Sep 6, 2016
So far, we haven’t seen a production version, or even any official pictures of the new car, but sources indicate the car is on the way. Styling is likely to be heavily influenced by the Audi Prologue concept car that was shown at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Although it’s just a concept at the moment, the Prologue show car gives us a good idea about the styling direction that future large Audis like the A6, A7, A8 and A9 will take. The signature large, trapezoidal, horizontal-slatted front grille is present and correct, while the four-ringed Audi badge sits right at its heart.
Audi A9 Coupe concept design
There are even fewer surprises in the headlights, which follow a similar direction to that taken by the Audi TT and Audi A4, with sharp, angular LED daytime running light graphics. These headlights were, however, one of the first places we saw Audi’s latest Matrix laser headlights, which are becoming more widely available across the range.
In terms of the Prologue’s overall shape, it’s undoubtedly handsome, with sharp lines, a low, swooping roofline and an elegant rear end. It looks a lot like a scaled-up Audi A5. It’s a large car, however, despite being slightly smaller overall than the outgoing Audi A8. The 22-inch alloy wheels on which it sits might have to be scaled down for the production version.
Inside there’s a 3D version of Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit configurable instrument panel. This incorporates even more tech than the Virtual Cockpit in current production Audis and ‘intelligently’ alters itself according to how the car is being driven.
It can also communicate directly with the driver and passengers through their smartphones, as well as automatically making changes to things like the route plan and climate-control settings depending on who’s on board. We’d also expect a fairly high degree of semi-autonomous self-driving technology to be available with the A9.
Style-wise, the Prologue’s interior showcases a new, minimalist design approach for Audi, combining the elegance we’ve come to expect from the brand with even fewer buttons. Most features will be controlled using one of three touchscreens in the cabin, through voice commands or remotely from a smartphone.
Engines, performance & emissions
When the new Audi A9 arrives, it’ll be up against rivals like the Mercedes S-Class Coupe, the rumoured-to-return BMW 8 Series and the Bentley Continental GT.
The Prologue concept that previews the A9 was shown off with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 producing 597bhp. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which sends its power to all four wheels thanks to Audi’s famous quattro four-wheel-drive system. It’s capable of 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds.
Despite this prodigious performance, however, according to Audi, the Prologue emits just 199g/km of CO2, so were it to be put into production now, it would cost just £270 a year to tax. This is largely thanks to its lightweight aluminium construction, but also what’s known as a ‘mild hybrid’ system. This recaptures some of the energy lost as heat under braking and directs it into the car’s electrical system, so less of the engine’s energy has be put directly into charging the battery.
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Expect a greater range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines to be available when the A9 eventually goes on sale, however.
Price & on-sale date
Although there’s no concrete date as to when the A9 will go on sale, 2018 is most likely, as it’ll give the new Audi A8 luxury saloon time to bed in before its coupe sister model arrives.
In terms of price, we’d expect you’ll have to part with at least £85,000 for a new Audi A9.