Audi is 'deeply' into a range-wide revamp of its design language to establish more styling variety

Audi is working on a range-wide revamp of its design language to establish a greater variety of design cues for its expanding range of saloons, SUVs and sportscars.

Speaking to Autocar last night at a design event in London, Audi design director Stefan Sielaff said the company was already deeply into the project, which will closely define a set of individual themes for each of the three major model families.

Under the acronym ‘AQR’, where A stands for Audi (saloons and hatches) Q for Quattro (SUV models) and R for sports cars, Sielaff’s team are specifiying new design values, like the slope-back angle for the grille on the three types of models, headlamp shape and body surfacing.

“We know that some people think our saloons look too alike and are well into a project to change that,” he says, “we will mainly do that with the proportions of those cars”.

The AQR system, for example, will ensure that all Audi’s saloons will have a more sloped-back grille, while the Q models will feature more upright grilles.

“And it will mean differences, say in the way the headlights meet up with the grille; the design details will be different,” says Sielaff.

What Audi won’t compromise, however, is the company’s brand value. “That comes form the board down. In the luxury market brand always comes first. We can’t change that.“

Audi is also going through a major project to define how its electric e-tron cars will look in the future. So far the e-tron concepts have followed the proportions of traditional, IC-engined cars. But Sielaff says there is a view that the EV’s styling should reflect the different nature of the powertrain.

“Some people are saying we don’t change the styling for a diesel and petrol car. But there is another view that, for example, a steam locomotive looks very different to an electric one. We’ll have to see how this one works out,“ he says.

Julian Rendell

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