Paving the way for Audi's new perspective in automotive design is the Prologue concept car which was revealed today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. First previewed last October 15, 2014, the Prologue concept marks Audi's launch into a new era of design as it is the first car that was designed by the company's new Head of Design, Mark Lichte.
Superficially, the car is shorter and flatter compared to the current A8 according to Audi as it has body dimensions that measure 5110 mm in length, 1950 mm in width, 1390 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2940 mm. The body is constructed out of aluminum and ultra-high-strength steel with some of its parts like the door mirrors and window frames made entirely out of aluminum. Its front end features a wider radiator grill and what Audi calls the Singleframe that displays the brand's signature four rings. Its headlights are wedge-shaped and utilize a proprietary high-resolution Matrix laser technology that provides better illumination.
The side profile of the Prologue concept expresses forward motion as the concept features flared shoulders while the edges of the wheel arches were inspired from the 1980s Ur quattro. The doors, fenders, and rear side panels accentuate muscular shapes while the side sills are drawn inwards. There are no door handles as they are electro-mechanically controlled when the illuminated door sensors are touched. The rear section features 3D glass LED taillights that run the entire width of the car, a discreet spoiler on the trunk lid and a diffuser that is made of glossy black aluminum.
The interior also gets the new design treatment as the architecture combines with the operating concept to form one unit. Audi based the cabin on a Gran Turismo layout that enables sporty driving and relaxed touring. As the driver and/or passengers aboard the cabin, the 'Butler', Audi's intelligent software for the car greets and identifies them by recognizing their smartphones. It then immediately adjusts the seats, climate control and recommends their preferred music and route planning. Its instrument panel integrates 3 touch displays. On the left, it controls lighting and assistance, the right governs media controls and the center features a widescreen display that regulates entertainment features.
The seats, trim, dashboard and center console are covered in a light colored 'Passion' leather, a new soft grade of leather that highlights the natural feel of animal hide. The back of the seats and the side panel trim on the other hand use Nubuck leather.
Under the hood is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo TFSI V8 engine that cranks out 605 PS with 700 Nm of torque and is connected to a 8-speed automatic gearbox that drives all four wheels. It can propel the 1,980 kg car from 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds and it averages 11.6 km/l. Audi also noted that the car only has a carbon emission of 199g/km thanks to the 48 volt system that enables the car to perform like a mild hybrid and has an energy recovery output of up to 12kw when braking. Audi plans to make the 48 volt system standard for their future cars.
Other technologies present in the car is a new 5-link suspension system that works in tandem with an adaptive air suspension system, carbon-fiber ceramic brakes with 20-inch front rotors capped by six-piston calipers and all-wheel steering that enhances driving dynamics and ride quality, depending on speed.