Audi quattro Concept, 2010

Audi quattro Concept, 2010

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the debut of the quattro, Audi is presenting a show car at the 2010 Paris Motor Show that moves a futuristic interpretation of this concept into the fast lane: the Audi quattro Concept, a thoroughbred driving machine with 300 kW (408 hp), five-cylinder turbocharged engine, a lightweight body and - of course - the latest generation of quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

The Audi quattro Concept uses the latest evolutionary stage of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system to deliver its power to the road. The key innovation, the crown-gear center differential, is compact, lightweight, and can vary the distribution of power between the front and rear axles over a broad range, enabling the quattro drive system to react within milliseconds to coax the maximum of fun and safety out of every last bit of torque.

Brawny, compact, powerful: The appearance of the Audi quattro Concept makes no secret of its potential. Although the genes of the elegant Audi A5 and RS5 Coupés are impossible to overlook, the appearance of the show car is far more aggressive and extroverted. Even the obvious differences between the base model and the evolution are more dramatic than between the Ur-quattro and the Sport quattro in 1984.

In contrast to Sport quattro, the Audi designers also shortened the rear overhang by a total of 200 millimeters (7.87 in) to maintain the harmony of the basic proportions. Roof height was reduced by 40 millimeters (1.57 in) for this same reason.

With its exterior dimensions (length x width x height) of 4.28 m (14.04 ft) x 1.86 m (6.10 ft) x 1.33 m (4.36 ft) and wheelbase of 2.60 m (8.53 ft), the Audi quattro Concept fits neatly into the sports car segment.

The wheel wells in the arched fenders are prominently flared - another quote from the design language of the Sport quattro. The same applies to the distinctive air outlet on the right side of the hood, which allows the five-cylinder engine to breathe more freely.

A significant feature of the front end is the stark single-frame grille. The elimination of the chrome frame lends it a functional and technical character. Large, upright air intakes at the corners of the bumper underscore the performance of the power plant.

The top of the grille merges into the flat strips of the headlight modules with their clear glass covers. All light units use ultra-efficient LED technology. The LED elements change their appearance between a horizontal and a vertical arrangement and thus change the character of the front end of the vehicle depending on the lighting function activated.

The interior of the coupé is reduced and clean. The dashboard is very slender and seems to float over the separate center console. Shortening the wheelbase meant losing the rear seat of the RS5 on which it is based. In its place is a shelf for helmets or luggage. Awaiting the two occupants are filigree bucket seats, during whose development the issue of lightweight design played a central role. They weigh only 18 kilograms (39.68 lb) each - a weight advantage of roughly 40 percent versus a conventional production seat. The seats are equipped with either three- or four-point belts.

A true sports car is always a light car, and the Audi quattro Concept shines in this discipline as well.

The key factors are the choice of material and the design. Rather than mostly steel as in the Audi RS5, the body comprises lightweight aluminum components assembled using Audi Space Frame ASF technology. Extruded sections, die-castings and aluminum sheets form an impact-resistant structure of exceptional strength. The hood and the rear hatch with its integrated, moveable spoiler, plus the bumpers and numerous aerodynamic components are made of even lighter and high-strength carbon.

The body-in-white of the coupé weighs just 159 kilograms (350.53 lb); it would be nearly 50 percent heavier if made entirely of steel.

The low weight of the superstructure leads to significant secondary effects regarding size and weight in other components of the vehicle, such as the transmission, the chassis and the brake system. All together the Audi quattro Concept tips the scales at just 1,300 kilograms (2,866.01 lb), which is roughly 200 kilograms (440.92 lb) lighter than even the comparably sized Audi TT RS, whose body is also largely made of aluminum.

The allure of the five-cylinder engine
High-performance five-cylinder gasoline engines enjoy a long tradition at Audi, powering cars like the Ur-quattro to the head of the pack. Audi resurrected this line back to life in 2009 with the 340 hp, turbocharged FSI engine in the TT RS. The further developed engine in the Audi quattro Concept extracts even more potential from this new, state-of-the-art five-cylinder foundation.

Inside the new center differential are two rotating crown gears that owe their name to the crown-like design of their teeth. The front crown gear drives the output shaft to the front differential, the rear crown gear the propshaft to the rear axle. The connection here is provided by an ambitious construction. The new drivetrain design is roughly 3 kilograms (6.61 lb) lighter than the previous one.

The crown gears mesh with four rotatable pinion gears. They are arranged at right angles to each other and are driven by the differential's housing, i.e. by the transmission output shaft.

Like on rails: quattro with sport differential
As a complement to the new quattro drivetrain, the Audi quattro Concept also features the sport differential, which actively distributes torque between the rear wheels. When turning into or accelerating in a curve, the majority of the torque flows to the outside wheel and pushes the vehicle into the curve, nipping the tendency to oversteer or understeer in the bud.

The sport differential is a state-of-the-art rear differential. A superposition gear comprising two sun gears and an internal gear was mounted on the left and the right of a conventional rear differential. It turns 10 percent faster than the drive shaft.

The high-performance Audi quattro Concept dazzles with extreme driving dynamics. It reacts without hesitation, almost reflexively. Its handling is uncompromisingly precise; its stability guarantees maximum driving safety. The steering connects the driver with the road to provide sensitive, finely differentiated feedback.

The wide tracked chassis is rigorously tuned for performance. All of the key suspension components are made of aluminum, thus reducing the unsprung masses. The springs and dampers of the track-controlled trapezoidal link rear suspension are separated to improve response behavior. The links are mounted on a steel subframe on elastic bearings. The five-link front suspension processes the longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The rigid aluminum frame to which it is linked makes the front end extremely rigid.

Up front are anthracite gray, drilled carbon fiber-ceramic discs. They are gripped by red-anodized, six-piston fixed calipers. The ceramic discs are practically fade-free, extremely robust, powerful and durable. Furthermore, they are four kilograms (8.82 lb) lighter than steel discs despite their size.
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