[Biturbos4] Re: More pics of the new RS4

Quincy Chiang b5quattro at shaw.ca
Mon Feb 28 13:35:55 EST 2005

I too didn't know what to think when I first saw the new "fish mouth" grill on the new Audis, but after seeing the C6-A6 in real life, I think it's pretty distinctive and neat.  I'll reserve judgement on the A3 and A4 until I see them in the flesh, but the more pictures I see the more I like it.

I think what Audi's trying to do is to have its own distinctive design element at the front of the car, much like BMW with their kidney grills.  If you look at Audis from the 80s all the way up to a year ago, their noses have been slowly evolving.  The "waterfall grill" (grill integrated with the hood) was the final evolution of that.  It's beautiful, but has since been copied by many other automakers, to the point where it's no longer an exclusive design feature of Audis.  Also while I think all Audis up till now (excluding the new grilled models) have always been avantgrade yet elegant with an uniquely understated style, somehow I find them a little soulless when compared to BMWs (sorry to keep bringing them up, they are Audis most direct competitor afterall).  It's as if Audi's design are too efficient and too understated that a lot of the time people don't notice it.  I know this is one thing that we Audi owners love about, but I can't help but think this is not what Aud
i's marketing wants in the long term.

Hence the new grill.  It's certainly loud and bold, and it looks aggresive as hell.  So far I think it works well on the larger cars (A6 and A8), but it seems to work on the A3 as well.  From pictures only on the B7 cars, I think the grill works better on the S4 and RS4 due to the deeper and more aggresive bumpers, not so sure about the regular A4s though.  But again I'll have to reserve my finall judgement until I see them all in the flesh.

One potential problem I see, is the longevity of this grill design.  BMW's kidney grills are smaller thus easier to integrate to different designs (I'm not saying they are all good looking, in fact I hate all new BMW designs, but as far as the grills are concerned they are able to keep integrating it to their design).  Audi's trapezoidal grill is bigger, it completely dominates the front of the car that I'm not sure how many iterations they can pull off.

'01.5 S4
'90 CoupeQ

----- Original Message -----
From: "John M. Harrison" <johnmh at uwyo.edu>
Date: Monday, February 28, 2005 8:50 am
Subject: Re: [Biturbos4] Re: More pics of the new RS4

> I can't help but post this diatribe on recent Audi (and other) 
> styling 
> .  Apologies - I couldn't resist.
> I tend to agree with mrdezign.  The new Audi grillage appears to 
> be a 
> concession to the retro styling that permeates so much design 
> these 
> days.  Audi is certainly not the only manufacturer whose designers 
> focus 
> on the grill and are tending to go to a "retro" kind of look.  
> BMWs have 
> always had ugly and old-fashioned, but very identifyable grill 
> details.  
> In Beamers and other makes the grill is purposely used as a sort 
> of 
> iconographic make/model identifier.  For Audi, the new S4 grillage 
> seems 
> a departure from past designs, thus doesn't function to aid 
> recognizability or brand identity.  But it definitely looks old 
> fashioned, which I don't care for.  And I see they have used the 
> grill 
> shape even in the steering wheel.  This is all thematic stylistic 
> excess 
> to me.
> I love my 2001.5  S4 Avant precisely because it lacks or at least 
> de-emphasizes this sort of thematic stylistic affectation.  I 
> recommend 
> Audi rethink the "retro" approach and stick with the notion of 
> skinning 
> the vehicle in a maximally aerodynamic and functional way.  Stuff 
> that 
> doesn't function should be omitted.  Chrome should be omitted due 
> to the 
> glare factor.  Wood or fake wood grain should be omitted.  Just as 
> in 
> good modern architecture and industrial design, affectations and 
> details 
> are removed wherever possible.  Simple, clean, ergonomic, 
> functional and 
> understated is my preference.  This is what caught my eye about 
> late 90s 
> and early 2000s Audis that prompted me to look at a new car for 
> the 
> first time in more than 20 years. This along with lots of power 
> and 
> torque, permanently engaged highway all-wheel drive and superb 
> handling 
> attracted me.
> I'm told much of the aesthetic styling design for many of the 
> world's 
> automobiles occurs in California these days.  Perhaps it is time 
> for 
> this to change.  The German Bauhaus school and modern tradition 
> need to 
> be re-learned and incorporated into cars for the future.  Audi 
> needs to 
> stick to the integrity of the modern design tradition and leave 
> the 
> retro crap for the American and California designers whose taste 
> is all 
> in their mouths.  I don't see the fine German vehicles grabbing 
> market 
> share from the likes of Harley Davidson, Chrysler, Ford, GM, John 
> Deere, 
> Caterpillar, etc. just by incorporating puke ugly grillage on 
> otherwise 
> nice cars.  They shouldn't even try.  They risk loosing their core 
> loyal 
> customer base with this sort of silliness.
> Having said all this, I do like the looks of the A3 which we will 
> apparently see in the US next year - except for the grill which 
> has this 
> same vertically-oriented look from the past.  That's another thing 
> - 
> these newer S4s are too big.  The B5s are a nice compact car 
> design, but 
> subsequent models have blimped up.  This seems to be a common 
> tendancy.  
> I'm wondering if there will be an S3 and/or RS3?
> Cheers and happy motoring.
> John M. Harrison
> Laramie, WY
> 2001.5 Audi S4 Avant silver 6 speed loaded stock simple, beautiful 
> and a 
> joy to drive
> mrdezign at netscape.net wrote:
> >Please forgive the excuse the following. Sorry, but I can't hold 
> it back. 
> >
> >Good thing you can't see the grille from the driver's seat. It's 
> enough to make you car sick. Look's like the old Edsel "horse 
> collar" on steroids with a fat piece of electrician's tape through 
> the middle. At least Audi chose to cover some of it from view. 
> It's HIDEOUS! 
> >
> >Kneale Brownson <knotnook at traverse.com> wrote:
> >
> >  
> >
> >>That's the best version of the overblown "grille" I've seen.
> >>    
> >>
> >
> >  
> >
> >>>Looks fantastic to me!
> >>>
> >>>-Ti
> >>>-- 
> >>>Ti Kan
> >>>http://www.amb.org/ti
> >>>Vorsprung durch Technik
> >>>
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