Audi Teases AI:Trail Quattro Concept Before Frankfurt Motor Show

audi teases ai trail quattro concept before frankfurt motor show

Audi is teasing a new model slated to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show — an off-road specialist called the AI:TRAIL Quattro. With massive wheels and a nonexistent approach/departure angle, the conceptual crossover certainly seems ready to scurry up a mountain. But the overall design is more hyper-modern RC car than traditional baja beast.

It’s not coming entirely out of left field. Audi has shown several electrified concepts using a similarly futuristic design language, among them the AICON luxury sedan, PB18 supercar, and AI:ME city vehicle. Like the AI:TRAIL, each is designed to tackle a very specific portion of the market. All will be on hand in Frankfurt to showcase Audi’s vision of what a car could be.

Audi says putting the vehicles together in one place effectively completes its “quartet of visionary automobiles.” Just don’t expect to see one whizzing by you on the highway. The manufacturer calls the TRAIL Quattro “a concept study for an electrically driven off-roader of the future,” which is basically what it said about the other models — minus the off-road talk. At best, you’ll see some of the cars reemerge in a few years after having been renamed and modified to better suit the general market.

For the TRAIL, that probably means scaling down those massive wheels and adding a bumper or two. As handy as having an approach angle of zero is for off-roading, Audi probably can’t mass produce a vehicle with outboard wheels. But it may allow you to remove panels to ensure there’s nothing between rubber and rock when the time comes to take up a gnarly trail.

That’s speculation on our part, but Audi hasn’t given us much to go on with this one. As the name includes the words “quattro” and “AI,” it’ll surely be all-wheel drive and boast some level of autonomy. Audi also said it will be electrically driven. But that’s all it said.

Details aren’t all that important in a concept vehicle lacking direct ties to a production model and nobody with any sense actually believes this thing can self-drive itself through the worst sections of the Alpine Loop — not that the manufacturer made such a claim. Still, it would be nice to have some idea of the kind of features Audi hopes to implement with the AI:TRAIL, especially if it’s supposed to serve as a template for future designs. Fortunately, Frankfurt is only a couple weeks away.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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  • FreedMike FreedMike on Aug 27, 2019

    This is one trail I'll skip, thanks.

  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Aug 27, 2019

    I wouldn't want a vehicle with this aesthetic, but I can appreciate efforts to do something genuinely new.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Aug 27, 2019

      Looks like they took the lightning bolt from the last two Honda Odyssey generations and put it on speed-meth!

  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. The idea of a self-driving vehicle has commercial appeal. But at this point, consumers aren't willing to pay to put their lives in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?
  • Sobro My 2012 Yukon had only the passenger side ignitor recalled. Makes me wonder what penny pinching GM did for the driver's airbag.
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