Forgotten concept: Audi RSQ (2004)

The Audi RSQ concept was designed in 2004 by the Rings to build brand awareness in the United States. A concept that had not been presented on the carpet of a car show… This machine which looks like a genetic cross between an Audi TT and an iMac G4 mouse had been created to be Will Smith’s car in the film I, Robot. A film in which Will fought hordes of zombies accompanied by his dog. Oh no ! That is Alone in the world. No ? Or was it against aliens? Boarf, that was a long time ago. Ah! That’s it, he had to stop the uprising of an army of pristine white robots led by an artificial intelligence that was aiming for the end of civilization. A kind of terminator Written by Steve Jobs and Directed by Jony Ive. The action took place in 3035, which is quite terrifying considering that… the closer we get to this fateful date, the smarter the Roomba vacuum robots are!

Visually, you can’t say it’s groundbreaking. Today it just looks like an R8 with wheel covers. Only here, the R8 did not arrive until 2006, two years later, which was the future when I, Robot is out. It’s a bit as if Audi had used a big blockbuster to test the reception of its future model on a large scale. Unfortunately, the R8 ditched those antagonistic-opening scissor doors and the idea of ​​spheres instead of wheels.

The RSQ concept also promised us nervous and fast autonomous driving thanks to the drastic reduction in human driving and the disappearance of double-file delivery trucks and oncoming cycle paths…

For the inverted doors and the spherical wheels, they arrived at the insistence of the director, Alex Proyas. The wheels were to play a central role in one of the movie’s chase scenes and…he thought the doors were cool that way.

As for Audi, they insisted on accepting this huge trapezoidal grille which would be called Single Frame some time later. A large grille not really essential, the RSQ being obviously electric, but we will forgive them this slight excess of zeal, it was necessary to justify the cost of the operation in one way or another.

Inside, it’s… refined, not to say spartan. By 2035, voice commands will probably have evolved to the point of being able to do without the current touch screens, which are more effective at keeping fingerprints than managing the air conditioning. Audi had also insisted, at the time, for this screen with the MMI display behind the steering wheel. A very futuristic steering wheel until… a few months ago, when Tesla presented the new interior of its Model S.

A Spartan passenger compartment, but spacious thanks to this giant windshield window and the retractable steering wheel in the dashboard, which comes out when Will Smith decides to switch to Manual mode in the film. Aesthetically, if the exterior was and remains futuristic today, the interior is quite classic.

In the film, the RSQ concept makes the typical sound of an electric motor. There’s no indication if it’s powered by banana peels and empty cans like the DeLorean of Back to the future. In reality, the RSQ used for the film was equipped with an ordinary 4-cylinder petrol engine and hid completely normal wheels behind its fake spheres from the future. Hollywood is just a smokescreen and we’re messing it up…I know. But we owe you the truth! (I do too much here, don’t I?)

Audi made three versions of this concept for the different needs of the film. The first, equipped with a motor, could move under its own power for certain dynamic shots, the second was dedicated to static shots even if it could be towed, and the third was optimized for indoor shots, facilitating the access to large cameras.

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