Digital Trends recently interviewed Marc Lichte, chief designer at Audi, to talk about the prologue concept and what it means for future Audi vehicles. Audi showed the prologue concept last month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
It’s an interesting interview because it shows that the prologue bends the rules of what a concept vehicle should do. Most concepts take at least a year to create; Lichte and his team did it in four and a half months. Most concepts are made before the next generation of vehicles; the prologue was made after the next generation had already been designed.
In fact, the next generation A6, A7 and A8 are already settled on. The prologue concept is actually a composite of all three vehicles. Most concepts are highly unique and bear little to no relation to any future production models; the prologue concept has elements from the future A6, A7 and A8, all melded into a single form.
You might remember that this is what Audi did with the shooting brake concept earlier this year. The shooting brake concept was actually a preview of three future production models: the Q1, the 2016 TT, and Audi body styles that use plug-in hybrid electric drivetrains. This last bit is extremely important to Lichte.
For most automakers, PHEV is just a new, fuel-saving technology that can be slapped into their new models to appease government efficiency rules. For Audi, the entire body and shape of a vehicle, and therefore its aesthetic and visual appeal, is entirely dictated by the drivetrain.
For example, take Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. Because the front and rear ends must be equally balanced for the system to work, the engine must sit further forward in the front than usual. This lengthens the hood, and affects the overall visual balance of the vehicle. If you start adding electric motors or hybrid drivetrains, that will affect the body, which is Lichte’s job to sort out.
It’s a fascinating interview, and shows how deeply Audi thinks about its products. To taste the current crop of Audi vehicles for sale in Raleigh, come by Audi Raleigh.