Visible innovation is to be found beneath the covers of the headlights and rear lights of the Audi Shooting Brake Concept – this is where a fascinating formal idiom and trailblazing technology come together. The design of the lighting elements and the night design simultaneously give the overall appearance of Audi's latest study car an utterly new visual accent.
The design of the decidedly three-dimensional main headlights, using LED technology, is particularly eye-catching. Bionics, in other words drawing design inspiration from nature, has been at work here. The light unit has a design reminiscent of an open pine cone. Reflector shells arranged concentrically one behind the other each concentrate the light from one diode, producing a high-luminosity, even form of driving light.
By contrast the high-beam headlights, located on the inside, are blossom-shaped. The indicator lights, in the form of narrow light strips, delineate the lower edge of the headlight housings and the exterior mirrors, providing prominent signals and original visual accents. The daytime running lights naturally also use LED technology, the merits of which include particularly low energy consumption, over and above their attractive design.
The rear lights of this study, recessed deep into the vehicle body, likewise have a highly innovative design. The transparent red covers again provide a clear view of the LED technology. The diodes actually cast their light forwards onto the reflector, which distributes it back to the rear through a mask in the shape of a double cloverleaf.
This results in an unmistakable appearance for both the rear lights and the brake lights. The turn indicators again take the form of narrow horizontal strips.
New navigation system
There are electronic innovations in other areas of the vehicle, too. An enhanced version of the DVD screen-based navigation system plus offers special operating functions and a new screen presentation. Audi uses touch screen technology for the first time here. The driver can activate the basic architecture of the MMI screen directly by touching the function panels in the display.
The new system generation moreover permits operation of the navigation menu by direct input, e.g. of destinations, via the monitor. Instead of having to compose them one letter at a time from the menu, the driver can simply write them on the monitor with their finger. Alternatively, a remote control with pressure-sensitive surface can be used to make inputs, as on a PDA computer. The input monitor pops up out of a slot beneath the centre display at the push of a button.
The special feature is that the system is not only capable of reading in handwriting, but can also identify a wide variety of scripts. The computer is equally able to read the conventional Latin alphabet and Japanese characters.
Another new aspect is the scope provided for choosing between two different navigation modes. Those who prefer the "Tour" mode can view the route on the monitor from an appreciably enhanced, three-dimensional bird's-eye perspective. The driver can take photos of destinations with a camera at the front of the car and store these as visual route markers.
Activating the "Sport" mode displays optical information above all via the central display in the instrument cluster. As well as spoken instructions, there are direction arrows to point the way. Again in the "Tour" mode, the driver can call up a further option that acts like an electronic rally co-pilot and makes the journey an end in itself: whenever the driver feels the urge to drive along a particularly challenging, winding route, they can call up an appropriate itinerary from the computer. While following the proposed route, as well as receiving directions they are then advised on the best gear to engage and the speed at which to take the next bend.