Audi Q8 sport concept

A glance under the hood

Engine compartment designing at Audi

Designers that just occupy themselves with what is under the hood? Yes, they exist. Four of them share insights about their work: designing engine compartments. They shared the challenges in engine compartment designing with Audi blog author Kristina Riedl.

Motorinnenraum Audi R8
The classic Audi design in combination with the specific characteristics of the respective model create the look of the engine compartment.

“Engine compartment design is one of the most exciting disciplines of automobile design. Numerous regulations and frameworks give us very limited creative freedom”, says Stefan Rödlmaier, Coordination Design Components.

In the engine compartment, two worlds meet: The task is to combine technology and optics harmonically. The Audi design strategy serves as a red thread. It is oriented towards simple, dynamic and precise design elements. The engine compartment designers have four months for their concepts – regardless of the drive type.

Which ideas lie behind the engine compartment design

Whether diesel motor or electric engine, the goal for each model is the same: to maintain the visual requirements and the spirit of the time of exterior and interior in the engine compartment. In the exterior design of Audi cars, as for example in the e-tron, it is clearly visible that the car has an electric drive. But what about the engine compartment’s design? Are there design elements that are specific to one type of drive? Four engine compartment designers give answers and explain what makes the engine compartment designed by them so special. Find out which visual highlights the compartments have and where the designer’s inspiration stems from. They also offer a glimpse under the hood.

Motorraumdesigner Audi Adrian Egger
Motorraumdesigner Audi Viktor Luft
Motorraumdesigner Audi Alexander Schlesier
Motorraumdesigner Audi Thomas Biedermann

R8 V10: a top athlete with a perfected design

Like a painting in a frame, the engine of the Audi R8 lies behind a glass frame in the car’s rear side. “At the beginning of each project, I ask myself which character the product has”,the designer Thomas Biedermann explains. “For me, the Audi R8 is most definitely a fast and elegant top athlete”.

And that is exactly where his inspiration stems from: For his design concept, Biedermann was inspired by elements usually found in jets and yachts. The look of both induction manifolds reminds of round power units usually found in jets. The air filters are structured like wings. The design of the side panel trim accentuates the engine’s dynamic and efficiency. The ignition coil’s color design accentuates the PS power of the Audi R8. Another striking feature is the crossbar above the engine, which almost seems like a cage trying to tame the enormous power of the engine. Simple surfaces and clear edges – in accordance with the Audi design language – put the focus on the essential: the engine.

A cage for the tiger: the cross strut above the engine keeps the 540 PS of the Audi R8 V10 in check.


In the exterior design, customers receive an optional foliation; it is red and runs across front bonnet, roof and the rear.


The puristic character of the new R8 variant is accentuated by the matt black painted grille of the single frame and by the matt black air filters in rear and front.


The V6 TFSI: symmetry and simplicity

To reflect a car’s character is one thing. To give the engine compartment a tidied up and organized appearance, is another. The designers aim for symmetry. As an eye-catching element, the number of cylinders is listed on the design cover of the V6 TFSI. “It is crucial to adapt the design language of the engine compartment to the exterior. If the front is particularly edgy, we want to include that in the body line”, says designer Alexander Schlesier. Harmonic transitions and always looking at the design in context is the prime task. The S and RS models receive an additional optic highlight: red elements at the cylinders or a thin red line along the engine accentuate dynamic. “Unfortunately, there are many boundaries to our creativity. The edges, heights and depths basically appear on their own, depending on where the cable or sensors lie,” explains Schlesier.

Motor Audi S5 Coupé V6
Strong power in the design as well as in the functionality: the turbocharged 3.0 TFSI engine offers a visual display of the number of cylinders and a high performance and strong torque.

The Audi h-tron: a combination of technology and futurism

Designers enjoy more freedom of creativity when it comes to show cars. At first glance under the engine hood of the h-tron quattro concept, the tidied and high-quality design catches the watchful eye. The color concept of the exterior can be found in the engine compartment. The large aluminum and plastic surfaces protect the technical elements from prying eyes. They embrace the perfectly aligned and illuminated Audi Rings in the middle.

The design in a light grey, directs the view to the heart: the fuel cell. Framed by slats that serve cooling purposes; its appearance corresponding to the front grille’s outline. “My inspirational source for the h-tron? The world of robots”, explains designer Adrian Egger. “The contrast to the design cover’s quiet surface to the complex technology beneath it fascinates me.”

The Audi h-tron quattro concept demonstrates the fifth generation of the fuel cell technology by Audi and Volkswagen. New materials for the diaphragms and the bipolar plates that direct the gases in the stack and simultaneously separate the cells from each other.


The chassis highlights the character of the Audi h-tron quattro concept. The adaptive air suspension sport – the air suspension with controlled damping – contributes to efficiency. It lowers the body in two stages by up to 30 millimeters (1.2 in) as the speed increases, thus reducing drag. The driver can regulate the adaptive air suspension sport via the Audi drive select system.


The hydrogen tanks of the Audi h-tron quattro concept differ in size. The front one is installed longitudinally beneath the center console, and the two other tanks transversely beneath the rear seats and luggage compartment respectively.


The Audi h-tron quattro concept accelerates in less than 7 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, his maximum speed is limited to 200 km/h. During moderate deceleration, the electric motors feed energy back into the high-voltage battery.


The side view represents the concept studies’ character. The fluid shoulder line creates striking contours by using aerodynamically optimized wheels – a reference to the quattro genetic of Audi.


The e-engine: unmistakably electrical and functional

From 2018 onwards, the first fully electric Audi will be driving on the streets. The engine’s power is reflected in the optics of the Audi e-tron’s engine compartment. Clear forms and precise edges create a harmonic and calm overall appearance. Cooling slates are typical design features of the Audi e-tron’s designing cover. The vertical arrangement of the exterior cooling slates continues in the engine compartment. The dominant design of the fresh-air supply is quite remarkable: The vast vent helps with additional air supply and thus enables an efficient engine performance. This is where functionality and optics complement each other.

Motorinnenraum Audi e-tron

With the e-tron models, Audi takes another step towards the future: at the end 2017 with a seperate team in the Formula E and with the e-tron and other series production models starting in 2018. Their aim is that by 2025 every third produced Audi will be a electrified one.

quattro drivetrain
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Reme issa owais

28. January 2018 um 6:31
Geniuses engine with a high technology

Rahul Choubey

25. January 2018 um 13:22
Quite an interesting article. Gives an insight of how the design philosophy works especially inside the artistically designed exteriors. Definitely it's a complex task to ensure the aesthetically pleasing design without compromising on functional and durability aspect of it.

Indeed a fascination to live....

Consumption and emission figures of vehicles on this page:

Audi R8 V10 RWS: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.6 – 12.4; Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 286 – 283. Figures on the fuel consumption and the CO2-emissions vary in case of given ranges depending on the used combination of wheels/tires. //