Audi's Urban Vision

Audi has released a series of official sketches depicting an urban based concept car it plans to unveil as part of a new city mobility project at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

The new two seater, referred to simply as the urban concept, brings together contemporary design, construction, packaging and driveline ideas on a compact city runabout reminiscent of the iconic Messerschmitt Kabinenroller with a touch of good 'ol Lotus Seven thrown in for good measure.

The urban concept is based around a central carbon fibre monocoque, which supports four individual 21-inch wheels mounted outboard and covered by complex cycle guards. But in a move aimed at quashing rumours that it is based around the same structure as parent company Volkswagen’s similarly conceived XL1, Audi says the new car is ''not based on any previous model''.

The exterior styling combines various elements of Audi’s current design lineage, including a prominent single frame grille, trapezoidal shaped headlamps and tornado (or shoulder) line beneath the glasshouse, with new aero industry inspired cues, including a pillar less wrap around windscreen.

Entry is via a jet fighter inspired canopy that slides back towards the rear. The canopy forms part of the body sides, but Audi’s official sketches reveal there is a high sill to negotiate.

Inside, there is space for two on low set, slightly staggered seats in a layout Audi describes 1+1. While spartan in appearance, the interior is constructed from high quality materials, including carbon fibre and aluminium. The dashboard, shaped like an airplane wing, appears to form an integral part of the structure and supports a square steering wheel and pedals that can be adjusted to suit. Audi is not revealing much about its new concept’s driveline or performance prior to its unveiling in Frankfurt next month, saying only that it uses two electric motors in combination with a lithium ion battery.

Further details remain scarce, butWheels can reveal Audi is preparing other less extravagant versions of its new urban concept, which it also plans to put on display in Frankfurt in a bid to gauge public reaction before deciding whether to progress them further.

Recent rumours doing the rounds of the German automotive industry have linked Audi to a new city car brand in the mould of Mercedes-Benz run Smart. Suggestions are it could resurrect the NSU nameplate on a new range of urban based models hinted to by its latest concept. NSU, purchased by then Audi parent, Auto Union, in 1969, was at one time the world’s leading producer of motorcycles.

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