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Frankfurt show: Audi teases AI:Trail Quattro

Trail mix: The AI:Trail Quattro will combine a full-electric powertrain and an all-wheel-drive system in a futuristic off-roader package.

Audi to reveal full-electric, all-wheel-drive off-roader concept next month

26 Aug 2019

AUDI will take to next month’s Frankfurt motor show to reveal the AI:Trail Quattro concept, which takes the form of a full-electric, all-wheel-drive off-roader from the future.


Teased with a single darkened image of its side profile, the AI:Trail Quattro will complete the German brand’s “quartet of visionary automobiles”, which began with the Aicon sedan concept at the Frankfurt motor show two years earlier.


Unlike the Aicon, though, the AI:Trail Quattro will not be a Level 5 autonomous vehicle, as it will come equipped with a ‘traditional’ steering wheel that is so far necessary for off-road driving.


That said, it will likely feature some form of autonomy, in keeping with the Aicon and the Level 4 autonomous Elaine SUV (2017 Frankfurt motor show) and AI:Me hatch (2019 Shanghai motor show) concepts that form the rest of the aforementioned quartet.


The AI:Trail Quattro’s teaser suggests it will have a commanding ride height, short front and rear overhangs, and chunky off-road tyres, all of which are necessary elements for an off-roader.


An expansive glasshouse will ensure there is plenty of natural light in the AI:Trail Quattro’s cabin, which appears to have seating for at least four occupants, with the second row accessed via rear suicide doors.


It is possible that the AI:Trail Quattro will borrow its underpinnings from Audi sister brand Volkswagen’s retro ID Buggy concept, which had a similar off-road bent.


Revealed at the Geneva motor show this year, the ID Buggy was based on Volkswagen’s soon-to-be-ubiquitous modular electric drive matrix (MEB) architecture, although it exclusively sent drive to its rear wheels via a single 150kW motor.


The German brand did, however, say at the time that there was scope to add a second electric motor to the ID Buggy’s front axle to give it all-wheel-drive traction. As such, the AI:Trail Quattro could be the first example of this set-up.


For reference, the ID Buggy is likely to make it into production, but Volkswagen will not necessarily be the manufacturer producing it, with it keen to make its MEB underpinnings available to third parties that have designs to build and sell their own dune buggies.


Time will tell if the AI:Trail Quattro goes down similar path, with its full reveal to go down at the Frankfurt motor show that kicks off on September 10.

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