Audi AI:TRAIL is the industry’s coolest concept in a long time

Audi AI:TRAIL quattro

Back in the day, car concepts almost never made sense. They were always wild, far-out ideas of what could be, rather than what’s actually needed. Today, that’s not typically the case. Modern car concepts are often intelligent, well-thought-out electrified vehicles that we’ll likely need in the future. While that’s logical, it’s boring. But what about both; what if you could have a concept car that both makes sense for the future and is a bit absurd at the same time? That’s where the Audi AI:TRAIL comes in.

When Audi debuted the new AI:TRAIL yesterday, it was quite the hit. Being that it’s a quad-motor electric, Mad Max-style dune buggy, it’s naturally quite interesting. But even more than that, I love the purpose of it.

According to the car’s designer, and Audi design boss, Marc Lichte: “With the AI:TRAIL, we are showing an off-road concept with an emissions-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads. Consistent with this, we designed a monolithic basic vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection to the surroundings. A concept for sustainable mobility on demand.”

Basically, Audi created an all-electric off-roader to be used to explore nature. It’s not some urban city vehicle designed to be practical or affordable, nor is it some sort of autonomous pod that’s designed to shuttle families around in quiet, practical safety. Instead, it’s a car to take in the woods, thrash on some cool dirt trails or through some deep water and just explore nature in. And all the while, it’s entirely electric, so it’s not polluting the environment it’s actively exploring.

That’s just a cool idea, plain and simple. And the execution is awesome as well. The Audi AI:TRAIL looks fantastic, with its chunky tires and cool monopod body, and it boasts an awesome powertrain as well. It has an electric motor powering each wheel, making the most true-to-name Audi Quattro system to date.

Unfortunately, there’s a ‘but’. Audi is almost certainly not going to make it. The Audi AI:TRAIL is an awesome concept and one that captures imaginations, which is great, but it’s not something that makes much sense as a production car. Which, ironically enough, is why it’s so damn cool.