Motor shows and concept cars go together like beer and salty snacks, and not wishing to be left stood at the bar with a glass of a fizzy pop and a chunk of chocolate Audi has revealed its Aicon concept car: a 2+2, four door saloon that measures over five metres long, two-metres wide and 1.5-metres high. And with it being 2017, it does of course rely on electricity for propulsion and is fully autonomous, which makes it as exciting as a pint of warm alcohol-free lager and strictly speaking not really a car.
Obviously it’s little more than a look into the future of what a self-driving car with the four-rings of Audi etched into its nose could be like. The bumpf says it combines the advantages of door-to-door individual transportation combined with the luxurious ambiance of a first-class airline cabin; hopefully not one that’s based on a budget airline’s idea of luxury travel. Like an aircraft cabin there are no pedals and no steering wheel, and like budget airline flight there is no inflight meal service, either.
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Longer than a long-wheelbase version of the new A8, the Aicon resembles a glass box with 26-inch wheels and, claims Audi, has a ‘distinct edge that runs as a hard line along the side window surfaces of the Aicon back to the D-pillar – a first in automotive design.’ Which is nice. There is a tenuous link to a proper Audi road car in that the arches apparently carry the quattro DNA of old
Powered by an electronic drivetrain featuring an individual motor at each wheel that allow you to run at speeds of up to 80mph (I can’t help but think they’ve missed a trick here by not setting the speed limit of the future to 88mph…). The four-electric motors produce a combined total of 349bhp and 405lb ft and Audi predicts the Aicon could have a range of up to 497 miles. With an 800-volt charging system the solid state batteries could be charged to 80 per cent capacity within 30 minutes. With the drive units being symmetrical front-to-rear the Aicon does without any mechanical steering components, with each individual wheel capable of turning independently.
Ultimately the Aicon is a look at what we could be travelling in in the future, which on this evidence is an electric glass box with an interior that is more closely related to that of a boutique hotel than of a car as we know it today. Hopefully some more thrilling ideas will be along shortly.