In the Los Angeles Auto Show 2014, Audi debuted its Prologue concept car, which aims to feature the new design direction of the company's upcoming vehicles.
Marc Lichte, the design chief of Audi and a design graduate of Volkswagen, now has full influence on the look of Audi.
Why does Audi, the second-biggest brand of luxury vehicles in the world -- behind only BMW -- and the source of 40 percent of the total profit of the Volkswagen Group, need to make changes to its aesthetic direction?
"Never sit still," Lichte said, showing the mindset that has made Audi one of the most revered brands in the automobile industry.
The expectations of observers from new models released by Audi have diminished over the previous years, as differentiation between the vehicles has lessened. While all the vehicles are attractive and feature trademark Audi designs, the cohesion in the look could backfire and leave little chance to differentiate between the vehicles.
This is especially relevant in Audi's sedan classes, where the price difference between the A3 sedan and the top-of-the-line A8 sedan reaches more than $100,000.
According to Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for development at Audi, Lichte began a "design offensive" and developed a new strategy for Audi.
"It is progressive and highly emotional; it expresses the technological competence and quality claim of the brand perfectly," said Hackenberg, referring to the design that is now realized in the Prologue concept car.
Major influences for Lichte's team include what was going on under the hood, as engineering considerations received priority in the new designs. The new Audi aesthetic now looks to express highly progressive technology in an even more powerful manner.
The shape of the two-door Prologue is elegant and flowing, while still looking taut and sporty. The forms and lines used in the concept vehicle introduce several new design ideas into Audi cars.
The interior of the Prologue builds on the changes in the exterior by melding the vehicle's architecture with its display and operating components. The whole face of the instrumental panel is made up of a touchscreen display, with part of the user interface operating with a new kind of OLED display that uses organic LEDs.
The power of the vehicle is not compromised, with a 4-liter twin-turbo engine packing 445 kilowatts or 605 horsepower and 750 Nm or 553.2 lb.-ft. of torque. The Prologue accelerates from 0 to 100 kph or 62.1 mph in 3.7 seconds. The car also features dynamic all-wheel steering that allows the wheel at the rear to turn up to five degrees, adding extreme responsiveness to the large couple and more stability during driving.
Details on where Audi will go from the revelation of the Prologue were not disclosed amid rumors that the concept vehicle can spawn an entirely new model. However, Lichte did say that the design cues in the Prologue will be added into Audi's A8 sedan in the 2016 model year.