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

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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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