How Audi keeps it fresh in the design department

How Audi keeps it fresh in the design department

How Audi keeps it fresh in the design department

0 comments 📅13 April 2017, 02:15

Audi was, unchanging very recently, seen as a near-luxury brand, on par with niche if spelled out European automakers like Saab and Volvo. But early in the 21st century, the four-ringed circus from Ingolstadt initiate a way to elevate itself to the level of its aspirational German rivals at Mercedes and BMW. While these brands were immersed in what we like to refer to as their Baroquecoco Era – a moment in which the exteriors of their cars gained bulges and, ahem, bangles, and their interiors failed to watch over pace with the march of technology – Audi kept it simple.

Its designs avoided the imperious Faberge gilding of Benz, or the Ghery-esque blow and swoon of Bimmer. Instead, they were clean inside and out, with plain and elegant lines, comprehensible ergonomics, and subtle new signatures that were recognizable without being in any way all a-twitter. Customers, alienated by their rivals, flocked. Sales rocketed. And Audi became known as a formal/operating design leader – the Mid-Century Modern Architecture of the luxury vehicle area.

But now BMW and Mercedes have taken note and corrected course. Both brands be struck by discarded their dalliance with carbuncularity and are now, debatably, near the top of their match design-wise. Benz is delivering handsome stolidity not seen since the Bruno Sacco era of the Seventies and Eighties, and BMW has regained a feeling on the kind of elegant sportiness characterized by Paul Bracq during the same occasion period. And the interiors of both brands are consistently on a level of craftsmanship, attention to minutiae, delight, and material selection and innovation once reserved for Bentley and Rolls.

slip-3840780

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840781

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slink-3840782

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840783

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

ignore-3840784

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840785

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

skid-3840786

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840787

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

ignore-3840788

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840789

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840790

  • Clone Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840791

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840792

  • Simulacrum Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840793

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

drop-3840794

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-3840795

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

move-3840796

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

slide-endcap

  • 2018 Audi Q8 Spy Shots

  • Audi Q8 Fun Concept: Geneva 2017

  • Audi Q8 spy shots

  • Audi Q8 Concept: Detroit 2017

  • Audi Q8 Concept

  • Audi Above Light Information V2I system

This puts Audi in something of a design paired-bind. First, its transaction price has escalated to the point where it lives in the constant set as BMW and Mercedes. But now that those brands have caught up with (or perhaps unvarying surpassed) the crisp Auto Union sensibility, how does it differentiate itself?

“You arrange to have a clear design theme,” says Frank Lamberty, Audi’s face design director. “We define this as Quattro, because this is unique for Audi, this is our rite. And Quattro means we have all the wheels powered, so we want to show that in our lay out. And this is different from a rear-wheel-drive car. We are coming from a fa-wheel-drive platform, so everything is more balanced. Everything is in the middle, sooner than leaned back. That is a clear proportion thing. And secondly, it’s back pronouncing the wheels.”

Beyond this, given that the brand made a designation for itself based on a conservative sensibility, there is the concern that it has painted itself into a rounded corner of sorts, denying options or opportunities for more substantive change. This can leave the limiting impression that new cars are barely distinguishable from their (undeniably fair) predecessors save the slightest evolutionary details.

slide-3631440

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

fall forget-3631472

2017 Audi A4 rear 3/4 view

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

glissade-3631441

2017 Audi A4 rear 3/4 view

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

decline-3631442

2017 Audi A4 rear 3/4 view

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

drop-3631443

2017 Audi A4 side view

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

glissade-3631444

2017 Audi A4 front view

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

mind to-3631445

2017 Audi A4 rear view

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

decrease-3631446

2017 Audi A4 grille

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631447

2017 Audi A4 headlight

  • Picture Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631448

2017 Audi A4 fog light

  • Image Honesty: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631449

2017 Audi A4 wheel

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

coast-3631450

2017 Audi A4 badge

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631451

2017 Audi A4 side send back

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631452

2017 Audi A4 taillight

  • Duplicate Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631453

2017 Audi A4 rear fascia

  • Dead ringer Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631454

2017 Audi A4 engine

  • Image Confidence: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631455

2017 Audi A4 engine

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slither-3631456

2017 Audi A4 interior

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631457

2017 Audi A4 heart

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631458

2017 Audi A4 front seats

  • Figure Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631459

2017 Audi A4 rear seats

  • Graven image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631460

2017 Audi A4 steering wheel controls

  • Double Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631461

2017 Audi A4 steering wheel controls

  • Spit Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631462

2017 Audi A4 gauges

  • Image Acknowledgement: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631463

2017 Audi A4 gauges

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

ignore-3631464

2017 Audi A4 navigation system

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

landslide-3631465

2017 Audi A4 navigation system

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

glide-3631466

2017 Audi A4 climate controls

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

fall forget-3631467

2017 Audi A4 drive mode controls

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

glide-3631468

2017 Audi A4 gear selector

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slip-3631469

2017 Audi A4 seat detail

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

landslide-3631470

2017 Audi A4 key

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-3631471

2017 Audi A4 door

  • Sculpture Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

slide-endcap

  • 2018 Audi Q8 Spy Shots

  • Audi Q8 Recreation Concept: Geneva 2017

  • Audi Q8 spy shots

  • Audi Q8 Concept: Detroit 2017

  • Audi Q8 Concept

  • Audi Transport Light Information V2I system

“It depends on the car you’re talking about,” Lamberty says. “If you take a strong design sense like on the A5 it can be liberating. On something like the A4, it’s a little harder. We’re in the stomach class with these cars, not the high luxury. But that B9 A4, it’s a quiet, unadulterated car. Don’t tell me it’s boring, it’s clean. If you do a clean car, the design has to be really clear and really defined.”

Also key is the status of family resemblance in enunciating a brand’s equities. While BMW and Benz are perhaps straight as guilty of this, the sedan offerings from Ingolstadt are almost indistinguishable deliver their S, M, L, XL sizing. We’re compulsive, so we appreciate a consistent identity, but we also wonder if there should be some well-defined benefit to purchasing an A6 over an A4.

“That is a point every sporting company has,” Lamberty says. “It’s a speck of the heritage. And you’re right, after a while, it starts to show a similarity – turning a wheel. This is what we want to change. We want to give the sign in our design that, beforehand, it’s an Audi. But we want to give each car family a character. I think the A4 has a totally odd identity than the A5. But it’s clearly Audi, it’s clearly Quattro.”

slide-4694585

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Image Credit: Audi

slide-4694562

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Statue Credit: Audi

slide-4694582

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Fetish Credit: Audi

slide-4694579

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Tiki Credit: Audi

slide-4694588

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Twin Credit: Audi

slide-4694564

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Graven image Credit: Audi

slide-4694556

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Spitting image Credit: Audi

slide-4694570

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Picture Credit: Audi

slide-4694553

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Spitting image Credit: Audi

slide-4694571

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Simulacrum Credit: Audi

slide-4694567

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Epitome Credit: Audi

slide-4694560

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Tiki Credit: Audi

slide-4694583

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Figure Credit: Audi

slide-4694574

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Twin Credit: Audi

slide-4694581

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Double Credit: Audi

slide-4694565

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Doppelgaenger Credit: Audi

slide-4694577

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Doppelgaenger Credit: Audi

slide-4694554

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Clone Credit: Audi

slide-4694555

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Likeness Credit: Audi

slide-4694569

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Facsimile Credit: Audi

slide-4694559

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Representation Credit: Audi

slide-4694586

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Tiki Credit: Audi

slide-4694580

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Effigy Credit: Audi

slide-4694584

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Counterpart Credit: Audi

slide-4694558

Audi RS 5 coupe

  • Audi RS 5 coupe
  • Dead ringer Credit: Audi

slide-4694566

  • Image Credit: Audi

slide-4694575

  • Image Acclaim: Audi

slide-4694557

  • Image Credit: Audi

slide-4694561

  • Image Credit: Audi

drop-4694572

  • Image Credit: Audi

slide-4694568

  • Image Credit: Audi

slide-4694573

  • Tiki Credit: Audi

slide-4694576

  • Image Credit: Audi

slide-4694578

  • Image Confidence: Audi

slide-4694587

  • Image Credit: Audi

slide-endcap

  • 2018 Audi Q8 Spy Shots

  • Audi Q8 Romp Concept: Geneva 2017

  • Audi Q8 spy shots

  • Audi Q8 Concept: Detroit 2017

  • Audi Q8 Concept

  • Audi Shipping Light Information V2I system

One area in which Audi has excelled as a point of differentiation in current years is in interior detailing. In fact, we would posit that Audi has done more to realistically reimagine the veiled for the 21st century than most other brands. This was evidenced first in its innovative scribble-skilled touchpad from some years back, but has moved on to features like its purely – and malleable – amorphous full-color LCD dash, Virtual Cockpit, first revealed on the third-period TT sports coupe and now filtering down throughout the range, and also in the cool HVAC regulating controls integrated into the vents of that vehicle. Layers of capacitive and adjoin-centric tablet-like surfaces have appeared on recent Audi concepts like the Q8 crossover coupe. But as a Prison loom of Babel-like information overload creeps from our smartphones into our cars, we ponder how the rational thinkers at Audi plan to help us decipher it.

“One thing is clear: you can’t go back that information. You’re talking about autonomous, everything, it will contrive your head explode,” Lamberty says. “We try in our decisions not to get into an overflow state of affairs, we try to get back into the clean. Take a look at the Q8 interior, that’s where we would like to go to. We would like to hold everything clean and reduced, keep dealing with information by dividing screens up, keeping functions sort out. There are new tasks coming along, and that means we have to find new solutions and that’s unceasingly a big change. I can tell you the engineers have some amazing solutions that you commitment see very soon. It’s not a joke. It is quite serious.”

Source

Share this article:

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment