Audi has recently taken the wraps off the all-new Gen IV A8 luxury sedan. Unlike the past decade or so where model designs were getting very similar, the incoming top of the line sedan gets an all new exterior design language and Audi says this is just the beginning of a major design transformation policy.
As explained by CEO Rupert Stadler in an interview recently, “This [repetition] design process was used to make Audis more recognizable in newer and emerging markets. Now we are well known in major markets like China, we can begin to change this philosophy and give each car its own look.”
The brand explained making cars that look the same was necessary in China.
The good news is that the brand’s future models will continue to share some styling cues but they won’t be scaled copies of each other. Case in point is the A8 which is clearly recognizable as an Audi, has standalone styling and yet connected visually with the A4 and the A6.
Audi’s chief designer Marc Lichte is all for this newfound differentiation and helping in this direction is the company’s push towards electrification and new opportunities. “Design will go in a very different way,” Lichte says. “Designers will have more material space to play with, so we’ll be able to produce vehicles with shorter overhangs and lower bonnets. It makes for a more attractive design overall.”
The Q2 is Audi’s first step to more design flexibility. However, Lichte promises Audi’s biggest leaps forward will be the EVs that will follow the production-spec E-tron Quattro this year.