The Audi Rosemeyer design study, a sports car to which only superlatives can do justice, is also on display for the first time outside Germany.
It was this car that featured at the exciting opening ceremony for the Audi Pavilion at the "Autostadt" in Wolfsburg on June 1, 2000. The "Rosemeyer", which has been developed purely as an exhibition car, seems scarcely to be of this world when one first catches sight of it. Its flowing, aerodynamic lines are combined with an air of pure functional efficiency. A closer look, however, and more familiar features emerge: the monumental radiator grille, for instance, but also the gentle downward slope of the engine hood with its vertical air inlet slots, recall the historic Auto Union "Silver Arrow" racing cars. As on those cars, when the matt, shimmering brushed aluminium body reflects the light a glowing, almost magical aura is created.
One can almost feel that this low-slung mid-engined coupe should be powered, like the "Silver Arrows", by a 16-cylinder engine. There is ample space for one between the giant wheels in their bold, upwardly flared arches. The wheelbase is long and therefore easily accommodates the two occupants and a large engine in front of the rear axle.
Short body overhangs, each seemingly sculpted from a solid block, emphasise the long wheelbase still more and add power to the side view. This Audi design study is not a roadgoing car, nor does it herald some later production model. Nevertheless, it depicts the Audi brand’s technology potential visually, with outlines that suggest its weight-saving construction, its ultimate dynamics and its functional precision in every detail and every component.
The large drilled brake discs can be identified immediately behind the giant road wheels. They are an effective means of counteracting the immense power output of this mid-engined car. Strikingly shaped air inlets divide up the aluminium body and add particular character to the nose end of this Audi design study. The headlights, recessed into the aerodynamically shaped front end, seem to fix their gaze firmly on the road ahead. Their xenon lamps, powerful and compact, are located behind clear glass covers.
Large outside mirrors would conflict with the perfectionist aims of Audi’s aerodynamic engineers. Instead, the driver of this design study obtains a perfect view to the rear and along the sides from several cameras that transmit their images to monitor screens in the cockpit.
The prominent centre tunnel with its bright aluminium tubes and the high window line have the effect of integrating the driving position in a perfect ergonomic manner and making it the nerve-centre of this supersports car. This is a task area in the very heart of a supreme driving machine. At the rear of the cockpit, a window provides a clear view on the heart of this car, its mid-engine. To take its pulse, there is a large revolution counter with analogue dial which, like the other instruments, echoes the visual appeal of the light units.
Brushed aluminium, carbon fibre and top-quality leather give the interior its character, but without sacrificing clarity and purity for the ambience of a large luxury saloon. Everywhere there is evidence of precision craftsmanship, with all the materials and every detail processed with unmistakable care and perfection.
The result is an Audi such as there has never been before and will never be again.