Another day, another Audi concept car – although this one was slightly more unexpected compared to the Sport quattro concept revealed last week. To mark the start of the Frankfurt Motor Show, which we’ve seemingly been talking about for weeks, Ingolstadt dropped this unexpected new V10 diesel coupe on us.
- Twin turbo 5.0 litre V10 TDI making 544 hp and (737.56 lb-ft of torque,
- 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds, 189 mph top-speed,
- AWD quattro drivetrain and four-wheel steering.
Audi is pitching the nanuk (yes, lower case n) as the sports car for “any stage of life and for any surface” combining on-road performance with off-road ability. Although it may only be a show car, the engineering behind the nanuk celebrates Audi’s achievements in motorsport and road car technology, whilst also hinting at future developments.
Styling was undertaken by collaboration with Italdesign Giugiaro, and is slightly reminiscent of the Audi Quattro Spyder concept revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1991. Like that nineties effort, the nanuk uses a lightweight aluminium Audi Space Frame construction combined with carbon fibre reinforced plastic bodywork. Despite this the nanuk tips the scales at 1,900 kgs – blame the hefty V10 diesel engine and strengthened seven-speed DSG transmission for some of that bulk.
Air suspension allows the nanuk to lower itself by 30mm, or raise by 40mm, depending on the terrain it is crossing. Audi claims the car also recognises turning onto a gravel road and adjusts the suspension accordingly. Carbon-ceramic brakes are needed to control all that torque and weight, but the centrepiece of the nanuk’s technology comes in the form of its active four-wheel steering system.
Whilst the front end uses the tested Audi ‘dynamic steering’ system, capable of making adjustments to keep the car on track, the rear uses hydraulic actuators to move the rear track rod arms. At low speeds the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction by up to 9 degrees, giving the 4.5 metre long nanuk a turning circle of just 10 metres. At speed the rear wheels match the direction of the fronts, giving the car greater stability and agility.
Furthering the crossover of abilities and influences, the two-seater nanuk combines enough luggage space at the front for golf clubs, whilst having a race car style one-piece clamshell at the rear to reveal the engine easily. The interior is defined by more carbon fibre, dark aluminium and grey leather trim. Cameras and displays replace the traditional interior and wing mirrors, furthering the advanced technology theme.
Whilst it may be a mish-mash of styles and influences that pushes the crossover idea to the extreme – a 4WD, diesel, coupe, off-road, supercar – there is still something undoubtedly cool about the nanuk. It’s just a shame it’ll most probably only ever exist as a show car, just like the Avus Spyder 22 years ago.