source: Audi AG
- 99 times pure fascination: from the unique ice race concept to a special edition
- Audi exclusive: three decades of customization expertise at the sporty Audi subsidiary
- Bernhard Neufeld, Head of Audi exclusive: “New style of the ice race edition as the emotional pinnacle of electromobility”
Audi celebrates the 40th anniversary of Audi Sport GmbH, which emerged from quattro GmbH founded in 1983, with the Audi RS e-tron GT (combined electric power consumption in kWh/100 km [62.1 mi]: 22.1–19.8, combined CO2 emissions in g/km [g/mi]: 0) as a special edition: The ice race edition embodies a new form of individualization. This edition enriches the emotional portfolio of Audi exclusive – an offering that has delighted the brand’s distinguished clientele for some three decades now.
Audi draws its inspiration for this edition from the unique GP Ice Race in Austria. The color tones of the world of snow are reflected on the outer skin of the body and are continued in the interior. With its basic color Florett silver metallic and the black carbon roof in combination with a striking foil warp, the Audi RS e-tron GT ice race edition appears magical at first sight. The colors silver and white symbolize sparkling snow crystals and ice lakes, the purple accents evoke images of shimmering ski goggles. The precise accentuations and transparent patterns harmoniously, yet excitingly, reproduce the style of mountainous winter worlds. This color scheme is continued in the interior: seat center panels, shoulder arches and side bolsters in diamond silver leather emphasize this character. Combined with black leather sections and contrasting purple stitching, the four-door Gran Turismo spoils you with an exclusive ambience. Striking details round off the interior experience. “This new style of the ice race edition underscores the emotional pinnacle of electric mobility at Audi,” says Bernhard Neufeld, Head of Audi exclusive. “Our customization gives this electric Gran Turismo a very special personality.”
The ice race edition is inspired by the design ideas of the Audi RS e-tron GT ice race concept show car and is now available in a special edition of only 99 units for Europe. The basis for the limited edition is the unchanged 440 kW RS e-tron GT. Customers can charge it at more than 500,000 public charging points in Europe with a single card using the Audi charging service. With fast DC charging at a maximum of 270 kW, five minutes of charging time is sufficient for about 100 kilometers of driving under ideal conditions.
Exterior with unique combination of paint and foil wrap
Started in 1952 and revived in 2019, the GP Ice Race event is derived from Scandinavian skijoring, but the race cars pull the skiers and there are show and demo runs. Drifting race cars from the past and present in Zell am See create their own spectacle in a snowy mountain region. The Mankei, an alpine pasture on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, also belongs to this world. Audi Design was inspired by this topography and its colors and created a unique piece – the Audi RS e-tron GT ice race concept. Now the designers transfer the unique associations almost unchanged into a special edition. “Combining the past, the future and mirrored sports sunglasses as a starting point, created a look that makes the Audi RS e-tron GT stand out,” said Christopher Kroener, Color and Trim designer. “I wanted the vehicle to pay homage to the thrilling motorsport atmosphere and the spirit of past racing legends, while looking to the future. The allusions to ice and snow add a special dimension to the design. The color play between white and silver pays homage to the cool atmosphere. It is meant to pick up on the icy glitter and shimmer of the snow and convey the feeling of speed and dynamism experienced at the GP Ice Race during winter in Zell am See.”
Starting from the body color in Florett silver metallic, the RS e-tron GT receives a foil wrap. The foil works with targeted transparencies and does not cover the entire surface. Although all exterior components are foil wrapped, this gives the foil a partial effect. The effect achieved by this type of wrap is that it adds white tones three-dimensionally to the monochrome silver background. Contrasting violet elements set striking accents. The patterns of the foils abstract ice crystals and transfer the hatching symbolism into a new world of color. The designers have taken ideas from the concept – including the brand emblems of the four rings at the front and rear in white instead of the traditional shades of chrome or black. 21-inch rims in black, a black roof made of CFRP and privacy glazing add a note of stability and road-holding to the nuanced lightness of the light-colored body.
Interior combines exclusivity from leather to MMI
A sporty look catches the eye right from the first glance inside: the interior appears to be that of a four-seater due to the division of colors, but is approved for five people. The seat center panels, shoulder arches and side bolsters of the leather seats are presented in diamond silver, contrasted against the black areas. This idea relies on accent colors that are applied in smaller areas, but never over the entire surface. With this, Audi exclusive has individualized the interior in coordination with the exterior and the foil wrap. A new steering wheel, finished in a leather-Alcantara combination, has a color mark in diamond silver in the twelve o’clock position, like in racing cars. Expressive accents in the center console and dashboard, floor mats with modified RS logos and the Audi exclusive badges round off the interior of the ice race edition. The contrasting stitching in purple also subtly picks up on a striking exterior attribute in the interior.
“We have also realized the high level of exclusivity in the digital world,” says Michael Binder, product manager of Audi exclusive. “In the MMI display, we offer a bespoke MMI background image for the special edition. In parallel, the familiar selection options continue in the theme worlds section.” With the changed background image in the MMI, the RS e-tron GT ice race edition lettering is displayed in the lower left of the screen. At the bottom right, customers can see the unique serial number of their exclusive edition. This means that this feature, which has always been identifiable by badges in the analog world, has now arrived in the digital world for the first time. The ambient lighting switches to purple when the mountain motif is selected. However, all the familiar MMI features remain unchanged in parallel with the new features of the ice race edition. They can also still be freely selected on demand.
Customization with around 30 years of tradition
The ice race edition is the latest offering from a creative think tank. When Audi began its customization program in 1995, the company achieved milestones early on in the premium sector. Office packages for the first generation of the Audi A8 with a fridge box, bar compartment, VHS player coupled with a monitor, folding table and electrically operated curtains testified to the pioneering spirit of quattro GmbH at the time. With an awareness of high individuality, the department even set trends against prevailing standards: black-painted Audi rings were not yet a practice at the time, but have become established as an option thanks to the daring creativity of the subsidiary. Today, they are an integral part of sought-after styling packages. Audi has also made great progress in production: Whereas in the past, refinements often required manual reworking in the workshop, the brand has now succeeded in incorporating highly sought-after individualizations directly on the production line.
The variety of body colors in the Audi Sport GmbH range is particularly attractive. While the standard range of most models includes ten to eleven options, several dozen individual paint finishes clearly complement this offer. If desired, tones from an even wider spectrum from the automotive sector can be selected. The special experience gained from almost 30 years of customization includes the specific requirements of individual markets in terms of color schemes and other equipment features: In Asia, for example, other attractive color combinations are more popular than in Europe. There are also general trends: For example, some customers currently prefer matte silver or nardo gray as paint colors. The Audi exclusive customizer, a configurator introduced in 2022, allows a much more detailed 3D visualization of thousands of design combinations than before.
The sporty Audi subsidiary also demonstrated its pioneering spirit from 2005 with the Audi exclusive studios at Audi Forum Neckarsulm and Audi Forum Ingolstadt. They enable comprehensive personal customer consultations. In addition to the highly customizable Audi exclusive offerings, the exclusive concept editions introduced in 2009 offer exquisite but preconfigured equipment combinations. The Audi Q7 coastline exclusive concept, for example, had a parquet floor from boat building. A few years later, the Audi R8 GT borrowed closely from racing with bucket seats, a fire extinguisher, four-point seat belts and a roll bar. Special production runs of two- to three-digit numbers, often for local or regional markets, continue to keep Audi exclusive orders flowing today. The 25th anniversary package available for several models, the Nogaro edition of the Audi RS 6 Avant performance in memory of the Audi RS 2 Avant or the TT RS iconic edition are examples of editions in demand.
Even in the future, the creative minds at Audi will not run out of ideas. With new selections such as edition-specific MMI background images, individualization also extends to the virtual world. Image motifs for the MMI display, the expansion of theme worlds, new atmospheres through ambient lighting, and an expansion of Audi exclusive into digital areas represent completely new elements. New editions, expanded color options and materials, such as Dinamica in new design packages, further deepen the offering. They point the way to a future in which the combination of classic equipment features with virtual immersion promises even more intense experiences.