Frank Stephenson is an excellent automotive designer. He’s been designing cars for decades, was labeled one the most influential automotive designers of our time by Motor Trends magazine and has penned some of the most incredible looking cars in recent memory, including the new MINI Cooper, E53 BMW X5, McLaren P1 and Ferrari F430. His new YouTube channel focuses on discussing design, both his and others’, and in this new video he breaks down recent concept car designs, including the Audi AI:ME and Audi AI:TRAIL.
Essentially, Stephenson just watches the reveals and press videos of each concept car and comments on their design and whether or not they’d be desirable vehicles in the real world.
While there are other cars in the videos, obviously, the two we’ll focus on are the Audi AI:ME; the fully-autonomous concept car Audi debuted a couple of years ago; and the Audi AI:TRAIL; the semi-autonomous, all-electric off-roader Audi revealed last year.
First up is the Audi AI:ME, which is a sort of autonomous pod for drivers and passengers to comfortably move around a city or suburban neighborhood in. It’s not very thrilling, nor does it have any stand-out design elements but it looks fine, according to Stephenson. He is happy to see an Audi without a “mahoosive” grille, though.
After a couple of other concepts, he makes his way to the Audi AI:TRAIL, which is honestly one of the most interesting concepts we’ve seen in a long time and Stephenson is more complimentary. He likes how it’s an off-road vehicle that doesn’t try to look like a military vehicle, as so many off-roaders do. It seems more practically designed for the act of actually driving off the road. He also likes how Audi is using outside technology to assist in driving the car, such as the overhead drones that light the road ahead and the mobile phone instrument panel. Though, he does say that he’d prefer not to have drones as the car’s primary source of lighting, as headlights should be doing that job well enough and he’s right.
Overall, it’s interesting to listen to Stephenson talk about design, as he’s an incredibly intelligent and accomplished designer. Check it out and watch some of his other videos, such as how he designed the Ferrari F430 or how he penned the E53 BMW X5 in just two hours, on a napkin, in an airplane…