This year marks the 30th birthday of Audi’s now famous quattro all-wheel drive system. The short-wheelbase plastic-bodied extreme machine called the Sport Quattro or Ur Quattro serves as the source of inspiration for the Audi Quatto concept, which will be unveiled tomorrow at the 2010 Paris show.
Loosely based on the Audi RS5, the Audi Quattro concept sits on a wheelbase that has been shorted by almost 6 inches. The rear overhang was shortened by 7.9 inches, and the roofline was lowered by 1.6 inches. Together, these reductions add up to a much tighter package and more muscular proportions. To help bring the weight down to similar weight as the Sport Quattro Audi replaced the steel body of the production RS5 with a custom aluminum spaceframe architecture clad with carbon fiber panels. The RS5’s V8 and dual-clutch transmission was also swapped out for a turbocharged five-cylinder and a manual six-speed gearbox to further reducing weight.
Unlike the Sport Quattro, which was a classic 2+2, the Quattro concept only has room for two adults. Behind the seats, there’s space for helmets, a roll cage, or a couple of fire extinguishers. The actual cargo deck extends further, with Audi opting for a classic trunk lid in place of a hatch. The undersides of the Quattro concept’s carbon body panels were left unpainted in another weight-saving measure.
With the exception of wheels, tailpipes, and a signature set of Audi LED light banks, the exterior is pretty straightforward. As a world first, the LED headlights boast dynamic components that vary from horizontal to vertical, and from slit-eyed to wide open. Instead of conventional turn signals, the new light units integrate amber streaks out front and moving yellow brackets at the rear.
Although this new Quattro stays true to its turbo five-cylinder heritage, its output is not surprisingly much more impressive on paper than the original. The Quattro concept’s new 2.5-liter engine features four valves per cylinder. The engine is rated at 408 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.
Naturally, the Quattro concept features the latest in quattro tech, including a rear-biased, 40:60 torque split and the recently introduced sport differential that distributes the power between the rear wheels at a variable rate for optimum handling. While the suspension is closely related to the RS5, the concept’s extra-large carbon-ceramic discs are straddled by six-piston calipers done in anodized red. The handmade 14-spoke rims come with 275/30 R20 Dunlop Sportmaxx tires.
Inside, the Sparco buckets weigh a mere 40 pounds each. Trimmed in soft beige leather, they offer electrically adjustable backrests, a carbon fiber frame, integrated four- or five-point belts, and side air bags. Other materials in the cabin include brushed aluminum, more carbon fiber, and satin black leather. Via the Audi MMI interface, the driver has access to a large center display that can toggle through a variety of functions, from classic round instruments to rally-style pace notes coordinated by the navigation system.
The power-to-weight ratio of the Quattro concept roughly matches that of the 525hp R8 5.2 FSI. The performance and consumption figures are equally impressive. Audi say the car can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in roughly 3.8 seconds onto an electronically limited 250km/h (155mph) top speed. And as far as ride and handling are concerned, the concept Quattro is bound to drive circles around the relatively twitchy Sport Quattro.
More impressions on the 2010 Audi Quattro Concept can be found here tomorrow when we had a chance to take a closer look at the car at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.