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Audi concept serves tantalising taste of the future

Car Buyer logo Car Buyer 16/04/2017 Chris Haining
Audi concept serves tantalising taste of the future © Carbuyer Audi concept serves tantalising taste of the future

Audi has released sketches of an e-tron-branded car it has developed, inciting rumours that a show-stopping concept model is on its way.

The images offer the strongest hints yet as to how the next generation of Audis will look, and will fuel further speculation as to what they’ll have under the bonnet. Five images have been issued, the first three of which are two-dimensional studies, straight from the drawing board. They show a design that has clearly been refined a long way from the initial sketch phase.

The last two close-cropped images are computer renderings, and these usually come about when a car is nearing the end of the concept design phase – which often means that a show car is about to be unveiled. The Frankfurt Motor Show later this month would be an ideal opportunity for Audi to take the wraps off something new, significant and exciting.

The car in these images carries a look that’s far from from the evolutionary style of the past. Some of the sharp, aggressive lines of the initial sketches might not have survived translation from sketchpad to rolling concept, but the heavy emphasis over the wheelarches (hinting at Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system being employed), the sculpted sides and full-width rear lights will be key features of the show car.

Most tantalisingly, the nose treatment of the car has more in common with Audi’s R8 supercar than any of its current saloons and SUVs, with narrow LED or laser headlamps skulking in the corner of a wide full-width aperture with cooling ducts at either end. Notably, the traditional slatted Audi grille is all but absent, with only a narrow bonnet-mounted venturi slot for airflow-management purposes. Below that, an illuminated Audi badge lends science-fiction appeal, while a solid, textured section points to the absence of a conventional front-mounted radiator.

This might be explained by the e-tron branding shown in the initial sketches, as well as on the number plate of the second three-dimensional image – the Volkswagen Group is known to be rapidly advancing its alternative-fuel technologies and it’s likely that this concept sees Audi making the next step beyond its existing plug-in hybrid technology – perhaps with an all-electric concept for the first time.

If a full-scale concept is unveiled, it could remain purely a design study or be a prelude to a boldly styled, high-tech new range of low-emissions Audi. However, it may be worth noting the presence of ultrasonic transducers for parking sensors on the car, which are not something that would usually be featured on a concept unless further development is planned. It’s the strongest hint that – more than being just a pipe dream – this concept is a real portent of things to come.

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