Audi showcases Prologue concept car in Miami
Design Miami 2014: Audi's new head of design has created his first concept car for the brand, which is on display at this year's Design Miami event (+ movie).
Featuring a flowing shape punctuated by defined lines and a spacious interior, the two-door Audi Prologue show car introduces a new design era for the German manufacturer under its recently appointed head of design, Marc Lichte.
The radiator grille has been widened from previous Audi models and integrates the brand's four-ringed emblem into the vehicle's structure, while high-resolution laser technology allows for the headlights to take a slender and wedge-shaped form.
Air intakes are positioned under the headlights and separated by a gap – a feature commonly found on sport vehicle designs – and the Prologue's side profile appears balanced equally between the front and rear, visually referencing Audi's Quattro drivetrain system.
"Audi stands for sportiness, lightweight design and the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive," explained Marc Lichte. "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."
Small aluminium mirrors integrate open-door sensors, so the handleless doors open automatically when they sense someone approaching.
The vehicle's rear is dominated by LED brake lights, which run across the entire width of the car. Each light is housed behind a three-dimensional glass panel designed to exaggerate its appearance, improving safety by making the light appear to move towards the observer.
The Prologue's engine powers the vehicle from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour (62.1 miles per hour) in just 3.7 seconds and also features an "overboost" mode, offering more power to the driver for a maximum of 15 seconds.
Fuel consumption is kept efficient due to a new 48-volt subsystem – a technology that will soon be introduced to production cars at Audi – that utilises recovered energy captured as the vehicle brakes.
Inside, the vehicle's "butler" – a software program that identifies passengers based on their smartphones – welcomes them politely and adjusts seating preferences, climate-control settings and music accordingly.
Uninterrupted horizontal lines keep the interior space uncluttered visually, while also emphasising the width of the vehicle. The rear bucket seats are lowered when not in use and automatically extend when a passenger enters to allow for easy access.
A driver-orientated display used to control lighting and assistance systems is positioned to the left of the steering wheel, while another to the right of the steering wheel is dedicated to media controls.
A display in the front allows passengers to interact digitally with the driver for the first time in an Audi, enabling pre-configured directions and routes to be swiped over to the driver's display.
A fourth display, ergonomically adapted to the driver, is used for handwriting input and other vehicle settings. When not in use the display sits flush to the central console and is nearly invisible.
"When he moved to Audi, Marc Lichte launched a design offensive," says Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for development.
"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."
The Audi Prologue was launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November and is currently on show as part of Design Miami.
Previous Audi concept cars featured on Dezeen include one that drives itself through traffic jams and parks by itself, as well as a futuristic design created for a sci-fi film.