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Audi surprises with quattro tribute

2010-10-01 08:53

PAYING TRIBUTE: This is how Audi pays tribute to the quattro concept that started it all. The latest Audi quattro concept was unveiled at the 2010 Paris auto show.

It's 30 years since the first quattro had its debut at the Geneva auto show - now Audi’s lightweight Paris concept is showcasing the latest from Ingolstadt.

The show car, a spiritual successor to the 1984 Sport quattro, is based on the Audi RS5 which will be launched in South Africa in October, 2010.

Now a two-seater, the concept’s body has been significantly overhauled to include aluminium body panels and carbon-fibre components. The 1300kg kerb weight is, according to Audi, similar to the weight of the 1984 quattro concept and technologies developed for this concept are expected to filter into future Audi’s production vehicles.

Furthermore, the RS5’s eight-cylinder engine has been dumped in favour of a lighter but turbocharged inline five lifted from the potent TT RS. In the quattro concept, the 2.5-litre FSI turbo generates 300kW from 5400-6500rpm and 480Nm from 1600rpm. Acceleration to 100km/h takes only 3.9sec.

Drive is delivered to all wheels through a six-speed manual transmission but the key to the new quattro permanent all-wheel drive is a crown-gear centre differential that is smaller and lighter. It can better vary the distribution of power between the front and rear wheels to improve the quattro system’s reaction time to milliseconds.

REMINISCENT: The Audi quattro's squared rear harks back to the Ur-quattro.

Other than being a concept with all its important matter beneath the metal, the quattro concept looks the part, too.

Its wheelbase has been shortened by 150mm and the roof lowered by around 40mm compared with the RS5 to give the car overall dimensions of 4.28m (length), 1.86m (width) and 1.33m (height). The rear overhang has been reduced by 200mm and results in a more balanced profile .

The car certainly looks a lot more assertive with its rimless single-frame grille, prominent front air intakes and motorsport-inspired centre-locking, seven twin-spoked, 20" rims in dramatically flared wheel arches. Drilled carbon-fibre ceramic brake discs use six-pot callipers.

The two bucket seats, each weighing only 18kg, have been equipped with three or four-point safety belts. Carbon fibre and leather finishes dominate and the instrument cluster is entirely digital. Its 3D display has replaced the traditional MMI central display.

Many cabin finishes are reminiscent of the Ur-quattro of the 1980's.

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