Audi has previewed its new styling direction. It looks a lot like the old styling direction.
Judging from the cumulative audience reaction to Audi’s new design direction embodied by the recent Prologue concept, Marc Lichte and his designers may have considerably more work to do if Audi is not to become viewed as creatively becalmed. Now of course the massed ranks of self appointed website and social media commentators are hardly an infallible guide to taste or informed criticism, but when a massed chorus of uninformed opinion suggests that its merely the same wine in a slightly re-profiled bottle, it doesn’t really matter how much you point out the devil in the detail. Nobody’s listening.
The problem Lichte faces is that restraint simply doesn’t wash with the social media generation. Emotion is their currency, and the more emotive the better. So while many enthusiasts regard the current fad of expressive styling something of a vulgar fad, the public think otherwise and they my friends, are trending. Their gravitational centre now pivots upon Mercedes Benz of all people.
Because in spite of the questionable aesthetics emanating from Gorden Wegener’s dream factory, the collective automotive fan base are as one in their admiration and outright lust. The current S-Class, its new coupé sibling and the AMG-GT – each have been lauded as the acme of autoerotica – despite their overwrought and wilfully baroque appearance – inside and out. Say what you like about our Gorden, he’s very successful with the Car-Chat crowd.
Gorden’s emo-cars are selling like gang-busters too, which is another reason why Audi designers may find themselves tasked with ladling a little more expression into the A9’s styling before a production version sees the Lichte of day.