Flagship

Audi Unveils Prologue Concept in LA: Biggest Hint Yet the A9 is Just Around the Corner

Audi's next generation of styling is also heavily previewed here.

Audi will launch the A9 in 2016, when the flagship luxury coupe will go up against the likes of the Mercedes S-Class Coupe. As well as providing a hint of what to expect of the range-topping two-door, the Audi Prologue Concept, unveiled at the LA Auto Show this week, previews the carmaker’s future design direction, various chassis developments and what we may find in the fourth-gen A8.

The svelte four seater ticks all the right modern design boxes. It’s elegant, yet muscular, low-slung with a chiseled body and crisp crease lines. At the front, a heavily revised single-frame grille is wider and sits lower than those on existing Audi models, while massive 22-inch alloys are framed in large fenders with flared blisters giving it an aggressive stance while emphasizing the Quattro AWD system. Slim line matrix laser beam headlamps and electromechanically-operated doors that eliminate the need for door handles are other neat touches. Powering the huge aluminum and high-strength steel body is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 rated at just under 600 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque (553 lb-ft with overboost).

Mated to an eight-speed auto and Torsen four-wheel drive system with rear torque vectoring, the result is a theoretical 3.7-second 0-62 mph time. The 1,980-kg coupe also boasts cylinder on demand and uses a 48-volt electrical system providing “mild hybrid capability” that recovers energy under braking for improved fuel efficiency. The next A8 will adopt these new developments. Inside, a full width instrument panel features numerous touchscreens for driver and front passenger. A “butler” service also identifies the driver by their cell phone, automatically adjusting the seat, climate, radio, and sat-nav to their preferences. Audi says around 80 percent of the concept’s design will feature in future production vehicles.

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