A few weeks ago Audi teased us with a styling sketch of a concept quattro. Now we get to see the real deal ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show – and it’s a hybrid!
- 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 with hybrid electric motor,
- 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, 187 mph top speed and 113 mpg!
Styling of the Sport quattro concept clearly draws on the original “Ur-quattro” model which debuted in 1980. Whilst elements such as the squat stance, boxy rear ‘arches and bonnet vent may be inspired by the eighties original, Audi intends the Sport quattro concept to dictate future styling of its performance models. Expect it to influence the direction of the next generation A5 coupe.
The twin rectangular headlights might also look like those from its predecessor, but they’re thoroughly modern LED units, with matrix technology from the new Audi A8. Likewise the retro-inspired bodywork makes use of carbon fibre and aluminium to keep weight to a minimum. Oh, and the original quattro never had an automatically rising rear-spoiler. Or carbon fibre ceramic brakes. Or gorgeous 21″ centre-lock alloy wheels…
But then, 33 years ago, I very much doubt anyone at Audi considering fitting a car with a 4.0 litre, twin-turbo V8 producing 560 PS and 516 lb-ft of torque. Nor would they have imagined combining it with a 110 kw electric motor that adds an extra 295 lb-ft to the party. Just in case you want that clarifying, we’re talking about an AWD coupe that has over 800 lb-ft of torque available! A modified tiptronic gearbox with eight speeds handles the job of containing so much twist, with a sport differential fitted to the rear axle.
The 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged directly from mains power, with the potential for the Sport quattro concept to cover 31 miles on electricity alone. This allows the concept to record staggering official figures such as 113 mpg and a CO2 output of 59 grams per kilometre – incredible when the performance on offer is considered. Cylinder on demand technology in the petrol V8 helps out too, as does a stop-start system. Could this really be a guilt-free supercar?
Importantly, the Sport quattro concept does have a sport mode, which is one of three options modes available. ‘EV mode’ runs in full electric only, whilst ‘Hybrid mode’ uses data (including that from the navigation system) to optimise fuel efficiency. But ‘Sport mode’ combines the power of both petrol and electric motors to give maximum performance. which is one of three options modes available. ‘EV mode’ runs in full electric only, whilst ‘Hybrid mode’ uses data (including that from the navigation system) to optimise fuel efficiency. But ‘Sport mode’ combines the power of both petrol and electric motors to give maximum performance.
Inside the Sport quattro concept continues the use of carbon fibre and aluminium, with a 3D digital dashboard, capable of showing a variety of displays depending on the driving mode being used. It also features a ‘setup’ option that features information on numerous race circuits – evidence that the Sport quattro concept should not be a stranger to the track.
It’s not all track focused extremism, however. Like the original quattro it’s a full four-seater, although 300 litres of luggage space means it might not be your first choice of load-lugger. But, quite frankly, I’m sure this could be overlooked when you notice details like the air-conditioning controls being integrated into the air vents themselves.
So, after all the effort Audi has clearly gone to, will the Sport quattro concept become a reality? Whilst it is very much being mooted purely as a ‘show car’ for now, since the first quattro concept emerged in 2010 there has been talk of a limited production run. Clearly a significant level of engineering thought has gone into the Sport quattro concept which would be wasted if it never turned a wheel in anger.
The limited edition Audi A1 quattro proved that there is a market for expensive four-oval badged trinketry. For those few who grew up watching the original quattro tackle the World Rally Championship, and have around £130,000 spare, the Sport quattro concept could potentially become a reality. Public reaction at the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show will probably dictate whether it gets a green light to become real.
EngageSportMode truly hopes Audi does put it into production, as not only is the Sport quattro concept brutally gorgeous, the technology packed within makes it as revolutionary as the “Ur-quattro” was three decades ago.