Audi design chief Stefan Sielaff has said the firm will never design retro-looking cars, describing such a move as "dangerous".
Sielaff, speaking to Autocar during our exclusive studio shoot of the new Audi A7 Sportback, described the A7 as "a new niche and a new idea". He said it only referenced classic Audis such as the 100 Coupe with minor details and it was not a retro-inspired car.
Autocar asked Sielaff about the A7’s design and what to expect from future production Audis.
What are the origins of this car?
The A7 has been on the go for quite a long time, actually, because the idea was not on a [product] cycle plan. It was created by Walter de’Silva, I would say at least five years ago, and if the car is not planned from the very beginning then a little bit of time is consumed in convincing everybody that it could be an interesting product.
In any case, we had to the put the A7 on hold for a while because the strategy is a top-down strategy, so first we had to get the new A8 on the market, which happened this year. The next step is the A7, and then the step after this will be the A6. There is really a logic in the cycle plan — so the A7 had to wait until the A8 was on the market.
Is this a design-led project more than a market-led project, then?
Yes, definitely — as it was with the R8 and, many years ago, the TT. Walter was like one of the dogs looking for truffles, hunting for a new niche and a new idea. This is always part of our job as designers: to show things that are not in the portfolio.