Audi’s new design icon to debut in LA

Is this our first sight of the rnage-topping A9?

It may be a bit vague at the moment but this is the shape of Audis to come, and possibly our first sight of what will become the range-topper for the entire Audi line-up.

Due to make its debut at the upcoming Los Angeles motor show, this concept will be the first brick in an entire new wall of Audi styling. Ingolstadt won't be throwing any design babies out with the bathwater of course - the conservative luxury car market just won't accept anything too radical, but while the big central grille and narrow headlights motif will continue , we can expect the overall shape and detailing to evolve.

To judge from this obfuscative image, it looks as if the wheelarches of future Audis will become much more pronounced, almost separated from the body (a nod to the original Quattro coupe perhaps?) while the bonnet shape also looks squarer and less curved.

Speaking to Auto & Design magazine, which scooped the photo, Audi's design boss Mark Lichte said that "the importance of this concept car lies mainly in the fact that it will be seen as a manifesto for the four-ring brand's new formal language: "Audi here is placing the accent even more firmly on the sporting dimension, something that will characterise the whole upcoming generation of cars."


It's not just a styling exercise though. Ahead of the recent Paris motor show, rumours were already swirling of a new Audi concept car that would skip the French show and head straight to LA, and that it would be a preview of a forthcoming A9 Sportback - a car that will sit above the A8 in the current range and be a direct competitor to the likes of the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. Judging from the image, this concept appears to have a steeply-sloping hatch at the rear and a low-slung, coupe-like window-line, so don't be surprised at all to see it wearing A9 badges when the covers are taken off in the City Of Angels on November 21st.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring