Audi Design Centre

Access all areas… but just this once

Join us inside the brand-new, high-technology, high-security Audi Design Centre in Ingolstadt for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour

Audi clay model

Audi Design Centre interior

Today, everyone is all smiles. Our hosts at Audi’s new Design Centre could not be any more welcoming. We can go wherever we wish and photograph whatever we want. In a few weeks’ time, though, things will be very different. Then, we will stand no chance of accessing the upper floors of this futuristic, light-flooded building. And even if we could beat the electronic door locks, I suspect security personnel would instantly appear to escort us out. But things are a little more relaxed today because the building is not yet fully operational. Most of the 600 employees who will work here – and all the secret new models they will work on – are yet to move in.

Sitting on a site the size of a football pitch in the north-west corner of Audi’s vast plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, the new home of Audi styling is a design icon in its own right. The building took three years to complete, and provides a home for the designers of both Audi’s production cars and futuristic concept models. While the building looks a little empty at the moment, an advance party of designers have already taken up residence and are keen to showcase their work ahead of the unveiling of the new Audi A7 Sportback.

Audi Desgin Centre

Audi Design Museum exterior

Audi Design Centre workshop

As you approach the building from the front, it appears to be constructed almost entirely of glass, but it provides a strictly one-way view – those on the inside can see out, but anyone outside is prevented from looking in. Once the building is fully operational, all Audi employees will have access to the entrance hall, which will serve as an exhibition area for displays of art and design.

Since 2000, the number of Since 2000, the number of new Audi Design projects has increased five-fold, and its team has more than doubled as Audi now embarks on a new design language, increasingly innovative technology and the busiest ever period in its history for new model launches. Normally the design process for a new Audi model begins five years ahead of the car’s launch, and even in the digital age the process still starts in the time-honoured way with pen and paper. In true Vorsprung durch Technik fashion, though, Audi has created a new design process known as C3, which combines CAD (computer-aided design), 3D visualisation and physical model-making (including clay modelling). This enables CAD modellers and designers to work together more effectively, and to visualise what a new model might look like at a much earlier stage.


In addition to full-size clay models, Audi’s designers can also view their visions of the future in life-size, photorealistic quality on huge 5.5m x 11m LED screens. With computing power equivalent to 4300 notebooks, the system ensures no detail need be left to the imagination. Even weather and light conditions can be factored in against backdrops from all over the world – with just a click, the team can see what a new model will look like in the sunshine of Barcelona or under a wintry London sky.

As evening fell, Audi’s designers ushered us up to the top floor and out onto the roof, where the new A7 Sportback made its debut to the world’s press. And so the design journey, for one new Audi model at least, came to a conclusion.

Find out more about the new Audi A7 Sportback