Pro­logue to Audi’s next A8 model?

The lat­est tech­nol­ogy in con­cept Audi is to­tally mind­blow­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NEW MODELS - JESSE ADAMS

LTHOUGH it’s quite clearly a two-door coupé, Audi’s new Pro­logue con­cept car is likely previewing the brand’s next-gen­er­a­tion A8 sedan – due for re­lease in 2016.

Audi, as usual when a con­cept graces a show­stand (at this week’s LA Auto Show in this case), says the Pro­logue of­fers a peek at fu­ture de­sign lan­guage for up­com­ing mod­els, but spe­cific ref­er­ence to its cur­rent A8 in terms of di­men­sion and fea­tures in­di­cates that there’s prob­a­bly more to this one than just the shape of its head­lights.

So, if the Pro­logue con­cept’s fea­tures make it into pro­duc­tion soon, the next A8, or per­haps an even more up­mar­ket A9, could get wheel sizes up to 22 inches, four-wheel steer­ing, a more pow­er­ful 4-litre twin-turbo V8 en­gine, and all sorts of tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced in­te­rior good­ies.

The Pro­logue’s ex­te­rior de­sign is not at all un­like the soon to be launched in SA new TT, so it doesn’t take a rocket sci­en­tist to know that other fu­ture mod­els will get sim­i­larly sculpted aes­thet­ics.

It’s what’s inside that’s most im­por­tant here, and a new monoblock-like dash­board almost com­pletely plas­tered across its en­tire width with touch­screen dis­plays could be just the shot of mod­ernism Audi’s flag­ship needs most. Driv­ers get their own touch­screen to the left (this car is left-hand drive) of the steer­ing wheel for light­ing and other drive-as­sist func­tions, and front pas­sen­gers get a mas­sive screen ded­i­cated to in­fo­tain­ment. Pas­sen­gers can also safely in­put things like route guid­ance and des­ti­na­tion, and then “swipe” them over to the driver for use.

A new soft­ware pro­gram called “The But­ler” can iden­tify driv­ers by their smart­phones and ad­just ev­ery­thing from seat po­si­tion, to cli­mate con­trol, to mu­sic choice, to nav­i­ga­tion set­tings to suit, and pas­sen­gers can all have their de­vices charged by a mech­a­nism called Easy Slot in the cabin-di­vid­ing cen­tre con­sole. The Pro­logue also pre­views a new 48-volt elec­tri­cal sub­sys­tem which can sup­ply the car’s many elec­tri­cal re­quire­ments.

This new sys­tem is recharged via a pow­er­ful starter/gen­er­a­tor, which kicks in un­der brak­ing and has an out­put of 12kW on its own.

Some of th­ese items may also ap­pear in the new Q7 SUV, which is sched­uled for launch in 2016.

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Audi’s gor­geous Pro­logue con­cept car – launched at the Los An­ge­les show – of­fers an in­trigu­ing glimpse of the company’s fu­ture styling cues.

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