Guess what the reason is.
There's no question Audi's design department has been on a roll lately. The new Audi RS6 Avant, RS Q8, and e-tron Sportback are just a few examples. Under the design direction of Marc Lichte, Audi has finally broken free of not only the so-called "Russian doll" styling pattern but has also successfully separated itself from the Volkswagen Group's styling influence. Today's Passat looks a lot less like an A6 than previously. And due to further advances in powertrain technology, specifically electrification, Audi's styling direction will likely be changing again.
Speaking to Audi exterior design chief Andreas Mindt, Autocar learned that the design of future Audi EVs has to be fully decided upon. Aside from the upcoming 2021 e-tron GT (a cousin to the Porsche Taycan), additional EVs from the German luxury and performance brand are still a bit of a mystery.
"We have a big decision to make on how EVs look," Mindt said. "It's a myth that electric cars don't need cooling and they don't need a face – it's not true. The battery and motor with this level of performance needs the cooling. It's also a myth that electric cars need a short (hood) and a long A-post. If you do that, the dashboard gets bigger and you have more heat inside the car from the size of the glass windscreen. Then you can't get the heat away as the energy management in an electric car is very low."
Clearly there are many design decisions Audi needs to work out, and both consumer preferences and engineering requirements will help dictate them.
However, Mindt already has a few ideas, specifically with the front grille. "Our belief is to invert everything, with the grille and the grille surround. So the grille isn't a black hole any more. The volume inside the grille instead shows the battery is bright, and then the surround is a black mask around it. Being black means we can hide the sensors in there, and it's not easy to hide sensors. This is very clever. You can still recognize it as an Audi even at 100 meters."
Eventually, Audi will present us with a clearer picture of additional EV design ideas with new concepts, some of which will debut later this year.