Full-size class design

Nothing brings out similarities and differences quite like a family photo. While one oozes confidence and another flexes muscles, a third impresses with elegant looks. All three – the new A8, A7 Sportback and A6 – have undergone changes and their characters have now been brought more sharply into focus than ever before. And yet their shared DNA is unmistakable.

09/20/2018 Text: Maj-Britt Peters, photos: Thomas Dashuber, AUDI AG

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The design team - a family business

Just as the new full-size class cars make up a family, so do their designers. In both cases, the members could not be more different. Whether in looks, personality, perspective or source of inspiration – a wealth of different facets are combined. But as with shared DNA, they are all linked by the same goal: creating a custom-made suit that shows character, brings technology to life and truly adds currency to the Audi brand.

 

In 2014, the designers were tasked with developing a new design language – one that was bolder, more consistent and more nuanced. Challenge accepted! In 2017, the A8 heralded the launch of a new brand image. The dynamic proportions of the four-door A7 Sportback capture the essence of this new formal language. With its sporty, high-tech character, the A6 also delivers on the promise made by the Audi prologue. The success of this new departure was only possible because everyone pulled together.

So similar and yet so different

“To start with, we asked ourselves: What attributes do we want to use to differentiate the models?” explains design chief Marc Lichte. “The A8 is self-assured and upright at the front, the A7 Sportback is sporty and dynamic, while the A6 impresses with its athleticism.” To ensure that each of these cars ultimately expresses a coherent aesthetic, these traits must be carried through in every last detail. “Adhering to this clear vision from start to finish was a huge challenge,” adds interior designer Roland Pätkau.

The world as inspiration

Two cars were key influences on the designers: the first-generation Audi TT with its extremely slim, flat C-pillar and the Urquattro with its striking silhouette.  But that is not all. From zeppelins, through fashion, to architecture – the designers find inspiration everywhere in their surroundings.
“For me, the special thing about the work with our three cars was that we succeeded in creating a new brand aesthetic that still leaves scope for each vehicle to have its own individual character. I am very proud of what our team has achieved.”

“For me, the special thing about the work with our three cars was that we succeeded in creating a new brand aesthetic that still leaves scope for each vehicle to have its own individual character. I am very proud of what our team has achieved.”

Marc Lichte,
Head of Design

The new Audi design language

The new Audi design language stands out with its expansive surfaces, sharp edges and minimal decorative elements. Low slung and wider, the hexagonal Singleframe grille dominates the front end, defining all adjoining lines and surfaces. With their long wheelbase and equal emphasis placed on each wheel, the models make quattro visible. Form and function come closer together in the lighting design of the new full-size models. The interior is fascinating in its minimalism. It blends seamlessly with the new operating concept, which has virtually eliminated buttons and controls. It is quickly apparent: The new Audi full-size class is one thing above all else – sexy.

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