Audi Files Patent for Weird-Looking SUV Convertible Mechanism

Audi concertible SUV patent 9 photos
Photo: Audi patent via AutoGuide
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We can't even begin to tell you how grateful we are that the SUV craze hasn't spawned a convertible SUV spinoff. To be fair, we're a little surprised as well because if you're going to buy a mostly useless big vehicle, why not go all in and get the ultimate exercise in futility - a convertible SUV?
For a long time, the answer was "because there are none," and it pretty much remained unchanged since. Land Rover tested the water with the Range Rover Evoque convertible, but it's not going too brilliantly, and other than that the only other option would be the Jeep Wrangler with its multitude of roof options, but then you'd be getting into something a lot more hardcore.

Now that Audi appears to be interested in the possibility, the market for such a potential vehicle would grow significantly, especially since the Germans' design brings something new to the party. But before we go any further, it's worth bearing something in mind: this is just a patent application, so it might not translate into anything in the real world.

The design sent in by the Ingolstadt-based company shows a large SUV-like vehicle using a novel convertible folding mechanism. The drawing is sketchy, to say the least, which makes it a bit tricky to tell whether those two things poking out are supposed to be the two rows of seats or some sort of rollover protection.

We guess it's the former, which means the SUV would need something extra to keep the passengers' heads from scraping the asphalt in case it went wheels-up. The drawings show very long A-pillars which extend into some sort of a roof over the front seats. However, when the other two sections of the roof fold, the front one is left floating in the air, which not only makes it look weird but also raises doubts over its rigidity.

The other two roof sections - the middle one and the rear one - fold nicely and flat just behind the second row of seats, turning the SUV that once had C and D pillars into a more classic-looking convertible. The mechanism promises to take up less space in the trunk, but it might also make the rear of the car look a lot more massive.

It's not clear what exactly Audi has in mind - or, indeed, if it has any real-world plans for this patented design discovered by AutoGuide. Hopefully, the complexity of the mechanism, its weight, and the associated safety issues will keep it from ever entering production. And, trust us, we'd have our fingers crossed if we could still type that way.

But, and it's a big "but," given the torsional rigidity of an EV due to the battery pack installed in the floor and Audi's plans for two new electric SUVs, we could end up seeing this on one of its next models following the e-tron quattro and e-tron Sportback.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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