Audi has unveiled an electric off-roader at the Frankfurt motor show, with the four-seater rounding off a quartet of futuristic concept cars revealed by the German brand over the last couple of years.
Featuring a “helicopter-style” glazed cabin, the “AI:TRAIL” measures 4,150 mm long, 2,150 mm wide, and 1,670 mm tall.
Both the windscreen and the tailgate open wide to provide access to large storage compartments, while the side sills beneath the opposing doors act as retractable running boards, which the designers claim makes it easier to load and unload the roof rack.
There’s also ground clearance of 340 mm, which enables the car to ford through water more than half a metre deep. And instead of bulky wheel wells, horizontal wings are all that sit above the four 22-inch alloys.
Other exterior design details include self-contained light sources sitting below the A-pillars that can shine both outward and inward. Dimmable and adjustable, they can also be used as interior lighting as well as for lighting the vehicle’s path. The car’s rear light operates in a similar way.
And instead of conventional low beams and high beams, the AI:TRAIL comes equipped with a total of five rotorless, triangular, electrically operated drones with integrated matrix LED elements, which are capable of landing on a roof rack or directly on the roof of the car, and docking onto the inductive charging elements.
Being made from a mixture of high-tech steel, aluminium and carbon-fibre, the concept car weighs just 1,750 kg, and in terms of drive hardware, comes equipped with four electric motors installed near the wheels, each of which propels one wheel directly.
Total system output is 429 bhp and the maximum torque is 737.6 lb-ft, while top speed is restricted to 80 mph. The stated target with its lithium-ion battery is “248 to 310 miles”.
The design study also gets Level 4 autonomous driving capability, which is the second-highest level on the current standardised international scale for automated driving.
“With the AI:TRAIL, we are showing an off-road concept with an emissions-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads. Consistent with this, we designed a monolithic basic vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection to the surroundings. A concept for sustainable mobility on demand,” says Audi design boss, Marc Lichte.