Audi claims that its new Roadjet concept combines ‘the latest stage of Audi’s design evolution with an entirely new space concept’. It's a mildly intriguing hint at the future of Audi design with an even more aggressive nose and slick fastback rear, but we're not so sure about the space aspect.
Under the swooping lines is Audi’s new B-platform, the smallest of three future component sets which will underpin the company’s future models - apart from the A3. These platforms are flexible enough to allow for different length wheelbases, different track widths and different heights for the driver’s seating position.
Like the current A4, the engine is still mounted longways in the nose – virtually uniquely in a front-drive car - but Audi’s engineers have come up with a new drivetrain design which they hope will cure the traditional nose-heavy weight distribution of Audis.
The Roadjet's power comes from a new 300bhp 3.2-litre FSI V6 engine hooked up to a seven-speed Direct-Shift Gearbox (installed longitudinally for the first time) and permanent Quattro four-wheel drive. Audi claims the same economy as today’s 3.2-litre A4 for the Roadjet, despite a bluffer shape, marginally more weight and an extra 45bhp.
The Roadjet’s interior marks a departure for Audi: gone is the sculpted cliff of a dashboard; replaceed by a lighter, airier ambience. Although the concept has four seats, the production car is expected to be a five seater with the option of two child seats in the luggage bay.
Audi says the Roadjet is also equipped with a future-generation information-processing systems which allows automatic car-to-car communication. The set-up, which has already been agreed on by the global car industry, will allow cars to automatically warn other cars of hazards and even set the ideal in-town cruising speed in order to reduce the change of encountering red lights.