Audi's electrical hatch idea previews the corporate's long-term design plans
The A2 was too radical for Audi in 1999, however 20 years on the AI:ME idea reveals how a high-tech, compact metropolis automotive could possibly be an enormous hit
The Audi AI:ME idea is meant to look 10 years into the long run, however on first sight it made me take into consideration one of many agency’s fashions from 20 years prior to now: the A2.
The entrance grill and varied styling particulars present how Audi's design – and the entire automotive business – has progressed during the last twenty years. However look previous that and there is a clear resemblance between thw two quick, rounded, high-riding crossovers.
After I requested Andreas Mindt, Audi’s head of exterior design, he insisted the similarity was purely “a coincidence”. However he added: “If there are elements of heritage like this, it’s not unhealthy, as a result of it makes it recognisable.”
The A2 didn’t final, however not as a result of it was a nasty automotive: it was genuinely revolutionary, environment friendly and economical and – as our highway testers of the time testified – good enjoyable to drive. However it was arguably too massive a leap for the Audi model when it launched in 1999, and simply too far forward of its time. Particularly, its aluminium physique made it too costly to supply (and restore), which postpone clients drawn to cheaper rivals.
Audi ultimately canned the A2 in 2005, though it has evaluated bringing a brand new model again on a number of events. Making the economics of a compact metropolis automotive add up stays a problem for corporations akin to Audi, however that ought to develop into simpler because the economies of scale of electrical vehicles add up. And there isn't any doubt the rise of electrification and autonomy are going to extend the demand for such vehicles sooner or later – because the Audi AI:ME idea itself highlights, with its imaginative and prescient of city mobility in 10 years' time.
Frankly, although, an electrical A2 can be good for proper now. I’m not the one member of the Autocar crew that thinks so: over Christmas, Matt Prior mooted a brand new high-riding A2 compact automotive primarily based on the MEB platform (pictured under) – which is just about what I noticed after I first set eyes on the AI:ME.
The Audi A2 was an ideal automotive that was merely forward of its time. Twenty years on, may the A2's time be now?
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