You’re looking at Audi’s vision of the fully autonomous car future.
While Audi’s Sport Division revealed the new rear-wheel drive R8 and the new-generation RS4 Avant, the automaker’s core offerings at the Frankfurt Auto Motor Show consisted of concept cars alongside the new flagship A8. What you’re looking at here is the Audi Aicon, a sleek, futuristic-looking concept designed to preview the future of fully autonomous car tech beyond 2025. As such, the Aicon features Level 5 autonomy, meaning it can drive itself without any human intervention whatsoever.
If you’re expecting to find a conventional steering wheel and pedals when you step inside, prepare for a shock. Since there’s no B-Pillar, the opulent interior is accessed via opposed doors that open to the front and rear. Inside, there’s seating for four passengers with two individual seats that can swivel and a rear bench. Note the emphasis on passengers, because Audi’s future vision of the car will probably dismay driving enthusiasts. Audi describes the Aicon as an “autonomous luxury saloon of the future” that has “the luxurious ambiance of a first-class airline cabin”. Various touchscreens and controls are within reach, and even the windshield can be used to watch movies or start a video conference.
In keeping with the autonomous theme, there’s also a companion drone, and an AI assistant called PIA that recognizes passengers by their phones and activates personal settings accordingly. The glass roof panels can block out sunlight, while integrated OLED lights can be used for mood lighting. While it may seem to function more like an autonomous taxi than a personal car, the Audi Aicon’s striking exterior design takes its cues from models that make up the automaker’s current line-up. This is far from a generic-looking autonomous car, it’s an aggressive looking sports sedan riding on gigantic 26-inch wheels.
Measuring 17.9 feet long, the wheel base is 9.4 inches larger than the long version of the new Audi A8. Enhancing the comfort is pneumatic spring and damper suspension for a refined ride, and electric actuators at all four wheels minimize the body lean during cornering, accelerating or braking. Just because the Aicon isn’t operated by a human driver, don’t think Audi has skimped on the car’s performance. Power is provided by four electric motors producing a combined output of 350-horsepower, so you’ll be able to get to your business meeting on time. As for range, the Aicon can last up to 497 miles on a single charge.