A venture into a new segment: the Audi Shooting Brake Concept represents an entirely new departure in design terms. The styling of this coupé, measuring 4.18 m long by 1.84 m wide but standing just 1.35 m tall, singles it out unequivocally as a paragon of the latest Audi design, yet countless innovative elements demonstrate how this repository of shapes has taken a decisive evolutionary leap forward.
Even when seen in the rearview mirror, the Shooting Brake Concept reveals at first glance a front end that is characterised by the striking single-frame radiator grille with dominant vertical slats in chrome. As on the Audi Le Mans quattro super sports car study, the four-ring brand emblem is located above the single-frame grille, the surface of which is not interrupted by the licence plate surround, either.
The tapered shape at the front – further accentuated by prominent air inlets at the sides – and the dynamic cut of the clear-glass headlights give the face its decidedly forceful, dynamic character. A presence that echoes the characteristic front-end design of the current A4 racing models in the DTM and refines the visionary Audi RSQ study. A further element adopted from motor sport, beneath the grille, is the aluminium diffuser, which guides the airflow beneath the car with precision.
Viewed side-on, convex and concave surfaces create a subtle interplay of light and shadow. The dynamic lines lower down the car's body give the vehicle a particularly flat look. Typically for the current Audi design approach, the shoulder and dynamic line structure the volume of the vehicle body into a clearly defined, sporty architecture. The proportions of the large body panels and the flat window strip below the arching roof line are equally characteristic features of a sports car.
The clearly contoured wheel arches accentuate the powerful, road-centred proportions. The 19-inch double-spoke wheels originate from quattro GmbH and are a further developed version of the design created specifically for Audi's current top sports car, the RS 4.
One new element in the portfolio of design features is the upward swoop behind the rear side window. This, together with the wide C-post, accentuates the prominent rear end. This is where the visual emphasis of the Shooting Brake Concept is to be found: the flat trapezoid of the rear window and the pronounced arching, convex panel shape are the opposite extreme to the flat nose end and give the vehicle a crouched appearance, as if ready to leap.
The horizontal rear lights, extending well round to the sides, in conjunction with the black line along the lower edge of the window, accentuate the horizontal divide across the rear end of the vehicle. The luggage compartment lid itself extends well up into the roof surface. This permits a wide opening angle and optimum access to the luggage compartment.
Beneath the flush, integral bumper there is a large-area diffuser as at the front, to channel the airflow beneath the vehicle such that drag is minimised and surface grip enhanced. The exhaust system's two large tailpipes hint at the powerful engine inside the Shooting Brake Concept.
The interior design of the Audi Shooting Brake Concept exudes a decidedly sporty flair. This impression is conveyed by the low seat position, in typical sports car style, the high centre console and the clear, expansive composition of the instrument panel. The short sports-style gear lever with its tactile knob, together with the wide armrests in the doors and the pedals with aluminium-rubber surface, combine form and function with unprecedented ergonomic perfection.
The attractive appearance of the interior surfaces and of each individual detail is the result of select material quality and a perfect finish of the highest standard.
The large, clearly structured surfaces of the instrument panel, roof and door trims are clad in high-tech synthetic materials. The two grey shades and the surface structures provide a contrasting look and feel. On the other hand, the surface of the centre console, the inside door handles and the surrounds on the air outlets, like the body itself, have an "Electric White" pearl-effect finish.
The instrument cluster, as the driver's focus of attention, is shielded by a semi-circular cover, an element that consciously echoes the design of other sporty Audi models. Two large analogue circular instrument dials display the engine speed and road speed, and the large-format display of the Driver Information System provides further information.
The multifunction steering wheel with flattened underside is a counterpart to the wheel installed in two of the most alluring Audi sports cars ever built – the Le Mans quattro study, and the RS 4.
Above the centre console angled discreetly towards the driver, two circular air outlets with star-pattern slats bracket a chronograph that can display information in either analogue or digital form, as preferred.
This technology uses an organic polymer material that appreciably improves presentation and ease of reading. Compared with the conventional liquid crystal displays (LCD), an organic light emitting diode (OLED) monitor is substantially easier to read, above all with the sun shining on it and when viewed at an angle. The content displayed on the monitor can still be made out from an angle of 170 degrees. Other advantages of OLED are its shallow installation depth and very short response times, as well as much lower energy consumption than LCD displays.
The MMI terminal of the DVD radio and navigation system plus, with optical and acoustic route guidance, has been redesigned. The ergonomically optimised architecture of keypad and display is inspired by the successful Multi Media Interface configuration in the Audi A8. Here, the system features an array of new functions such as innovative 3D screen navigation with touch screen monitor and character recognition that permits detailed inputs using a PAD pen.
The Audi Shooting Brake Concept sets new standards in the compact sports vehicle segment in offering ample space for all occupants. Thanks to the special shape of the tail end, there is both more headroom for rear passengers and more space in the luggage compartment. The wide opening angle of the rear doors and the electric easy entry function for the front seats provide easy access to the rear seats. There is an astonishing amount of knee room at the rear thanks to the wheelbase of 2.47 m.
The luggage compartment of the Audi Shooting Brake Concept is quite sufficient even for substantial transport requirements, providing a capacity of 255 litres with the rear seat back upright and as much as 730 litres with the seat back folded down.
The steering column adjustable in reach and height as well as the driver's seat with the same adjustment options ensure an optimum seating position for drivers of virtually any build.
The ergonomic design of the front seats in the Audi Shooting Brake Concept combines ample comfort with good lateral support. The shot-through textile upholstery in aero blue for the seat surface and seat back, flanked with contrasting grey hues on either side, provides a sporty, elegant accent.