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Geneva show: Audi details future design

Conceptually obliged: Audi will bring styling elements found on a slew of its show cars – including the e-tron concept (left) and Q8 sport concept (below) – to its production vehicles in the near future.

New styling philosophies to spread across Audi range to further distinguish models

Audi logo9 Mar 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

AUDI will use its pair of Q8 coupe-like SUV concepts as a basis for its future design language which will allow for greater model differentiation, in contrast to the styling philosophy of compatriot rival Mercedes-Benz.

Speaking to Australian journalists at the Geneva motor show, Audi head of exterior design Andreas Mindt outlined some changes coming to impending Audi models, including the new A6 and A7 twins, as well as a next-generation A8 luxury limo, A1 micro car and Q3 small SUV.

“We said, in the future we want to separate the sportscars and the SUVs,” he said. “The SUVs have an octagon, an eight-pointed grille, and the RS5 (for example) has a six-pointed grille, so that’s the difference between both lines.

The rugged car is eight-pointed, the other car is six-pointed.”

Speaking specifically about the A4 and A5 twins, Mr Mindt said the cars wear different bonnets and front grilles, differentiating the former as a status car and the later as a dynamic vehicle – a design flourish which will make its way into the refreshed A6 and A7.

“A5 and A4, which has two different faces already, I think this is very important,” he said. “One is more status and for sure the next A8 will have the most status.” One design aspect featured on the Q8 sport concept which will make its way into future production models is its unique blue X-shaped headlights – which will be used to denote laser light technology.

“The laser light in the future will have a blue X. It will come into production later on, we will see this,” he said.

Other areas which will see an overhaul include the space below the headlights, which could be used for special features such as a headlight cleaning system.

“Later on, you will see some solutions, we have something in mind for this,” Mr Mindt said. “I can’t explain what but there will be a special function on there, maybe you can clean the front lights, something like this.”

However, designing future products also means designing around new and emerging technologies including electric drivetrains and expanded connectivity.

Mr Mindt confirmed future models will come with the option of cameras in lieu of side view mirrors – similar to what was seen on the Audi’s 2015 Frankfurt motor show e-tron concept – as traditional mirrors can add unwanted drag and noise to a car.

“Later when you see the electric driven cars, they have an issue with more noise,” he said. “You need to get the aerodynamics right and when you get rid of the wing mirror, then the car becomes quieter.

“Standard wing mirrors make the aerodynamics worse by 12 per cent, a wing mirror is like a pedal in the air and with and without, the difference is 12 per cent.

“It’s a big amount, if you need range in an electric driven car, to get rid of that, it gives you 10 miles and at the end of the day, this is crucial.”

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