To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic Audi Quattro coupe's introduction, the company unveiled a modern Quattro Concept at the 2010 Paris auto show, amid speculation that a production version would soon follow.
Alas, that hope was not fulfilled. But it's about to be renewed as Audi will debut a new Audi Sport Quattro Concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, which opens next week. And, as before, there is speculation that this time it really will spawn a production model.
The original Sport Quattro, which the new concept evokes, made its debut at the Frankfurt show in 1983, subsequently becoming the homologation model for the World Rally Championship.
Its gasoline engine is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8 that develops 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, by itself. It is supplemented by an electric motor rated at 110 kW and 295 lb-ft of torque. Electric energy is stored in a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Audi projects acceleration from 0-to-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 305 km/h.
To help conserve fuel when all that capability is not being used, a cylinder deactivation system shuts down four cylinders under partial-load conditions and an auto stop-start system aids further in stop-and-go driving.
Three selectable driving modes are available: EV mode for purely electric driving; Hybrid mode for maximum efficiency; and Sport mode for maximum performance.
Stylistically, the Audi Sport Quattro Concept is true to its namesake, with a chunky overall appearance that melds with aerodynamic elements. From some angles, it suggests an affinity with the current Chevrolet Camaro.
Styling cues from earlier models are combined with cutting-edge technologies, as in the traditional rectangular double headlights that feature Audi's latest Matrix LED technology, which will be offered in the refreshed Audi A8, also making its public debut at Frankfurt.
Another design homage is the "blisters" above the fenders, which amplify the concept's exceptional width. The grille is said to provide a first glimpse at the future design of the sporty production models, while a spoiler extends from the rear hatch at higher speeds.
Whether or not this concept vehicle leads to a production model remains to be seen. But it will surely whet the appetite of Quattro aficionados.