Mike Stevens | Apr 23, 2009

A huge part of automotive design, for every manufacturer, is the ‘car of the future’ project. Wildly unrealistic for the most part – at least for the next 20 years or so – these projects largely serve to give a carmaker some direction for its next line of passenger vehicles or performance cars.

One of the better examples of this is the Nagare series of concepts, lead by former Mazda designer, Laurens van den Acker.

While many of the more audacious elements of the Nagare styling won’t see production, the basic language is now present across Mazda’s model line, most evidently in the ‘smiling face’ of the new 2009 Mazda3 and facelifted MX-5.

But today’s news isn’t about Mazda; it’s about Audi and its Intelligent Motion project, which saw the German prestige manufacturer team up with design students to develop a series of futuristic concepts.

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With the single goal of capturing the attitude of the future’s perspective on today’s alternative styling and fuels, combined with the condition that these concepts must feel like a production-viable option (in the future, at least), Audi and its team set to work.

“The next generation of employees is our future,” said Wolfgang Egger, Head of Audi Group Design. “That’s why sponsoring design students is one of our high priorities.”

"The students have addressed the subject of mobility in the future with very well-conceived and lucidly presented approaches.

"Each concept, each model, contains at least one idea or feature that we could certainly conceive of as being included in a future production vehicle.”

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Egger said that the project is lead by the philosophy made clear by its title: Intelligent Emotion. The project is as much about responsible design as it is passion.

“Emotion as a driving force must go hand in hand with responsibility as regulator. The students’ assignment was to develop aesthetic approaches that reflect the new ecological, technical and social issues while also portraying an Audi as an attractive, sporty automobile.

"The results are of very high creative quality and provide plenty of substance for intensive discussions.”

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Audi has released a book, called Audi Design Projekt, featuring the project and the futuristic concepts. It sells in European stores for €29.90, but if you look hard enough, you’ll likely find a copy online.

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