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Audi Urban Concept Previewed

Wed, 10 Aug 2011

Audi Urban Concept

It’s quite interesting when things happen back to front; where you get to see the chicken before the egg. And that’s what’s happened with the Audi Urban Concept.

For some reason Audi seems to think that rolling out a modern-day Messerschmitt with a full black and white swirly paint job in the Potsdamer Platz would go unnoticed. Otherwise, why would they bother releasing these sketches? Unless the Urban Concept in these sketches is not the same Urban Concept we saw in Berlin?

Which is perfectly possible. We understand that Audi are planning to take more than one Urban Concept to Frankfurt next month to gauge reaction. So this Urban Concept doesn’t necessarily have to be the sketch version of the e-Tron we saw earlier in the week.

Audi say this Urban Concept has a sliding canopy which slides backwards to get in and out. The off-set seating – which Audi call 1+1 – means the passenger sits off-set and behind the driver, a bit like a 2/3rds McLaren F1 setup. The seats appear to stay fixed with pedals and steering wheel moving to meet the driver instead.

The visual drama comes from a central carbon fibre monocoque which is supported by big,  21″ wheels at each corner – almost like the go-karts we made as kids (well, the older amongst us). It’s dramatic and different, unlike anything from other mainstream makers.

In fact that Urban concept is closer in ethos to something like an Ariel Atom than a conventional road car; lightness and simplicity is all, but unlike the Atom where power and performance is all the Urban Concept seems to be designed as efficient, cost-effective urban transport with its two electric motors and lithium-ion batteries.

Could the Audi Urban Concept be more than just another e-Tron going nowhere fast? We’ve had plenty of e-Tron projects which were variations on a mainstream car. Could this Urban Concept be the start of a new Audi range designed to take on the BMW i cars?

Could the Audi Urban Concept, in fact, be the first of a new sub-brand for Audi’s eco-cars.

The NSU Urban Concept, perhaps?

(7 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)

By Cars UK