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DNA Evolution

Text
Regina Brand

Photos
Alexander Herold

Journey into the future

A car that is small in stature but big in significance – at first glance, the Audi crosslane coupé concept car is clearly a typical Audi, but it goes a long way to taking the brand’s genetic code to the next level.


Taken in stages – Audi crosslane coupé in the Concept Design Studio, Munich. The Space Frame, the final concept car and the clay model.

The light is bright and powerful; here in the Audi Concept Design Studio in Munich nothing is hidden. But the precise light is good for this car – because precision is a key characteristic of the Audi crosslane coupé. The concept car from the 2012 Paris Auto Show presents a clear evolution of the brand’s design DNA – and also offers a first glance into the future of the Q models. The crosslane coupé was created here under these lights in the Munich design studio. “The crosslane coupé stands for clear, evolutionary development with a big exclamation mark. It gives us impulse for the new direction we have taken,” explains Head of Exterior Design Achim Badstübner.

Badstübner is a time traveler. In his everyday work, he is always a few years ahead, working on the models of the next generation, or even the one after. A concept car offers the opportunity to bring details of this future into the present. The 48 year-old has worked for Audi Design for 13 years and is responsible for the brand’s exterior design.

Badstübner carefully strokes the sharp lines and gentle curves of the bodyshell. Good design is something you should not only see, but also feel. “The main thing is the clear line, the defined stroke. The lines in the design of an Audi have a strong, distinctive character. Curved surfaces stand in antithesis to clear lines – which produces the right contrast.” Badstübner draws parallels, “In many things, it is a question of contrasts – a good drawing or a good photo, and even life itself, are all full of contrasts. And the same thing applies to a car. It is these contrasts that define the sex appeal of the Audi crosslane.”

The crosslane coupé stands for clear, evolutionary development with a big exclamation mark. It gives us impulse for the new direction we have taken.
Achim Badstübner

His favorite element is the C-pillar, which flows seamlessly into the shoulder. The subtle tautness of the fender transitions into the characteristic C-pillar, which lies at a very acute angle. The rounded wheel arch, on the other hand, makes a powerful statement. “It is this synthesis of contours and surfaces that makes the design so fascinating.” Badstübner touches the flowing surface around the fuel cap on the C-pillar, “The surfaces have exactly the right degree of tension. It gives the car a very athletic, sinewy look. It is a sporty elegance that underscores the robust, powerful and solid character of the SUV.”


Clarity – the interior design is reduced to the minimum.

The characteristic front end – a preview of future Q models – is the most distinctive element of the crosslane coupé. The Audi rings, in an all-new setting that appears to put them on a stage, are framed by the robust, sculpted form of the Singleframe grille.

It is part of the Multimaterial Space Frame, the load-bearing structure of the concept car, which is also visible in other areas – through two narrow openings in the hood, for example, that offer a view of an aluminum beam. Badstübner opens the driver’s door and points to the floor, “When you climb in, for instance, you notice the sill as part of the Space Frame. This offers a direct experience of lightweight design every time you drive the car.”

The lightweight design technology becomes a direct experience every time you drive the car. It is transparent from the outside and therefore authentic.
Achim Badstübner

But the presentation of technology through design is also evident in the A-pillar, the carbon trim in the cockpit, the edging of the window frames and the trunk cover panel. “It is transparent from the outside and therefore authentic,” sums up Badstübner. This can be seen in the extending door handles, the headlamp’s Matrix LED technology or the way the removable roof locates in the rear jump seat when stowed in the trunk, ready to be pulled forward.

At the same time, the concept car’s new technologies facilitate efficient lightweight design. Badstübner looks at the interior of the SUV with its sporty seats and minimalist instrument panel. The stringent design of the interior is particularly evident from the rear seat row. “The lines surge forward out of the door panels toward the Singleframe grille,” explains the designer, adding with a spirited gesture, “The interior is open in the direction of travel. Interior and exterior design flow into one another to create an harmonious whole.”

Badstübner sees contrast in the overall design, as well as in the details. “The basic form of the radiator grille is repeated in the interior air vents, for example. And the minimalist exterior design is also carried into the interior. The yellow accents are very subtle, while the aluminum applications underscore the simplicity of the overall image.”

Be it inside or out, the crosslane’s appeal lies in the power and lightness suggested by its design, which incorporates significant technical innovations in a completely natural way. It is quite simply a typical Audi – although seen through the eyes of a time traveler, schooled in the arts of the future.

The interior is open in the direction of travel; interior and exterior design flow into one another to create an harmonious whole.
Achim Badstübner