The Audi e-tron quattro concept:
The Audi e-tron quattro concept not only redifines the SUV in a single stroke but, above all, also proves how innovative technology and striking design point the way to the future. In silhouette, the concept car has a distinctly coupé-like sweep. An extremely flat greenhouse tapers sharply toward the rear, culminating dynamically in a roof spoiler that can be electronically adjusted by 100 millimeters.
The contours of the Audi e-tron quattro concept car are the fruits of close teamwork in the wind tunnel between designers and aerodynamics experts. The result? A truly distinctive design idiom fusing elegance, dynamism and efficiency that boils down to a single figure — a drag coefficient of just 0.25. In the SUV segment, that speaks volumes. In a powerful expression of the car’s quattro DNA, the sleek shoulder line flexes muscle with distinctive blisters above the wheels. A prominent fillet between the shoulder line and the greenhouse lends the car a stretched look that is both sporty and stylish. To minimize wind resistance, handles can be countersunk into the doors but extend electrically outward when touched.
An LED light guide extends across the rear, underscoring the width of the car. As at the front end, the lights are split into two sections. Each of the top zones features nine vertically arranged OLED (organic light-emitting diode) units that function as tail lights. There are three more overlapping units below these. The electrically adjustable diffuser takes the roof spoiler’s aerodynamic principles to their logical conclusion by merging the air flows from the roof and the vehicle base perfectly.
Thanks to taut lines, clear-cut shapes and integration of the operating and display concept into the cockpit architecture, the interior of Audi e-tron quattro concept looks light and airy. Since no drive shaft is needed thanks to the electric drive, it was possible to design the center console so that it appears to float. Another advantage is the space freed up for extra storage and connectivity solutions. OLED technology ensures that full use is made of screens with corner-to-corner information displays. Plus, verbal and gesture-driven instructions in certain instances make operation even easier. The sporty yet comfy design of the front seats provides excellent support for the head and shoulders. What’s more, the four rings’ new air conditioning system is integrated into the backrests in the form of film vents that ventilate the entire rear compartment.
All bright side, no dark side
Matrix laser technology is used for all the main headlight functions in the Audi e-tron quattro concept. The five lighting elements underneath the headlights feature innovative OLED technology. These emit a homogeneous light, cast no shadow and don’t require reflectors, which means they are as effective as they are efficient. By introducing Matrix laser OLED technology to the front of the car, Audi is lighting the way to the future with a world first.
Form follows function follows form: Evidence of this closed loop can be seen in the sensor rack housed in the lower section of the Singleframe grille. It contains most of the sensors for the assistance systems, including those used for piloted driving. Further down the nose, cooling air is drawn into the engine compartment, feeding the thermal management system that also regulates the drive components’ temperature. Instead of being expelled from the car’s underbody as usual, the air then exits upward through electrically released slots in the engine hood. This means that turbulence below the fully enclosed vehicle floor pan is avoided, which in turn translates into enhanced aerodynamics and ultimately increased range. With the world’s largest solar panel built into a car’s roof, the energy management system of the Audi e-tron quattro concept study is given a further boost.
A new dimension
The new Audi virtual cockpit curved OLED is the latest advance in the Audi virtual cockpit. It uses sophisticated 3D graphics to display vehicle speed, battery charge levels, range and much more. Monitors embedded toward the hinged edge of each front door project specially processed footage from the exterior mirror cameras. Even in poor lighting conditions, the images are bright, with good contrast and free of glare.
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The Audi e-tron quattro concept is equipped with all the technologies the Ingolstadt carmaker has developed for piloted driving. Data from radar and ultrasonic sensors, a video camera and laser scanner is collated in the central driver assistance controller, or zFAS for short. Computing a complete model of the car’s surroundings in real time, it makes this information available to all assistance systems as well as the piloted driving systems.
Robert Grischek (photos) & primate.tv (postproduction)