Until now, Audi's e-tron line of concept vehicles, including the e-tron Frankfurt, e-tron Detroit, and e-tron Spyder, have featured highly desirable, albeit conventional designs reflecting Audi's intention to put the vehicles into production over the next few years. With the latest e-tron branded concept vehicle intended purely as a technical study and not being based on any previous model the Audi designers have been freed up to make a departure from previous designs with the new Audi urban concept.

Audi says the Audi urban concept doesn't fit under any conventional vehicle categories, but combines elements of a racing car, fun car and urban car into one concept. As its name suggests, the urban concept is designed for congested urban environments. With an eye on efficiency the vehicle features a lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body and is driven by two e-tron electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery pack to provide what Audi claims is "sporty performance."

The vehicle features free-standing wheels with surrounding protective plates sporting blinking strips of LED lights. Occupants enter via the tailgate with the roof sliding to the rear to open. Inside, the steering wheel and pedals are adjustable to suit the driver's measurements.

The urban concept has room for two people in what Audi says is a 1+1 configuration, but instead of the one seat behind the other layout found in vehicles such as the Volkswagen L1, the urban concept places the seats next to each other but offset so the passenger is positioned slightly behind the driver. This seems a bit odd as it doesn't provide the aerodynamic advantages of inline seating and would make in-car conversations a bit awkward - although it will presumably provide the passenger with some extra leg room.

While Audi has so far only released artist's renderings of the Audi urban concept, the prototype is expected to be unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

View gallery - 6 images