Audi prologue

After revealing a couple of teasers, Audi has finally pulled the wraps off what it claims will herald the future of the brand – the Audi prologue concept, set to make its debut at the LA Auto Show this week.

The first Audi styled by new design boss Marc Lichte (who designed the Mk5 Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Volkswagen Scirocco), the prologue is a large luxury coupé in the vein of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. It’s slightly shorter and lower than the current A8, measuring 5.1 metres long, 1.95 metres wide and 1.39 metres tall, with a wheelbase length of 2.94 metres. Unladen weight is listed at 1,980 kg.

At the front, there’s an exceedingly wide version of Audi’s signature six-point single-frame grille, flanked by narrow wedge-shaped Matrix laser headlights and sculpted air intakes. Under the grille is a slim, broad air inlet, a body-coloured splitter and twin gloss black spoilers on either side.

Audi prologue

Flared shoulders – reminiscent of the original Quattro – break up the otherwise clean bodyside, along with a concave cutout in the lower rocker and black side skirts. The rear, on the other hand, is dominated by a Citroën-esque concave rear windscreen, while wide LED tail lights and a diffuser with integrated twin trapezoidal exhaust outlets feature under it. Huge 22-inch Y-spoke wheels fill out the large haunches.

Inside, an emphasis has been placed, like the exterior, on the car’s width. The dashboard has an uninterrupted horizontal layout and is dominated by a full-width touch-sensitive display operating a wide range of controls, including the transfer of information between driver and passenger. On the driver’s side, the Audi virtual cockpit sits on top of this screen.

Another OLED touchscreen rises up from the transmission tunnel – the bendable design is said to improve ergonomics and retracts to fit flush with the console when not in use. The car’s intelligent software “butler” can even recognise each occupant from their smartphone and adjust the seats and climate control according to their individual preferences. All this is powered by a 48 V electrical system, which is coming to production Audis soon.

Audi prologue

Powering the prologue concept is a 4.0 litre TFSI biturbo V8 producing 605 hp and 700 Nm (750 Nm on overboost). Mated to an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, it flings itself from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, while returning 8.6 litres per 100 km and 199 g/km of carbon dioxide.

Under the skin, there’s adaptive air suspension with an independent five-link design both front and rear, all-wheel steering (with the rear wheels turning up to five degrees) and carbon ceramic brakes. The latter features 20-inch discs at the front, clamped by six-pot callipers.

At the moment, it’s anyone’s guess what this car is actually a prologue (excuse the pun) of, but reports – as well as its format and close proximity in dimensions to the A8 – suggests that it points to a new A9 coupé that will fight the aforementioned S-Class Coupe. BMW has also been eyeing a slice of the luxe two-door pie – it showcased the Pininfarina Gran Lusso concept at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este last year.