What would you get if you crossed Audi's R8 mid-engined sports car with an SUV? That seems to be the question behind the Audi Nanuk Quattro concept car that debuted today at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Audi developed the Nanuk Quattro in collaboration with the designers from Italdesign Giugiaro.
It's said to be a crossover concept that combines the dynamics of a high-performance, mid-engined sports car with Audi's Quattro AWD capability for road, track and off-road. The result is a sports car for any stage of life and for any surface.
The Nanuk Quattro is powered by a newly-developed V-10 TDI diesel engine installed longitudinally in front of the rear axle. It produces more than 544 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque from just 1,500 rpm.
A beefed-up seven-speed S tronic transmission located behind the engine transfers torque to a specially designed Quattro drivetrain.
With a mass of 1,900 kilograms the Nanuk can accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and achieve a top speed of 305 km/h, according to Audi.
Thanks in part to innovative thermal management with separate cooling loops and a steplessly regulated oil pump, it is said to achieve fuel consumption of just 7.8 L/100 km on average.
Chassis features include double wishbone suspension, front and rear, 22-inch wheels, with 235/50-series tires inp front and 295/45 at the rear and carbon-fibre/ceramic brake discs.
Adaptive air suspension with electronically controlled dampers allows the driver to manually adjust the ground clearance in three stages: normal, 30 mm lower or 40 mm higher.
The system also controls the level of the body based on driving speed and predictive route data supplied by the car's navigation system. On the highway, for example, the body remains lowered even when moving slowly but it is automatically raised when turning onto a gravel road.
A feature that the company calls integral steering combines Audi's dynamic steering at the front axle, which can intervene at the cornering limit for enhanced stability, with supplemental steering for the rear wheels, where separate actuators activate the two active track rods.
When the driver steers at low to moderate speeds, the rear wheels turn up to nine degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels, effectively shortening the virtual wheelbase by about 100 cm and reducing the turning circle to approximately 10 metres.
As a result, the Nanuk Quattro turns in more eagerly and is essentially neutral in corners.
At higher speeds the system turns the rear wheels by as much as 2.5 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels, effectively extending the virtual wheelbase virtually by about 140 cm for better stability.
Don't expect to see the Nanuk Quattro reach production but do expect to see some of its innovative features make it into production cars.