Audi Urbansphere car debuts, a self driving lounge concept


Audi conducted research with its Chinese customers living in traffic dense megacities, the result was the Urbansphere car concept, a lounge on wheels, a mobile office and a third living space.

The car is in the size of a mini van or a large crossover SUV measuring 216.9 inches (5.51 meters) in length, 79.1 inches (2.01 meters) in width, and 70.1 inches (1.78 meters) in height. The wheelbase is 133.8 inches (3.40 meters), longer than a Cadillac Escalade and giving it the largest interior space of any Audi to date.

Despite the generous space, the Urbansphere is meant to seat four passengers with all the amenities they would want. It features monitors built-in the backs of the front seats, a water dispenser, VR glasses in the door armrests, and even a transparent OLED screen that hangs vertically from the roof and runs the whole width of the second seating row. The OLED cinema screen comes with a controller but it can also interact with hand gestures.

The rear passengers get two reclining seats. Interestingly, those seats can swivel 25 degrees in the direction of the suicide doors for easier access and also to get the red carpet treatment with red illumination projected onto the ground.

At the very back of the car is a third bench which takes the total seating capacity up to six passengers when the second row isn’t fully articulated and reclined or cargo isn’t stowed. The third row is more of an afterthought and doesn’t get the lounge treatment of the other two.

At the front, the Urbansphere hides its steering wheel when self driving mode is activated. The pedals and steering wheel can be deployed when a human wants to take the wheel. According to Audi, the Level 4 autonomous car is envisioned to drive itself to pick up passengers, drive them through dense traffic, drop them off, look for a parking spot and charge itself. While the car drives itself, the passengers can enjoy infotainment features that allows them to engage with a range of activities on the go, from shopping and making dinner reservations to music and media streaming, to interacting with live concerts, cultural and sporting events.

Adding to the passengers comfort is adaptive air suspension to ease out the bumps. Rear -wheel steering is also present to make it easier to maneuver this extra long vehicle.

Propelling the autonomous car is two electric motors delivering a total output of 295 kW (395 hp) and a torque of 509 lb-ft (690 Nm). There is a neat feature where the front motor can be deactivated as required to reduce friction and energy consumption.

Charging the battery from 5 to 80% takes less than 25 minutes, while 10 minutes of fast-charging will add 186 miles (300 km) of range. The total range is 466 miles (750 km) on a single charge.

The Urbansphere is the third in Audi’s Sphere series following the Skyshere and the Grandspshere. Pricing and availability details are missing since this is an experimental concept series, but there are rumours of a fourth Sphere concept coming soon (since Audi has 4 rings in their logo)