Since the legendary Ur-quattro was introduced in 1980, the four rings automaker has sold more than five million cars with permanent all-wheel drive and seen numerous race successes. Debuting at the 1983 IAA, the first Sport quattro took on the World Rally Championship with a short wheelbase, 306hp and technological innovations of the day. In 1987, Walter Rohrl took it to victory at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Over 20 years later, the Audi Sport quattro concept show car debuts utilizing DNA from the original Ur-quattro.
The concept works to bring the company's glory days of racing into the 21st century while also incorporating the latest modern technology. This plug-in hybrid concept uses both smart fuel consumption and go-fast performance for an all-around driver's car.
This concept is not short of power, with a claimed 700hp and 590 ft-lb of torque that pushes this hybrid coupe from 0-62mph in 3.7sec and to a top speed of 189mph, according to Audi. Power from both the gas-powered 4L twin-turbo V8 engine and electric motor is driven through a modified eight-speed tiptronic transmission to a powertrain featuring a sport differential on the rear axle. MPG does not run short either, with the capability to reach 94.1 mpg due to its hybrid nature.
The gas-powered engine produces 560hp and 516 ft-lb or torque. Making this unit efficient is the use of a cylinder on demand (COD) system, which deactivates four cylinders under part load and a stop-start system.
The electric motor is placed between the 4L TFSI and the transmission in the shape of a disc, which produces 147hp and 295 ft-lb of torque. It draws its traction energy from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery in the rear with a capacity of 14 kWh. Able to charge via an Audi wall box, the electric motor can provide up to 31 miles of driving time on electric power alone.
Aiding to its performance is the claimed 4078 lb curb weight - a result of a hood, roof and rear hatch made from carbon fiber reinforced polymer. Managing the weight in corners and over road surfaces is a dynamic suspension. To the front, five control arms are provided per wheel. The rear suspension utilizes the Audi track-controlled trapezoidal link principal. Dynamic steering varies its ratio depending on driving speed. To slow down, large calipers grip onto carbon fiber-ceramic brake discs. The tire format is 285/30 R 21.
The Sport quattro concept has a choice of three available driving modes that include: EV for pure electric driving, Hybrid for maximum efficiency, and Sport for maximum performance.
EV mode only uses the electric motor. An active accelerator indicates the transition to hybrid operation to the driver so they can control the switch between electric and hybrid vehicle.
Hybrid mode uses both the electric motor and gas engine in the most efficient way. If the navigation system is active, the route is optimized for efficiency. If the driver wants to retain a certain amount of electric charge or drive certain parts of their route on electric power, the Hold or Charge function can be selected to adjust the charge of the battery without charging from the grid.
Sport mode provides maximum power and performance. The electric boost function supports the gas engine in all driving situations while the energy management system ensures the battery has sufficient charge.
Although the exterior rings true to Audi styling, there are elements that bring the Sport quattro concept onto a new playing field. Sitting on 21in center-locking five twin-spoke wheels, the wheelbase is proportional coming in at 109in. The concept's body is 181in long with a width of 54in to create a wide and low-slung stance.
The headlights of the Sport quattro concept feature Matrix LED technology (available by years end in the refreshed A8) with two flat structures visible inside the light. The wrap-around daytime running lights along with the central low-beam unites and the Matrix LED enhance the front end's appearance.
The LED high-beam unit of the headlights is comprised of many individual diodes (electronic device that has two electrodes used especially as a rectifier). These work in tandem with upstream lenses and reflectors to provide optimal illumination. They are also activated, deactivated or dimmed according to driving situations.
"Blisters" above the fenders give the concept a more aggressive and broader stance. Throughout, sharp contours shape the muscular surfaces while the interplay between convex and concave surfaces gives the concept even more character.
The front of the concept offers a new design element. The hexagonal single-frame grille features a sculpted grille insert, an element borrowed from racing. The lower section is virtually vertical while the upper follows the line of the hood. Emphasizing the vehicle's width is the low grille while two large vertical blades divide each of the large air inlets.
The rear features a flat greenhouse and broad shoulders while the spoiler further accentuates the car's width. The distinctive feature of the concept's rear is the CFRP diffuser that extends far upward. While the upper section is similar to the front grille with a honeycombed material, the lower section houses two large oval tailpipes. Mounted onto the CFRP facing are the taillights that are rectangular, which is a quattro styling cue and also emphasizes the car's width. The flared sills are also made of CFRP.
Finally, the power door handles extend automatically to meet a driver or passengers approaching hand.
More the opposite from the bright exterior depicted, the interior features a spacious cabin in dark grey tones and precise lines. Driver focused, the interior utilizes technology and convenience features. The steering wheel, digital instrument cluster and heads-up display are in the driver's direct view.
Sporty racing bucket seats hold the driver and passenger in place while full rear seats for two additional passengers sit behind. The drivetrain runs under the continuous center console and the support structure (carbon shell) also serves as a storage compartment in the side doors.
The sporty multi-function steering wheel is used to switch between various virtual 3D displays while the instrument display is fully digital. Two modes are available via the 3D display including: Race mode with central speedometer, track information and a stopwatch or Set Up mode with detail information about various race tracks. The Audi MMI control unit makes for easy to enter information.
The air conditioning unit is an innovative feature as well, which integrates directly into the air vents. Temperature, intensity and air flow can be controlled using the same element. The display in the vents shows either media information or air conditioning settings.
Finally, the concepts trunk, which is reinforced by a solid crossbeam under the rear shelf, has the capacity of 10 cubic ft.
While we don't have anything definitive on whether or not this concept will go into production, you will see some of the technology used, such as the Matrix LED technology, in future models.