The 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is shaping up to be one of the more exciting events of the year for new model debuts and concept cars. Now, Audi has given us some advance info and images of its upcoming Urban Concept, scheduled to be unveiled at Frankfurt next month. Designed with a minimalist approach to efficiency and sportiness, this concept represents Audi’s vision of an electric vehicle for the congested cities of the future.
The Urban Concept is a two-seat city car designed from the ground up with efficiency and light weight in mind. Although the concept isn’t based on any existing Audi model, you can still see some influence from Audi’s current lineup, with the new corporate face making an appearance up front. The turbine-like wheels have been refined and amplified from the designs we’ve seen on the various e-tron concepts of the past couple years, looking more stylized and pronounced in these sketches – not to mention gigantic at 21 inches in diameter.
Those wheels, as you’ve no doubt noticed, are freestanding, located beyond the car’s bodywork for a racing-inspired appearance. But the open-wheel racer look isn’t the only thing that’s trickled down from Audi’s motorsports experience, as the car’s cockpit is mostly constructed of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) – the same material used to build many race cars. Power comes from two e-tron electric motors fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. Audi says the two motors combined with the Urban Concept’s natural light weight will allow it to “accelerate powerfully,” although no solid numbers regarding power output or weight are given.
Inside the cabin, the focus is on removing all unnecessary weight while also giving both driver and passenger a feeling of sportiness. To get in, the roof and windows slide toward the back of the car, much like the canopy on some fighter jets. The seats are staggered, with the driver side positioned ahead of and slightly lower than the passenger side. Both seats are low-slung, but the driver enjoys full adjustability of the steering wheel and pedals for optimum seating position.
However radical it may be, the concept might not be far from becoming a reality. With the threat of BMW’s mostly-CFRP-and-aluminum i3 compact EV on the horizon, Audi might be testing the waters for a future electric city car of its own. We’ll have a better idea of what Audi has in store when the car hits the stage at Frankfurt next month. But for now, enjoy the photos of the Urban Concept in the gallery below.