Audi’s homage to the ur-Quattro of years past will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show barely a week from now but the automaker is already offering us up a few different angles on the striking Audi Sport Quattro Concept.
The “legitimate successor” to the ‘80s-era Audi Quattro also provides a sneak peak at the sporty coupe expected to make it to market in about two year’s time. Whether the production model will share the high-performance plug-in hybrid drivetrain found in the coupe remains to be seen, however.
The new Audi Sport Quattro Concept – which updates a concept vehicle Audi revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show — clearly pays its respects to the original Quattro coupe, with details such as the angular, flat C-pillars, the rectangular double headlights, the blisters above the fenders, and the overall, muscular design. But don’t confuse this with some of the retro-mobiles we’ve seen in recent years.
With its sunburst paint scheme, the new model features some decidedly modern design elements, such as the LED headlamps, hexagonal, single-frame grille, and carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer – or CFRP – rear splitter, sill extensions and front spoiler lip.
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Audi’s designers set out to reinterpret the original, solidly angular Quattro Coupe in a more dynamic manner, the maker suggesting, “They give the body even greater emotional appeal and broad shoulders. Throughout the car, sharp contours frame tautly muscular surfaces. With their interplay between convex and concave curvatures, the engine hood, fenders and flanks define the athletic character of the Audi Sport Quattro Concept.”
Inside, CFRP is used for the 4-seat cabin’s shell and complementing details. There’s a fully reconfigurable instrument cluster and the climate controls are directly integrated into the air vents. All vehicles controls are integrated into a line that runs below the windshield and encircles both driver and front seat passenger.
Perhaps the most significant update can be found under the hood, however. The original coupe made its debut in Frankfurt in 1983, and was meant as a homologation model to allow the race version to enter the World Rally Championship. It was a serious contender with a then-astounding 306 horsepower and the all-wheel-drive system that made it revolutionary for its time. Among other things, the original Sport Quattro claimed victory on the grueling 1987 Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb.
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Whether Audi will take a new Sport Quattro back to the track is another unanswered question but in concept trim it features a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain pairing a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with a
The four-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain combines a 552-horsepower 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine with a 148-hp electric motor. Unless our math has failed us, that means a combined 700 hp and peak torque of 690lb ft. An eight-speed automatic gearbox links up with the requisite Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Intriguingly, the numbers Audi quotes will likely impress both performance drivers and environmentalists. It claims 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) of just 3.7 seconds – a wee bit faster than the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, it should be noted – and a top speed of 189 mph. At the same time, Audi anticipates a range of 31 miles on electric power alone, European-rated fuel economy of 94 mpg and CO2 emissions of a mere 59 g/km.
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Despite the large lithium-ion battery pack, the Audi Sport Quattro Coupe Concept weighs in at a reasonable 4,079 pounds. At 181.1 inches in length, 77.3 inches in width, 54.6 in height and with a wheelbase of 109.6 inches, the show car is slightly smaller than the current A5 – both sharing the same basic architecture, or platform.
The inside word is that Audi is expecting to put at least a limited number of Quattro Coupes into production about two years from now. Here’s hoping it will offer more details on those plans in Frankfurt.