The Prologue exudes an easy elegance. With its long wheelbase, wider track, low cabin and intricate 22-inch wheels, Audi's latest design study is a graceful car. It is more than just a concept though - the Prologue expresses the marque's new design language. As such, it's also a pretty good indication as to the look, the feel and the technology to expect in the upcoming exclusive Audi luxury coupé. Furthermore, with a 605hp 4-litre petrol V8 feeding the quattro all-wheel-drive system, the Prologue is, according to the company, 'the sportiest car in the luxury segment'.

The car, revealed to us at a pop-up venue in Milan, takes Audi's clean design aesthetic to another level. In the past decade the German car maker has worked hard to establish a recognisable look with a distinctive single-frame grille and precise, sculptured surfaces. Now it's time to move on and the Prologue is the first evolutionary step that should see a greater dose of differentiation between its models.

We caught up with Audi chief of design Marc Lichte to find out more...

Wallpaper*: You came to Audi from Volkswagen in February, bringing a fresh perspective. How do you see design developing?
Marc Lichte: Audi has to be sporty, progressive and sophisticated, and these core brand values need to be emphasised even more in the future. A big part of the history is technology. This is something we want to emphasise in exterior and interior design.

W*: Can you explain how you have evolved the single-frame grille design, first seen on the A6 ten years ago, and now the recognisable face of Audi?
ML: The single-frame has been one of the most important steps for Audi design and it has taken ten years to establish this as the face. Therefore a revolution at this stage is dangerous so we have evolved the shape by making it more horizontal, by extending the width of the grille adding volume to the car.

W*: You say all future Audi cars will express the quattro drive system.
ML: Our competitors have rear-wheel-drive cars, so they stress the rear wheels. We are quattro. Quattro is more than a drivetrain concept - it is one of our most important brand values. Expressing it is about balancing the proportions and emphasising all four wheel-arches.

W*: This is a highly advanced car, taking the TT's virtual cockpit a step further, yet the technology remains invisible.
ML: As cars become more advanced, technology has to become more visually subtle, almost invisible as in the Prologue where we integrated the displays into the architecture.

W*: How will you differentiate between the compact cars, saloons and SUVs?
ML: This will include the proportions of the single-frame, so that the A8 will have a more dominant, proud grille than, say, the A1.

W*: Will the electric Audi you've been working on be a radical design?
ML: Yes, but it is still top secret! The only thing I can confirm is that in the same way we will differentiate A, Q and R, we will differentiate our future e-models.

TAGS: AUDI, TRANSPORT