Oriskany, New York, United States
Automakers typically spend months working on a concept car, then unveil it at a car show and move on to the next. But Audi has demonstrated a propensity at refining the same concepts and bringing them back for more. Just look at how many time Audi iterated its E-Tron concept, and how many diesel R8s it toyed with. It brought the Italdesign Parcour out of retirement and rechristened it the Audi Nanuk, and it's been doing the same with the Quattro concept for the past several years. The German automaker rolled out the first Quattro concept back in 2010, and followed up with the reborn Sport Quattro concept less than a year ago. And now it's preparing to unveil yet another.
Called the Sport Quattro Laserlight concept, this time it's not as radical a departure from the Sport Quattro concept as that was from the first Quattro concept. In fact, there's really only one vital difference. That'd be the laser headlights "that leave all previous systems in the dark," according to the press release below. The system uses matrix LEDs around the outside of the element as low beams, and lasers on the inside for high beams. Measured in mere microns, the laser diodes are significantly smaller than LEDs, while lighting up the road ahead for nearly half a kilometers (1,640 feet), providing twice the lighting range and three times the brightness of LED high beams.
Otherwise the concept car you see here and which Audi will display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week is essentially the same as the one it showed in Frankfurt this past September. It's got the same measurements, wearing the same CFRP bodywork, with the same interior and the same 700-horsepower hybrid powertrain, only the yellow exterior has been repainted Plasma Red and the black interior redone in a more low-key Slate Grey, as you can see from the high-res image gallery above.
The Audi RS5 is a bit of an odd duck in the brand's US lineup. At the moment it is one of only two RS models - the other being the TT RS - atop a pyramid of A and higher-performing S models. It is not, however, the brand's flagship performance model - not even close - that space being occupied by variants of the R8 supercar, specifically the V10 and GT models, and upcoming 560-horsepower RS7.
The RS5 does, however, owe its beating heart to those ten-cylinder R8s, its own 4.2-liter V8 almost identical to those engines save for two fewer cylinders. Outside of the R8, then, the RS5 is the lone bastion of naturally aspirated V8 power in a brand that once happily shoved 4.2-liter V8s under any hood that they would fit. Today, not even the giant Q7 SUV offers a V8. Lastly, the RS5 is not new, except to us, having been on sale in Europe in coupe form the last couple of years.
While Europeans were able to enjoy the hardtop two-door without us, the RS5 Cabriolet is reaching both peoples around the same time: now. We reviewed the RS5 coupe just recently, and having spent some time with the tin-top model myself as well, here is my take on the droptop version of what I consider one of Audi's most interesting models.
Audi went Hollywood for its debut of the forward-looking Prologue concept car last night, pulling the silks back at a sprawling LA manse in the hills. The cost-no-object unveiling of the car, as well as its prominent positioning at this year's LA Auto Show, speaks to the importance with which the company views the styling you see here.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, maharishi of development for the three-rings brand, made two important announcements at the presentation: reiterating publicly his endorsement of new styling chief Marc Lichte, and telling us that Prologue design will be found on upcoming production versions of the A6, A7 and A8.
Take a close look at that imposing face on the Prologue - an amped up revision of the single-frame shield grille that has appeared on new models like the TT already - and get used to it. Lichte called out the grille as the new face of the brand, so we fully expect its deployment across the range as the 2016 models roll out.