Studies are something like highlights in everyday automotive life.

As a rule, they point to the future, the makers want to test reactions.

Will this or that design work, will the customer accept it?

Sometimes they are "just" a homage to the past.

This Wednesday in Berlin, Porsche presented the 357 study, which is intended to set the starting point for the 2023 anniversary year.

After all, Porsche will be 75 years old in June.

Boris Schmidt

Editor in the "Technology and Engine" department.

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Audi, as a brand already well over 100, is presenting the Activesphere Concept online this Thursday, the fourth study by the Sphere quartet.

The Audi is of course a semi-autonomous (Level 4) electric car, while the Porsche is based on the technology platform of the 500 hp, two-seater 718 Cayman GT 4.

It has a displacement of 4.0 liters and a six-cylinder boxer engine.

Should come this year

But first to the Audi.

After the Skyshpere roadster, the Grandsphere sedan and the Urbansphere minivan, the Activeshpere is a kind of crossover vehicle, somewhat reminiscent of a raised and inflated Audi TT.

It is almost five meters long, a mighty 2.07 meters wide and, with a wheelbase of almost three meters, promises a lot of space in the interior.

The doors open in opposite directions.

Powerful 22-inch wheels drive the car, one electric motor per axle is responsible for propulsion, together resulting in 442 hp (325 kW) and a maximum torque of 720 Newton meters.

The bodywork may still be visionary, but the drive and the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) platform developed together with Porsche are to be used in the first Audi series vehicles this year.

800-volt technology is available, it can be charged with a maximum of 270 kW, and a 100-kWh battery ensures a range of up to 600 kilometers.

A range of 300 kilometers can be “filled up” in just ten minutes.

The interior, on the other hand, is completely futuristic.

There are four individual seats.

If you want to drive autonomously, the steering wheel disappears completely.

The concept includes mixed reality glasses that reflect relevant information such as navigation instructions.

These glasses can also be used without the car, just as the car can be driven without the glasses.

Audi has also thought about the hardware.

If necessary, the Activesphere becomes a kind of pick-up truck.

The rear window slides forward over the roof, the vertical segment of the rear is folded horizontally.

The side surfaces remain unchanged.

Mountain bikes with the front wheel removed fit onto the partially open loading area.

A very charming solution.

Of course, thanks to all-wheel drive, there are also certain off-road talents, the ground clearance is variable and can be increased from 208 to 248 millimeters.

"New form of crossover"

The concept car was designed by the Audi design studio in Malibu (California).

"The Activesphere represents a new form of crossover that cleverly combines the elegance of an Audi Sportback, the versatility of an SUV and real off-road capabilities," says studio director Gael Buzyn.

Without a doubt, the fourth Sphere study is also a job well done, which makes us dream of the future of (electric) cars.

However, the quartet is also intended to distract a little from the fact that Audi hasn't brought any real new models onto the road for a long time.

Instead, the studies provide publicity, they are promoted with large-format advertisements, TV spots are shown on television in which a silver-ager can be piloted autonomously and of course they are also shown at the corresponding events.

The Activshpere will be presented for the first time as part of the ski race in Cortina d'Ampezzo (February 2nd to 5th).

The first trade fair appearance is planned for “Design Shanghai” in May.

The Porsche 357, on the other hand, is the highlight of the special exhibition “75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars” at the VW Group Forum Drive in Berlin until mid-February.

The 357 then moves to the "South by Southwest" to Austin (USA) in March and on to other international events.

Michael Mauer, Head of Design at Porsche, says of the 357: “The study is an attempt to harmoniously combine the past, present and future.

The proportions may be reminiscent of the historical model, details visualize a glimpse into the future.” Of course, the boxer engine is designed to run on synthetic fuels (eFuels).

The model for the 357 is the 356, the first series vehicle ever built by Porsche.

In June 1948 it made its debut as a coupé with a 40 hp rear engine.

The first vehicles were made in Gmünd in Austria, and in 1949 they returned to Stuttgart.

Around 78,000 units in four series of the 356 were built by 1965.

Without him, his successor, the 911, would never have existed.