With its concept cars and studies, Audi is taking a stand and shaping a sustainable future.
In 2023, Audi will present the Audi activesphere concept. Marc Lichte, Head of Design at Audi, talks about leading an active lifestyle, the quattro experience and a maximum of aesthetics.
The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.
Marc, Audi announced a fourth Sphere concept vehicle back in the summer. Now it will soon be presented to the world. What kind of vehicle is the new Audi activesphere concept going be?
Definitely a very special one (smiles). The Audi activesphere concept brings two worlds together that have never been combined before: a robust off-roader and an elegant, highly beautiful coupe. Because Audi is a progressive brand. Our aim is to inspire with ideas that have never been seen before. The vehicle promises a maximum of aesthetics and is full of contrasts: cold and warm colours, manual and automated driving mode, edgy as well as streamlined, very simple but at the same time very techie, too.
How did you come up with the idea for this vehicle concept?
The hotspots for trends around the world can nowadays be found in places like Beijing, China, or California in the United States. Take Malibu, for instance, which is a mecca for car culture. We have our own Audi design studios in cities like that. I always ask my team in those studios: What’s next – what’s the next big thing? Because only with a mindset like that you can create something truly new. In California, people lead a very active lifestyle: early in the morning before work they would go surfing, and on the weekend they would go to the countryside to enjoy the outdoors. They do that mostly in their SUV. But when they go into town for dinner, they’ll have a second car, an elegant one.
So we asked ourselves: what if we create this one car that combines exactly these two styles? That’s how the idea for the Audi activesphere concept¹ was born in the Malibu design studio. Incidentally, the car fits in perfectly with my own lifestyle as well.
Why don’t you tell us more about your own lifestyle?
I certainly do enjoy an active lifestyle. After a long day at work and on weekends, I will spend my time outdoors. I will go rowing, skiing, enjoy a quick tour on my mountain bike or a 70-kilometre ride on my gravel bike, and I love sailing on a dinghy or a yacht. Fresh air, water, feeling the elements – I love it, it’s my passion. I always demand a high level of perfection and performance from my sports equipment, but also from myself. And I have the same demand when it comes to the design of a car: it always has to be the best to date, bringing performance and aesthetics in harmony, perfect down to the last detail.
What kind of vehicle would be tailormade for such a lifestyle? Can you tell us more about the design language of the Audi activesphere concept?
The Audi activesphere concept takes the design language of the Audi Sphere concept vehicles to the next level. It is my passion to aim for something that is timeless. For me, a reduced design is a sustainable design, quite literally. Shapes that will last for a long time.
For the Audi activesphere concept we also had this in mind: the core of Audi’s DNA is still quattro, a drive technology we have had for decades. The design language of the Audi activesphere concept will be a testimonial to this technology. The car is very timeless, but at the same time it is also progressive and will stand out. A simple shape, reduced to the maximum, but very muscular, with soft muscles. But just like with the basic idea for the vehicle, we asked ourselves: What is the next level in quattro? The answer is: quattro is not just a technology or a design element. quattro becomes an experience.
Can you reveal a little more about where and when the Audi activesphere concept can used?
It will be your companion that will safely take you anywhere you want to go. Even in everyday life, you will always enjoy the feeling of adventure and freedom, of being able to just take off with your Audi activesphere concept at any time, to see the world – on all kinds of roads that my lead you there.
What’s more: it is super easy to accommodate any kind of sports equipment for an active lifestyle. Because the Audi activesphere concept will be highly variable, just like the other Sphere concepts before that. The vehicle is a 360-degree experience, 365 days a year. In short, the Audi activesphere concept takes your adventures to the next level. The Audi activesphere concept is the one ultimate car. This is my kind of car.