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Frankfurt show: Audi reveals ‘Spyder’ urban EV

City Spyder: The roadster version of Audi’s all-new two-seater urban concept has a low, continuous window area and doors that open diagonally to the top.

Roadster version of Audi’s radical twin-seat city EV concept join Sportback model

Audi logo18 Aug 2011

By TERRY MARTIN

AUDI has revealed a roadster version of its two-seater electric city car concept that will be presented at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

Following hard on the heels of BMW and its all-new i-series cars unveiled late last month, and as Mercedes-Benz this week released details of its third-generation Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, Volkswagen’s luxury brand has now reissued the press release it released seven days ago for its so-called ‘urban concept’ technical study – with one more titbit: “In addition to a Sportback model, Audi is also presenting a Spyder variant.” In addition to a couple of sketches, the only other information Audi was prepared to offer was that the doors open skywards, noting that “characteristic features of the Spyder include its low, continuous window area and its doors that open diagonally to the top”.

The emergence of the roadster is a natural progression for the 1+1 seater vehicle, considering the roof of the previously revealed Sportback version is designed to be manoeuvrable and slide rearwards to open, enabling entry to the car.

7 center imageFrom top: Audi Urban Concept hard-top, BMW 13, Smart ED.

As GoAuto has reported, the “ultra-light car for congested urban spaces” – which is said to combine the elements of “a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one” – made a public appearance in Berlin earlier this month, disguised by camouflage but with Audi badges exposed.

“The Audi urban concept is not based on any previous model – its development is solely oriented on the strict principles of lightweight construction, efficiency and reduction,” the company said.

“The result is a concept car with no unnecessary weight, and one that concentrates on the pure essence of sporty motion.” The latest model in Audi’s burgeoning range of e-Tron electric vehicle programs, the urban concept is described as lending Audi’s design language “a completely new impetus”, offering an escape from the Russian doll principle that guides the styling of its current range.

It also demonstrates that Audi intends to follow its prestige rivals with a super-small city car, potentially under a new sub-brand.

The designers describe the concept’s styling as “highly concentrated”, pointing to its “forward-urging lines” and other aspects such as its free-standing (21-inch) wheels with protective plates featuring blinking LED strips.

The cockpit is made from carbon fibre-reinforced polymer which integrates the undercarriage of both seats. The two seating positions are staggered and positioned low to the ground.

Audi says all controls and materials “are subject to the dictates of ultra-lightweight construction in order to ensure that the sensory experience they convey is unique and compelling”. Steering wheel and pedal positioning are also adjustable.

Technical details are still to be released, with Audi only revealing at this stage that the concept is propelled by two “e-Tron electric motors” that take power from lithium-ion batteries. An “elaborate” suspension is also promised.

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