Head of Audi design, Marc Lichte, may have only joined the automaker last year after leaving Volkswagen, but he’s already implemented some major changes. Audi’s two latest concepts, the Prologue and Prologue Avant, are the result of Lichte’s work and point to the future of Audi design. What aspects of the concepts will make it to production is currently up for debate, but Lichte helped shed a little light on the matter in a recent interview with Car & Driver on the floor of the Geneva Motor Show.
The first production Audi to pull design cues from the Prologue will be the next-generation A8. Lichte says the car will usher in a new era of design for Audi and introduce an updated version of the automaker’s single-frame grille, first seen in 2004 on the A8 W12. The current version of the grille helped establish the brand’s present image, “but after 10 years and after one- or one-and-a-half generations of cars, now is the time to do a bigger step,” Lichte told C&D.
Lichte’s new styling cues will also be applied to the interior of all future Audis. The Prologue pointed at what’s to come from future Audi cabins, with Lichte saying they will use “almost no buttons anymore.” Instead, displays will integreated into the vehicle’s architecture and used to control vehicle functions. He also said “the technology is there” to swap standard display screens in cars out in favor of projector screens, however that technology likely won’t be implemented for quite some time.
Another interesting piece of information Lichte shared was that they “already designed the successor,” to the current A7. He said the second version of the fastback sedan “goes a different way” and added “it will be a lot more emotional, a lot more sporty.” We wouldn’t be surprised to learn the new A7 has also pulled design cues from the Prologue concept, but we’ll know for sure when it makes its debut.
As for the future of Audi’s Q line of SUVs, Lichte said it “will grow, a lot,” which is rather unsurprising considering the current demand for small and midsize crossovers. The current lineup, consisting of the Q3, Q5, and Q7, will grow to include a Q1 and Q8. The Q8 “could be” a coupe-type SUV designed to do battle with the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lichte said, adding that “it will be different from (Audi’s) competitors”.