Audis of the future will be interior first, exterior second
Audi is performing “a 180-degree turn” in which interior design will be prioritised above all else in its future cars, according to its design chief Marc Lichte.
Speaking to TG at a preview of the Audi activesphere concept - the literature for which suggested that speed and ‘lateral acceleration are no longer at the top’ of the brand’s design priorities - Lichte explained the method in the madness.
“In the past the process was always the same: in the beginning there was the combustion engine and platform. Then together with sales and marketing, we decided two-seater, or four-seater or six- or seven-seater, then we start designing the exterior design and in the end, interior.
“The future is exactly the opposite. And that’s why I put Sid [Odedra, head of UI/UX design] and his department in the centre of our design activities. It starts in Sid’s department and it ends there, because we start thinking about the use case.
“So it’s a 180-degree turn. If you want to be ahead in this transformation, this is the future.”
Odedra agrees, saying Audi’s new approach is “the complete opposite to what it used to be in the old world". He explains: “We start with ‘what are the human needs?’ Human centricity is at the core of what we do. What does the user need?
“And then we build an interface because that’s the relationship between the user and the vehicle. And then we build an interior around that, and then we build an exterior.”
Makes sense. Makes complete sense actually. Why has it taken so long to go about the problem of building a car this way round? “I’ll be honest, I don’t know why,” Odedra chuckles. “Anything we’re doing for the road we start so early, anything we design here will come in five years. So we have to think ahead.”
And what about that bit about speed no longer being a top-ranking priority - is performance, and by extension the RS range, to be sacrificed in the name of comfy seats and legroom? TG puts the question to Lichte: “No it’s definitely both, definitely both. I promise you!”