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Audi Prologue concept: it's the new A9!
This rather slinky looking thing is the Audi Prologue. It throws the brand’s rigid naming structure to the wind because it’s currently a concept car.
But imagine it with A9 badges and slightly toned down chintz and you probably won’t be far off a future production model. A large one that’s stuffed with luxury to top the whole Audi range and rival the Mercedes S-Class Coupe, at that.
Officially a design concept - it paves the way for how all big Audis will look - it’s described as ‘the sportiest car in the luxury segment’. To hammer home the point, a 597bhp 4-litre petrol V8 feeds its Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
That’s Ferrari 458 Speciale power, and it endows the 5.1-metre, 1980kg Prologue with a 3.7sec 0-62mph time. The relevance of that in a concept car is negligible, but we like the fact there’s an engine in there at all. There are even claimed economy figures: 199g/km and 32.8mpg. Such meticulous planning suggests a production version is a certainty, we’d say. As well as a big old fight with the S63 AMG.
Further agility comes from a four-wheel steering system. The hallmark of complex 1990s Japanese coupes is suddenly fashionable, what with one of the greatest sports cars on sale, the 911 GT3 having it. The Prologue’s rear wheels can turn by up to five degrees, which can aids low-speed manoeuvrability and high-speed stability.
Being a design concept, there’s obviously plenty to talk about aesthetically too. You can make your own mind up on the success of its design, but there’s a mix of old and new that ought to please most audiences.
The ‘old’ comes in the shape of a side profile that A5 owners will be familiar with and wheel arch sculptures that give a nod to Audi’s rallying past.
‘New’ translates as a less upright grille design, giving the car wide presence (and a more intimidating look in your rear-view mirror, we’d wager), as well as intricate 22-inch alloys and a taillight design not dissimilar to the old Saab 9-5. Interesting.
Overall, though, it’s a more pert looking thing than an A7 or A8. It showcases more tech than them, too; the dashboard takes the TT’s virtual cockpit to a whole new level, with three screens able to display more information than you’re ever likely to need in hugely adjustable ways. It should be a boon once autonomous driving arrives and you need something to fiddle with, at least.
There are plenty of inspired touches: the car recognises drivers and passengers by their smart phones, and adjusts the seats to the positions they like. The rear headrests rise up when passengers climb in and retract when no one’s in the back.
The driver and front passenger can ‘digitally interact’, too, the latter sending information to the former via swiping motions. Helpful if you don’t like talking to each other. The co-pilot ought to be happier than in a TT, though; they get their own display to scroll through music with, making it a much less selfish experience for the driver.
Audi’s design boss Marc Lichte describes the Prologue as “a foretaste of the future of Audi”. So over to you. Do you like what you see?