Audi has just released this first glimpse of a dramatically styled concept slated for an L.A. Auto Show debut. Said to preview a new range-topping model, the vehicle is the first created by 45-year-old Audi design chief Marc Lichte, who took over the post in February. This intriguing one-off previews a "highly emotional and new design idiom" that "embodies the progressive values of Audi." Sporty and sensual, it embodies design cues of future models, although a good number of classic Audi touches - including the signature singleframe grille - will remain. In addition to its dramatic exterior themes, the Audi Concept also will introduce a new take on interior design. 

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While Audi stopped short of sharing any mechanical details about this nascent flagship, it's believed a production offshoot - strongly rumored to arrive with an A9 designation -- will be based on the next-generation A8 platform. The specific body configuration remains unknown, but like the A8, it should offer force-fed V6 and V8 gasoline engines as well as a potent V6 turbodiesel, the latest iteration of Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system and at some point, an S9 performance model.

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