Edgy Audi Prologue Reveals New Design Language

Concept will serve as theme for next A6, A7 and A8 models.

by on Nov.19, 2014

Audi's Prologue was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show today. The concept will influence future Audi models, executives said.

When Audi released advanced sketches of its Prologue Concept, it seemed unlikely it would actually translate the exotic design into sheet metal. But the maker more than delivered, as a standing-room-only crowd discovered during the Audi news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

And while many over-the-top show cars traditionally vanish from sight once the spotlight is dimmed, luxury buyers will continue to see the influence of the new Audi Prologue for years to come, officials revealed – though not directly in production form, as some had anticipated.

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While not meant to reveal plans for an all-new flagship coupe, the Prologue, “is more than a show car for Audi,” revealed Marc Lichte, the maker’s new design chief. “Prologue is a teaser for our next generation A6, A7 and A8” models.

According to Lichte, the concept vehicle represents a “new core design language” for a brand that has used styling as a critical advantage in recent years. From an also-ran in the global market, Audi is now generating global sales on a par with key rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW. And after years lagging the pack in the U.S. market, it has recently jumped into the upper tier.

Audi executives show off the Prologue concept in Los Angeles.

The very first design developed by Lichte since taking the lead styling slot at Audi, the Prologue is a low-slung coupe nearly the size of an Audi A8 sedan.

It retains the familiar Audi single frame grille, though giving it lower and wider proportions to keep with the overall look of the Prologue.

The shoulder lines of the concept have been dropped markedly, actually dipping lower than the wheel wells, with an almost chopped roofline that gives it proportions not unlike the maker’s R8 supercar.

“It’s a lot more muscular,” explained Lichte, adding his goal of visualizing the familiar Audi Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

“We tried to create tension between the upright front end and the very fast rear end that makes it look like it is pushing the car forward,” he said.

The new Prologue will provide design cues for other Audi models in the years to come.

The new look is one of the most significant shifts in Audi styling in more than a decade, but it doesn’t entirely abandon the familiar lines of the previous era – which was perhaps best translated into sheet metal with the launch of the current Audi A5 and A7 models.

(Audi A9 renderings reveal new Grand Touring coupe. For more, Click Here.)

The interior of the new Audi Prologue also is meant to show where the maker is going. That’s a tall order considering Audi has routinely been hailed as one of the singular benchmarks for automotive interior design.

(Click Here for details about the Mazda6 makeover for 2016.)

Notably, Lichte said a key goal was to simplify the cabin of the Prologue by migrating to more high-tech touch controls. Whether that strategy will work remains to be seen. Audi’s current MMI infotainment controller has often been criticized – as have other makers who have attempted to eliminate traditional knobs and buttons without taking into account customer usability.

(To see more about Jaguar giving the F-Type a manual transmission and all-wheel drive, Click Here.)

But there’s little doubt from the wild initial reaction given to the Prologue after its LA Auto Show unveiling that Lichte has scored a strong hit with the design of the concept vehicle. The real proof, however, will come when the next-generation Audi A6, A7 and A8 models make their debuts.

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