpted, and low to the ground. Audi's Skysphere is all of that and more but its true appeal comes from its ability to not drive — oh, it's fast and satisfying to handle, sure, but this concept car shines once its steering wheel vanishes.
Not to take anything away from the Skysphere's facade, though, as it's as attractive as any concept car out there. It ties into design cues set by Audi's iconic Horch 853 — lengthy front and compressed cabin — but it obviously looks nowhere near as classic.
Lots of cool touches throughout, including an Audi Singleframe grille, dynamic LED lights instead of conventional taillights, angular paneling that recalls a polygonal video game design, aerodynamic rims, and a stowable roof. The Skysphere's also got a powerful electric engine capable of 465 kilowatts of power, 750 Newton meters of torque, and hitting 0-100 km/h within four seconds.
However, the two-door convertible really lives up to its name when you take a look inside.
Lush vegan leather seats and microfiber lining make for both a progressive and pristine presentation, which is good: the whole point of the Skysphere is that the occupants are as comfy as possible. This car is very much about the destination.
A touch of a button shifts the Skysphere between sport and grand touring modes. The former is your typical vehicular experience where the driver directs the Skysphere as usual. The grand touring mode, meanwhile, swallows the steering wheel within the dashboard and shifts the seats back so that the Skysphere can autonomously whisk its passengers around town or across the highway in extreme comfort.
Audi has been developing self-driving tech for a while now so, by showing off the goods in a concept car, it's reiterating its belief in the program.
Though the Skysphere is obviously a unique concept, Audi asserts that it will influence cars design within "just a few years." That may or may not mean consumer-grade self-driving tech but does open the door for some similar prospects.
Hopefully, whatever comes next will be reliably safe, because the idea of being chauferred by your car while kicking back and listening to a podcast or watching a movie is a future I very much want to live in.