Audi has been swishing it up with the European Sundance attendees this past week – being the official car of the Berlinale film festival. Giving its highest honor to “Taxi, a film shot with dual dash-mounted cameras by a passport-revoked director from Iran, the Berlinale is just the kind of flashbulb event sponsorship Audi loves.
Countering Mercedes-Benz near-domination of fashion weeks in NY and abroad, Audi is cozying up to film stars, movie lovers and culture jockeys alike. Sample the new car, sir?
Along with this glitz and bohemian glamour, Audi also took the wraps off a new and snazzy lighting lab. An official and high-tech home for the teams of electrical engineers and designers, the new Audi Lighting Lab cements Audi’s current position as the LED innovation champion over the last 15 years since the first A6 brought LEDs mainstream.
The new R8 is the showpiece today. Revealed next month in Geneva, Switzerland, this second-generation Audi R8 is showing a bit of ankle today. Just the wheel, front intake and LED DRL are shown so far uncovered, but we have cloaked views of the OLED taillamps and the DRL ‘nighttime signature’ from the pure front angle as well.
What does it tell us? The new Audi R8’s LED shapes flip the crossed-line theme of the TT upside down. A swipe of white covers the top of the lamps and checks downward at the edge. A vertical LED bar also separates the outer low-beam from the inner laser high-beam. The low-beam looks remarkably conventional ad a single projector.
Overall, the new design looks longer and more TT-esque in the roofline than ever before. A more flowing C-pillar is likely to include a full black-glass crescent shape, ending in a point like the Audi A6 style — but squashed far lower.
The nose overhand on this teaser appears gigantic, with some kind of bulging bumper license plate taking center stage in an awkward way.
The best piece of design we can see so far is in the side surfacing of the doors. There appears to be a nicely retro piece of downward-sloping flat door surface. Likely extending the hoodline downward to meet the rear axle hub center-point, this is a cool feature and may take the place of the existing side-blade behind each driver door of the current R8.
2016 Audi R8
Audi makes night into day: new lighting competence center
Biggest automotive light tunnel in Europe
Test facility for high beam and new lighting assistance systems
Prof. Dr. Hackenberg: “Light is a medium of information”
Audi is extending its lead in the field of automotive lighting technology with a new lighting competence center at the company’s site in Ingolstadt. Vehicles can be driven into this underground light tunnel, which is 120 meters long and offers new possibilities, especially for the development of innovative lighting solutions and camera-based lighting assistance systems.
“Audi is the leading brand for automotive lighting technology,” stated Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development. “From the xenon plus headlight to the matrix‑LED headlight to the laser light, we have been putting pioneering innovations into series production for the past 20 years. Light is part of an automobile’s esthetics and is becoming an interactive medium of information.”
The new lighting competence center at the corporate headquarters of the Audi Group is the biggest lighting tunnel for vehicles in Europe. Inside the matt‑black‑painted tunnel, the development engineers test systems such as adaptive high beam and camera‑based lighting assistance systems. Such systems avoid dazzling drivers of oncoming traffic and enhance safety.
The lighting competence center and the laser lab under an eleven‑floor building presented a great challenge for the civil engineers because it had to do without supporting columns and required an interior height of up to nine meters. The floor surface is similar to a normal road. The Audi engineers there cooperate closely with the designers so that new ideas can be put onto the road even faster. Their motorsport‑colleagues also often deliver valuable stimulus from the world’s toughest test bench: the racetrack.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.