Detroit 2009: Five Favorite Designs

2009 Audi Sportback Concept

Sure, the general idea of an aerodynamic, coupelike four-door came from Mercedes-Benz (although Rover had a defiantly anti-aerodynamic chopped-top four-door carrying the Coup name decades back), but Audi's execution of its Sportback concept is far more graceful than other Mercedes-Benz CLS clones, and its detailing is exquisite, inside and out. We have become accustomed to Audi interiors being better than all others, but its own designers wanted a new direction, and the Audi Sportback's spare, airy cabin is warmed by the application of fine laminations of dark and light woods, the dark acting as contour lines. It is all quite beautiful and promises to spark off a new trend.

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