Audi A9 concept at 2014 LA motor show

Published: 14 October 2014

Don’t click away from another humdrum teaser photograph! This Audi concept car at the 2014 Los Angeles motor show is claimed to have real significance - it’s the first car to espouse ‘a new era of design’ at Audi.

What, the end of the Audi jellymould?

It seems so. We’ve bemoaned the homogenisation of Audi design in recent years; can you really tell the difference between most larger Audi saloons in your rear-view mirror? No, us neither.

But the 2014 LA show will usher in a new era of Audi styling. Volkswagen veteran Marc Lichte, 45, was appointed head of Audi design in February 2014 and is keen to show the world what he can do.

This as-yet-unnamed-but-believed-to-be-an-A9-concept show car is our first glimpse of the next chapter of Ingolstadt design. Click here for an earlier scoop on the Audi A9.

What can we expect from future Audi design?

Audi’s scant message to accompany this plan-view teaser photograph of the LA concept confirms the car will play to the brand’s core values: ‘sportiness, lightweight design and quattro drive.’

So far, so usual pre-show spiel. Not much is known about the car, other than that it will espouse a new design direction inside and out.

How to interpret the Audi A9 concept

Points to watch are the rounded bonnet form, wrapping around the base of the windscreen pillars and flowing along the side of the car - before tucking in around the rear of the concept. Looks remarkably like the gunwale around a boat.

The net result? We reckon those wheelarches are nicely exaggerated, hinting at the Quattro four-wheel drive underneath. And we’d wager that rear end sports a stubby shooting brake style rump.

No sign yet of whether he’s going to shrink Audi’s bulbous single-frame grille that’s hogged the snout for the past decade.

Who’d bet against an Audi A9 following this show car? A kind of bigger, mildly crossover-influenced A8? After all, German Lichte sired the Touareg and Phaeton in his time at Volkswagen…

Click here to read more about the next-generation Audi A8.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet