The Audi Prologue Avant concept to be premiered at the Geneva motor show in March previews the stylistic direction for the company’s mainstream passenger cars going forward under new(ish) design chief Marc Lichte.
Continuing with a theme commenced at the LA motor show last November with the two-door Prologue Coupe concept, the Prologue Avant lays down the aggressive direction the Ingolstadt marque appears keen to head in with future wares.
In particular, the Avant shows what to expect of future Audi wagons — that said, the 2015 Audi A4 due later this year and designed pre-Lichte is unlikely to benefit overmuch — and also raises the prospect of Mercedes-Benz CLS-style Audi Shooting Brake sports wagons too.
We don’t know many details yet — the Coupe used a 445kW/700Nm 4.0-litre V8 with a new 48-volt electrical system providing hybridisation — but we can show you these official teaser shots that have been doing the rounds.
The star of the show here is the oversized hexagonal grille, signature LED lighting and large front air intakes. At the rear, twin exhausts are incorporated into the rear bumper. There are also prominent and muscular haunches.
It sort of harks to the 2012 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo concept.
This aggressive approach is in-line with Lichte’s determination to incorporate his favoured design traits including wide bodies, sharp haunches (emphasising Audi’s quattro underpinnings), small glasshouses and slimline headlights.
Lichte — who designed the Volkswagen Scirocco, by the way — told CarAdvice in Paris last year that: “I think now is the time to do a bigger step in Audi design”, adding that the first step would be the 2017 Audi A8.
Sketches show that the cabin follows on from the Prologue Coupe, which featured a radical cabin that merged the architecture with the operating system, with surfaces for displays and controls integrated seamlessly into the instrument panel and console.
With the Coupe, the display to the left of the steering wheel controlled the lighting and assistance systems while the unit to the right contained media controls. The front passenger faced a widescreen display that allowed them to access entertainment features.
The passenger display also enabled digital interaction between the driver and front occupant, allowing the passenger to create navigation routes, for example, and swipe them across to the driver’s display. A fourth display on the centre tunnel was used for climate control, handwriting input and other vehicle settings. The flexible screen consisted of an extremely thin, bendable OLED (organic light emitting diode) film.
Behind the steering wheel appears to be a version of Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’ instrument cluster, which displays content on different dimensional levels depending on its relevance to the driver, and changes colour based on driving style.
More details on the Prologue Avant will emerge at the Geneva motor show, from early March. We'll be there to bring you news from the Swiss show.