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RSQ Exterior Designer Julian Hoenig, Tim Miksche, Design Manager Martin Ertle
Audi RSQ concept
by Matthew de Paula
The RSQ Sports Coupe is the first car made by Audi specifically for a Hollywood motion picture. It stars alongside actor Will Smith in the Fox feature film 'I, Robot', to be released in the US July 16 and two months later in Europe.
The RSQ represents how an Audi of the future could look. The car was developed in conjunction with the recently released LeMans concept, says Martin Ertl, head of Audi design management. He didn't go so far as to say the RSQ was based on it. Audi had to develop a separate outer shell used for a crash scene and an interior mock-up for shots inside the car.
The arrangement with Fox involved product placement, so it was important that the RSQ look like an Audi, Ertl says. LeMans styling is evident in the mid-engine proportions and front and rear fascia that invoke the new, larger 'single-frame' Audi grille. Audi describes the RSQ as "flat, broad and bullish." Its fiberglass body is coated in special silver paint with a blue sheen that when exposed to intense light turns a gold tone.
The approach Lexus took in 'Minority Report', where a movie industry firm concocted futuristic cars to their liking and slapped on Lexus badges did not appeal. With that kind of arrangement, the final product might not reflect the company's design motifs, Ertl says.
One design goal was to incorporate jet-like features such as the glass roof canopy with air ducts and steering wheel with its top chopped off.
Since the movie is set in 2035, director Alex Proyas ('Dark City', 'The Crow') stipulated a futuristic concept for the car-spherical wheels. Integrating them into the design was one of the greatest challenges, says Julian Hoenig, who designed the exterior. The result actually enhanced the 'sculptured character,' he adds. Proyas also wanted special doors, which were hinged at the rear, opening up and back.
Underneath its body is a traditional mid-mounted Audi engine and drive train. The fully covered wheels connect to exterior panels that spin, giving the illusion of moving spheres.
Proyas approached Audi in 2003 after being attracted to the Nuvolari quattro concept. Two days after Audi beat other bidders for the project, the first quarter-scale RSQ model was completed. The entire car was ready in ten weeks.
Fox used Audi TT's and A6's in the movie as well, but with spheres grafted to their exteriors. Audi removed its badges from these vehicles because it felt the inelegant design solution did not reflect the company's vision or prowess, Ertl says.
Production Audi's have starred in 'Ronin', 'The Insider', 'Mission Impossible II', 'The Mothman Prophecies', 'About a Boy' and 'Legally Blond 2.'
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