AUDI LAUNCHED the Prologue at the Los Angeles motor show – the perfect car for Hollywood hotshots who have had enough of being a goody-two-shoes and driving a Toyota Prius.
Billed as a glimpse into the future of design for Audi cars, and possibly suggesting plans for a large luxury machine to rival the Mercedes S-class coupé, it is essentially a super-sized TT, measuring more than 16ft from the gaping grille to the back bumper despite having just two doors and four seats. The 4-litre V8 engine is served by not one but two turbochargers to generate almost 600bhp, and the car features Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system.
All that makes it jolly quick. Californians who are forever running late for their weekly back-to-back appointments with the cosmetic surgeon and the celebrity shrink may like to know that the Prologue can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds, Audi says. Once you change up to top in the eight-speed gearbox, only an electronic nanny stops the Prologue going faster than 155mph. Though if you put those performance figures to the test too often, achieving the claimed 32.8mpg will be a trick even David Blaine would struggle to pull off.
On getting into the car, drivers will be recognised by their smartphone, and the car’s seat, heater, audio system and sat nav will adjust to their preferences. As in the latest TT, the driver can flick between digital screens on the instrument display. But the Prologue takes this concept further still.
As you can see from the video below, digital displays in front of the passenger show what to expect from the road ahead, such as sharp bends, and there are graphics for G-force and oil temperature and pressure. There are also screens showing social media feeds.
Operating unseen in the background is a new 48-volt electrical system and lithium-ion battery, which will, the company says, eventually complement 12V systems in all its cars.
Modern cars’ 12V systems are struggling to satisfy the power demands of increasingly complex electronics. The new approach offers a so-called mild hybrid effect, recovering up to 12kW of power during braking.
Driving will report on driving the Audi Prologue next week.