When the Audi A5 was launched in 2007, it didn’t just bowl the public over. Even its creator, usually a man more inclined to understatement, reached for superlatives: “It’s the most beautiful car that I have ever designed,” said Walter de Silva, head of Audi design at the time. And industry experts were no less effusive about the new coupé’s elegantly sporty design. It’s unanimous — the Audi A5 is probably one of the most magnificent grand tourers ever to be built. Today, the model is regarded as a momentous milestone in the development of the four rings’ aesthetic.
The privilege of shaping the second-generation Audi A5 exterior went to a team of three designers — Frank Lamberty, Jakob Hirzel and Stephan Fahr-Becker. In an in-house competition, their vision of the new Gran Turismo proved the most compelling. “An assignment like this is both a blessing and a curse. After all, the car is nothing short of an icon. Which meant that we had a conceptual decision to make — do we treat it with the greatest of deference, putting on the kid gloves, or should the new version make an equally fresh, distinctive statement?” says Frank Lamberty. “To have a hand in creating the new Audi A5 was a great honor,” adds Jakob Hirzel.
Four years ago, the team set to work on lending new shape to a contemporary classic. Right from the start, the exterior designer trio’s concept envisaged retaining the coupé’s iconic elements but further magnifying them to meaningful effect. This was above all the intention with the signature wave that sweeps over the wheel arches — something first seen when the Audi A5 premiered. Even today, this is instrumental to the car’s sporty, emotionally charged aura. To further accentuate the body’s three-dimensional muscularity side on, Hirzel and his colleagues added a bone — a rounded ridge below the wave — that creates an exciting shift in the play of light over the body. As Jakob Hirzel explains, “Below the ridge, the metal sheeting looks darker; above, it appears lighter. This produces a striking effect because it lends the entire car a brawnier, more athletic look.” An added upshot is that the eye is drawn to a lower focal point, making the coupé appear to crouch down closer to the tarmac.