Initially teased in early December as the Audi Show Car, the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept made its first in-the-metal appearance at Detroit. Looking seriously cool and propelled by an e-tron hybrid powertrain, this sleek little wonder wagon is loaded with very real potential -- and on several different levels. Embodying new takes on a host of the automaker's signature design cues and technologies that Audi says could find their way onto everything from the next-gen TT to the upcoming Q1 SUV as well as other future sports car models, the ultimate status of this fully engineered 2-door hatchback crossover remains a bit of a mystery. However, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Audi AG for Technical Development, does put things into perspective by noting quite directly, "We are offering very concrete glimpses of the near future in this show car."
With expressively contoured Ice Blue exterior panels made from aluminum and carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept is the first Audi to incorporate e-tron and all-terrain styling themes into the same vehicle. From its signature monoform grille flanked by elegant active-matrix LED headlamps to its protective grey lower body cladding, distinctive C-pillar treatment and large-diameter exhaust outlets smartly integrated into the rear diffuser, we'd call it a job well done.
Virtually the same length and width as the current Audi TT but benefiting from 1.6-inches of additional wheelbase, the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept features the same dash and forward cabin design that Audi previewed at last week's CES Show - where it also confirmed this new iteration would be found in the upcoming generation of its iconic 2-seater. In addition to a revamped MMI (Multi Media Interface) with touch-gesture input capability, innovative climate controls that auto extend to make adjustment easier and a new multifunction steering wheel, this recasting also replaces the current center-located screen with a new programmable 12.3-inch TFT 3D display positioned directly ahead of the driver.
Trimmed in anthracite and dark grey leather and Alcantara, the Shooting Brake Concept's well-finished cabin offers room for four that matches supportive slim-line front buckets with a split-folding rear seat that can be dropped to create a large, flat cargo floor. To ensure all of this Audi's centrally mounted MMI and e-S tronic shift controls are always properly positioned, the entire console adjusts fore/aft and up/down with the driver's seat. One final flourish is the Audi phone box, which links the driver's cell phone to the vehicle's electrical system and also can provide inductive charging as necessary.
The e-tron plug-in hybrid system of the 3,527-pound Shooting Brake Concept is a sophisticated on-demand all-wheel-drive package. The front tires draw their motive force from a 288-horsepower/2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI 4-cylinder gasoline engine that features both direct and port-style fuel injection coupled with a 54-horse disc-style electric motor located inside of the 6-speed e-S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. The rear wheels are energized by a separate 114-horsepower motor fed by its own 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack as well as by regenerative braking and active charging from the front motor/generator under certain driving conditions.
Like other e-tron systems, this multi-mode intelligent configuration has the ability to operate as a pure EV/rear-driver -- with a range of up to 31 miles - in an efficient Hybrid setting or in full-on Sport mode that brings to bear all 402 of its system horsepower and can propel the Shooting Brake Concept from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds and take it to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. With a full tank and a full charge, it can travel nearly 510 miles and returns 123.8 mpg on the admittedly less-stringent European driving cycle.
Regardless of what it may or may not ultimately morph into, there's no denying that the multifaceted Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept serves as one fascinating exercise in very welcome future think.
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