Creating a screen legend

Just what goes into creating a supercar for a super spy?

James Bond, Michael Knight, Batman — famous film stars need supercars and that’s also true for the main character in the new animated film from Blue Sky Studios, Spies in Disguise. 

31 December, 2019

The co-operation with Blue Sky Studios was a unique project for the team from Audi

It’s a wild chase through Washington. A helicopter is close on the tail of agent Lance Sterling and scientist Walter Beckett. Driving at high-speed between buildings, collapsed bridges, and subway tunnels sees the young Beckett start to panic, but Sterling stays cool. He knows his Audi RSQ e-tron is well and truly up to the task.

The elegant dark blue sports car with a glowing Audi logo sees the heroes safely through all their adventures in the animated film, and while it may be an animated car created especially for the film, it boasts an impressive array of current Audi technology.

With functions on demand, Lance books an add-on drive on the go, while the fully autonomous driving mode lets them concentrate on their pursuers.

A folding steering wheel gives Lance more legroom in autonomous driving mode and the hologram tachometer is the design highlight in the animated car.

Laser light provides optimum visibility even in the most difficult situations and steerable front and rear axles give the car maximum flexibility.

And, on top of that, the Audi RSQ e-tron is powered by an electric motor – the most modern type of drive available today. 

The co-operation with Blue Sky Studios was a unique project for the team from Audi. “It is always exciting to see how other designers view our work,” says Jan Poliak. And the animated film is the perfect environment to see how the future of Audi might look. 

Uniting the Audi design quality with Blue Sky Studios’ requirements was a challenge for the designers, especially as they weren’t familiar with the script and didn’t know exactly what would happen in the animated film. 

Initially, the film studio only sent images for reference to Audi. But despite these difficulties, Jan Poliak now says, with a smile on his face: “It was one of the best projects that you could get as a designer.”

The laws of physics — and safety concerns — play no role whatsoever for a virtual car. That gives the designers a great deal of freedom in the design, despite the aesthetic specifications from the film studio. The animated futuristic car was created in about six months, while the development of a real car takes three to four years.

Audi developed a total of three different concepts for Spies in Disguise. The film company made its final decision in collaboration with the Audi designers and the specialists at the animation studio created the virtual car’s special spy equipment.

To optimise the RSQ e-tron, the designers stepped into another world, using virtual reality to test the design of the autonomous car. To that end, Audi has special rooms, devices — and a special department. The designers also used a giant 3D screen to design the vehicle. 

Although the wheels of the autonomous spy car will never touch the streets of the real world, development didn’t take place entirely on the computer. A physical model made of plastic or clay is the best way for the designers to check the proportions and quality of the design. “After all, we live in a physical world,” explains Jan Poliak. 

Spies in Disguise explodes onto Australian screens tomorrow for an all action start to the New Year.