Once open, these doors afford access to the spacious, lounge-like interior of the Audi Q8 concept. Generously stretched lines lend the cockpit a sporty yet refined ambience. With its distinctly horizontal character, the instrument panel descends in steps toward the interior. The central control and display surfaces are integrated in what is known as the “black panel” — a glossy black strip framed by an aluminum clasp. When switched off, the screen is invisibly embedded in the surface, ensuring a harmonious flow of contours. When in operation, it blends seamlessly into the overall design idiom. The concept’s expressive styling is carried over into the ar rowshaped decorative inlays in the doors, where integrated delicate aluminum bars serve as door openers. From the pronounced side bolsters to the head restraints, the ergonomic sport seats are made up of segments that appear to be separate geometric entities. Once seated, you are surrounded by the “wrap-around,” which begins in the front doors and runs in a horizontal arc along the lower edge of the windshield. The surfaces are free of any interruptions by recesses or gaps.
“It is a maxim of ours, an element of our design DNA, to generate a feeling of lightness while creating as much space as possible,” explains Mattijs van Tuijl. He coordinated the various design disciplines that were called on to shape the interior of the Audi Q8 concept. In the new design, for example, this is achieved by abandoning the conventional structure of the center console and grouping elements together. The dashboard, which appears to float, interacts with the materials and finish to achieve the desired lightness of being. “We’re always looking for that extra millimeter — how we can combine parts and components to gain more space within a defined area, or at least create that impression.” With the Audi Q8 concept, the team of Audi designers that includes Sonja Forstreuter plays a key role.
Optimizing the user experience is a maxim that is firmly anchored in the four rings’ corporate strategy. And that applies in particular inside the car. The focus here comes in the shape of three letters: GUI. This refers to the digital graphical user interface in the total of seven displays used in the Audi Q8 concept, which makes it a direct interface with the customer. “Going forward, my Audi ID profile will adjust every Audi to my preferences and personalize my user interface by synching it with my smartphone, among other things. I will receive proactive suggestions. For instance, my Audi will ask if I want directions to my calendar appointment. At the same time, voice interaction will play a greater role. Even third-party apps will integrate seamlessly with the MMI dashboard that I can configure for myself. Everything must be simple and intuitive to operate,” says GUI designer Sonja Forstreuter, summarizing one of the Audi design principles. “Digital technology gives us flexibility in displaying content.” This quickly becomes apparent, for example, when it comes to controlling the air conditioning system. Only when a passenger gets into the vehicle does an air conditioning menu open for him or her in the center console’s control display. This approach of reducing to essentials in the digital displays is less distracting to the driver.