Audi has officially unveiled its all-new Prologue concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show, giving us our first glimpse at the automaker’s fresh new design language. Cues seen on the Prologue are expected to trickle down through Audi’s portfolio, landing on the new A6, A7 and A8. It also hints at an all-new model from the brand, the rumored A9.
The prologue is the first new Audi designed by the brand’s new head designer, March Lichte. The front end is dominated by Lichte’s take on Audi’s singleframe grille, which is now wider and positioned lower than on other Audis, giving the Prologue a sportier look. Sitting just aft of the grille on either side are new wedge-shaped laser headlights, which sit above large air intakes.
Looking down the side of the Prologue, you’ll notice flared fenders housing all four wheels. These are reminiscent of the fenders on the Audi Ur‑quattro of the 1980s, and emphasize the Quattro all-wheel drive system which has become a staple of all Audis. The rear section of the Prologue is angled forward, making it look as if it’s in motion, and features a narrow strip of LED lights, a gloss black rear diffuser and twin trapezoidal exhaust tips.
The sleek and airy cabin is a large departure from anything an Audi customer has come to know and marks a new era in interior design at the Four Rings. An integrated touch screen displays runs horizontally across the entire cabin and uses Audi’s new ‘Butler’ entertainment system. The system recognizes passengers by their smart phone and adjusts the seats, climate control, music and more according to their preferences.
Unlike many concepts, Audi has actually detailed the Prologue’s powertrain, hinting at a possible plan for production. Under that low hood is Audi’s 4.0-liter TFSI V8 engine churning out 605 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. There’s also an overboost mode, which can be used for up to 15 seconds, bumping torque to 553 lb-ft. As a result, the stout 4,365 lb coupe will sprint from 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds, Audi estimates.
The highlight of the Prologue’s powertrain is its new 48-volt mild-hybrid system. A powerful belt-starter generator turns the powertrain into a hybrid, which can recover up to 12 kW of energy during braking. The system, which will soon be introduced on production Audis, helps the performance coupe achieve a combined fuel economy rating of 27.4 US MPG.