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Audi reveals new Quattro concept sketches before Frankfurt

Wed, 14 Aug 2013

Audi has released a series of official design sketches revealing its reborn Quattro supercar concept, which will underpin the German carmaker's presence at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

The modern-day Quattro aims to revive the spirit of the rally-bred Sport Quattro launched in 1984.

The aggressively styled coupe has been conceived as a limited-production model that is set to be priced above that of any existing Audi model as technological figurehead for the rest of the lineup with a new plug-in hybrid driveline that mates a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 gasoline engine and electric motor for an overall output close to 800 hp.

The production version will be assembled on a dedicated line at the Quattro division in Neckarsulm, Germany. Sales of the car are expected to begin in 2016.

First hinted at in 2010 with the unveiling of the Audi Quattro concept, the new car is expected to form the centerpiece of Audi's renewed focus on all-wheel drive following moves by Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes-Benz to increase the number of four-wheel-drive models in their lineup.

Ingolstadt officials have already revealed to Autoweek that the focus of the company's activities at the Frankfurt show will be on four-wheel drive. “We have a great history with quattro four-wheel drive, and this will be reflected by what we have in store for the Frankfurt motor show,” said a source.

Despite issuing official sketches of the new car, details continue to remain scarce, but in a move aimed at reining in development costs and providing crucial economies of scale, Audi is thought to have held firm to its original plans to base the road-going production version of the well-received Quattro concept on a modified version of the MLB platform that underpins the A5.

However, while the concept rode on a 102.3-inch wheelbase, the production car is likely to use a wheelbase similar to that of the existing A5, at 110.6 inches. The change will alter the Quattro's proportions slightly but, at the same time, provide it with added interior space.

The use of the longer wheelbase means the new car is also set to grow beyond the 168.5 inches of the earlier concept to somewhere around 177.2 inches in length, or just under 8.0 inches less than the A5. Width and height are, however, likely to mirror the concept at 73.2 inches and 52.4 inches, respectively.

In place of the 408-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine used in the earlier concept, Audi looks set to provide the production version of the Quattro with a heavily tuned version of its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, complete with cylinder deactivation. Again, nothing is official, but Audi sources suggest power will be pumped up to more than 600 hp — 40 hp more than the recently introduced RS6 Avant, which uses the same powerplant.

Audi says the addition of a 170-hp electric motor will boost overall output of the new four-wheel-drive flagship to nearly 800 hp. Lithium-ion batteries mounted low down in the floor of the trunk will be recharged with a plug, and electric energy will be recuperated on the run.

The heady power reserves will be channeled through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters and, in keeping with tradition, a Torsen torque-sensing four-wheel-drive system with a sport differential offering torque vectoring to all four wheels.

Extensive use of lightweight materials will be made in non-load-bearing areas as part of Audi's Ultra weight-saving initiative, but whether Audi can achieve the 2,866-pound curb weight it claimed for the concept remains to be seen. As a point of reference, the all-wheel-drive, 328-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6-powered S5 weighs 3,847 pounds.

Sources suggest a 0-62-mph time of less than 4 seconds and a top speed approaching 186 mph, which is the sort of straight-line performance matched in the Audi lineup only by the R8 V10.

By Greg Kable