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Futurism of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi, Mercedes and BMW

The automotive world is accelerating towards a very exciting future. Ideas that seemed completely unrealistic just a few years ago are achievable now. Some are almost with us. The public – finally a certain progressive element – is starting to warm up to the idea of ​​trusting a bit of technology to make the roads cleaner, safer and easier to get around. Shared transport ideas are also proving successful in most metropolitan areas. Who would have thought that adults (including this one) would have so much fun jumping on a scooter or bike – and with a welcome extra boost of electric power? It seems that city dwellers are thirsty for new ideas of mobility.

Traditional automakers were quick to join in the fun – and profit – too. Recently, Audi unveiled its electric scooter designed to encourage us to tap into our memories of skateboarding. Today, the brand unveiled its latest concept idea to take vorsprung durch technik forward into the future. Revealed last week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the AI:TRAIL completes Audi’s quartet of visionary vehicles as part of the company’s commitment to electrification, with one in three cars of the fleet sustainably powered by 2025.

The “AI” in the name refers to Audi’s investigation of artificial intelligence and machine learning for fully automated driving. And each of these cars has its own function: the AIcon is a luxury car, the AI:ME a compact electric car for megacities, the AI:RACE a clean racing machine and the AI:TRAIL quattro a electric off-roader. The design is clean and clear – helicopter-style glass surrounds the cabin, extending to ground level, for all-round visibility designed to excite the explorer in us.

Marc Lichte, Head of Design, says of the AI:TRAIL: “We present an off-road concept with emission-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads. In line with this, we designed a monolithic base vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection with the surroundings.

Likewise, Mercedes-Benz has also forged an exciting electric future. This Vision EQS luxury sedan concept was also unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, signaling where the brand is aiming to go with the partially self-driving, fully electric S-Class of the near future. The car will top the EQ electric sub-brand and marks the first use of the Mercedes EV platform. It is also part of plans to unveil 130 electrified cars by 2030.

The EQS design is futuristic enough without losing sight of the reality that the aesthetics of luxury may not be as radically different as they are today. Lighting design plays a key role here with a light strip wrapping the width of the car, incorporating holographic headlight modules. The digital grille has a light matrix of 188 individual LEDs and a 229-star Mercedes star. The EQS retains a steering wheel, but offers, we’re told, level three autonomous tech for assisted driving.

Less conceptual but nonetheless striking is the Concept 4 – a forward-looking coupe from rival brand BMW. The vertical grille seen here is a preview of the new face of the 4 Series 2020 cut. “It presents a confident and elegant approach to this iconic feature,” says design manager Domagoj Dukec, explaining the evolution of the brand’s signature nostril grille. There are also some interesting details here: the complex grille inside the grille and the air intakes contain an array of small 4 numbers, and the slim light elements are without glass covers.

BMW is also committed to electrification – after all, it was one of the first of Germany’s ‘big three’ automakers to create the bespoke i electric sub-brand. Vision Next cars explore future design – Vision iNext examines the ways in which autonomous driving will change life inside cars, while the Vision M Next concept represents the future of BMW’s performance M arm. Who says eco travel has to be boring or slow.

Discover the highly anticipated land rover defender, also revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Learn more about Audi’s electric future here and BMW’s sustainability plans here with exclusive executive interviews.

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