Just as Toyota has coasted in recent years on a reputation built some time ago, Audi’s latest round of interior-cheapening has gone largely unremarked-upon in the motoring press. Sitting in the new A4, I don’t find myself thinking, as Motor Trend did, that its “high-quality materials and clean, attractive design continue to live up to Audi’s stellar reputation as the industry benchmark.” In fact, the interiors of nearly every current Audi (except the A8 and TT) strike me as cheap, disappointing and monumentally uninspired. In other words, the opposite of living up to Audi’s reputation.
Good thing the reviewers haven’t noticed, because this picture of the next-generation A6 [via Auto Motor und Sport print edition] seems to indicate that the current batch of dreary interiors was a fluke. If the production model [on sale in Germany in early 2011] comes anywhere close to this A8-inspired vision, with its stripped-down, yet distinctive aesthetic (complete with wood finish apparently borrowed from the Phantom Drophead Coupe’s rear deck), we’ll all be able to pretend that Audi never lost its way. Which, frankly, is a lot easier than figuring out a new consensus for best interiors in the industry.