Audi is launching into a new design era: At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Marc Lichte, Head of Design, is presenting the Audi prologue concept car. Lichte is giving the Audi brand a new styling direction in the large coupe.
Design offensive: Audi prologue as a „signature car“
“When he moved to Audi, Marc Lichte launched a design offensive,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Development, who brought him to Ingolstadt in 2014. “His clear philosophy and precise understanding of Audi DNA let him develop a design strategy that is opening up entirely new perspectives for us. It is progressive and highly emotional; it expresses the technological competence and quality claim of the brand perfectly. The Audi prologue is its first proponent – it is a ‘signature car’ for Audi.”
Expressing progressive technology: the Audi design
Marc Lichte himself describes the character of the show car in this way: “Audi stands for sportiness, lightweight design and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. In the Audi prologue, we are expressing this know-how in a new form – we have put the sportiest car in the luxury segment on wheels. Our team took new approaches in both exterior and interior design.”
Audi design is now expressing progressive technology even more powerfully. The two-door coupe has a flowing, elegant shape in a sporty and taut design. Its forms and lines are unmistakable and introduce many new ideas. In the clear and unobstructed interior, the architecture melds with the display and operating concept to create a new type of unit. The entire front of the instrument panel is a large touch display, and a portion of the user interface operates with a new type of OLED display made of organic LEDs.
A foretaste of the future of Audi:
the Audi design
The show car’s technology combines power, comfort and efficiency. The 4.0 TFSI produces up to 445 kW (605 hp) of power and 750 Nm (553.2 lb-ft) of torque; it accelerates the Audi prologue from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.7 seconds. Its dynamic all-wheel steering, in which the rear wheels can turn up to five degrees, makes the large couple extremely responsive and stable while driving.
The Audi prologue is somewhat shorter and flatter than today’s production A8* with a length of 5.10 meters (16.7 ft), wheelbase of 2.94 meters (9.6 ft), width of 1.95 meters (6.4 ft) and height of 1.39 meters (4.6 ft). A dominant feature at its low front end is a Singleframe displaying the four rings that is integrated into the automobile architecture. The large radiator grille has been widened much more, and it is positioned lower than on today’s production models.
Its strong horizontal effect expresses an image of powerful dynamics. The cross bars have a finely structured diamond pattern, and their ends are split.
The headlights – shaped like wide, flat wedges – are located with their tips above the Singleframe. They present high-resolution Matrix laser technology: an innovation from Audi which opens up new approaches to headlight design and enables completely new functionalities. The pupils of the headlights are formed by a projection lens with a laser light source – they generate a matrix that illuminates the entire street in high resolution. Hovering beneath this element are five plastic lenses that are supplied with light via a glass fiber bundle, which are mounted to a lightweight structure and further extend the high-beam light. The new laser technology lets lighting designers create an extremely lightweight, compact and elegant eye-shaped form.
Audi quattro DNA visualized
Also new is the sculptural form of the air intakes under the headlights – the distinctive air intakes have diamond pattern screens in their interiors. A dynamically contoured blade, which is clearly separated from the bumper by a gap, elicits associations to motor sport. Mounted to it are two additional spoilers in glossy black, which give the show car an even stronger and wider stance on the road.
In side profile, its flowing silhouette expresses the character of forward motion in the Audi prologue. Balanced proportions put equal emphasis on the front and rear wheels – a clear reference to the quattro DNA of Audi. The powerful 22-inch wheels are set in widely flared wheel arches. They are fitted with tires of size 285/30. Each wheel’s ten intertwining Y spokes project a filigreed, three-dimensional and powerful image.
Edges above the wheel arches refer back to the Ur-quattro
A characteristic feature of the Audi prologue are the flared shoulders above the wheels, front and rear. Like the blisters of the original Audi Ur-quattro of the 1980s, they visualize the quattro drive – but they are no longer just added on, rather they are worked into the flow of the base architecture. In a side view, the shoulders form two gentle arcs above the wheels, which break up the somewhat lower shoulder line between the wheels.
Rear section drives the whole car forward
The rear section of the Audi prologue also breaks with conventions. It is angled in the driving direction and is reminiscent of the side and rear views of a luxurious yacht; the sickle-shaped seam between the side panel and the bumper emphasizes this dynamism. The edge of the trunk lid, which is executed as a discreet spoiler, picks up on the blister line coming from the side panel. Between the C-pillars, the rear window has a concave inward curve – it closes off the passenger compartment while enabling convenient cargo loading with the separate trunk lid. The Audi prologue unites the positive aspects of a saloon with the aesthetic highlights of a coupe.
Entire front of instrument panel becomes a display
A radically new type of display and operating concept is embedded in the elegant architecture. Across its full width, the front of the instrument panel is designed to be a display surface which integrates three touch displays. The driver-oriented display to the left of the steering wheel is used to control functions for lighting and assistance systems. The driver-oriented operating unit to the right contains media controls. The front passenger faces a widescreen display that is integrated into the full surface of the instrument panel; it is used to individually and conveniently control entertainment features.
The new type of front passenger display enables digital interaction between the driver and front passenger for the first time. A wiping movement by the passenger is all it takes to send pre-configured routes to the driver’s display and input them into the Audi virtual cockpit future.
The Audi virtual cockpit future offers a glimpse into the future of the digital cockpit: High-resolution displays and three mirrors generate a virtual stage on three levels – a fascinating view with visual depth. In the navigation view, the first level presents information that is important for driving; levels two and three generate the depth effect in the cockpit. Structuring the information on different levels makes it better organized and easier for the driver to comprehend. The content and colors of the Audi virtual cockpit future change as a function of driving style – in sporty driving, the display switches over to Sport mode with special presentation of the relevant information such as engine rpm, temperatures and charge pressure.
For Audi designers from the Color & Trim area, natural materials are the new luxury; all of the materials in the show car fascinate with their authenticity. The surfaces of the seats and seat backs, the dashboard, the console on the center tunnel and the armrests are covered in light-colored “passion” leather – a new soft grade of leather that emphasizes the natural characteristics of the animal hide.
Fuel consumption of the models named above:
Audi A8: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.3 – 5.9** (20.8 – 39.9 US mpg); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 264 – 144** (424.9 – 231.7 g/mi)