Audi TT Ultra Quattro Concept celebrates the light stuff
Set for its public reveal at next month's annual gathering of Audi/VW aficionados in Wörthersee, Germany, the Audi TT Ultra Quattro Concept is a one-off that showcases the kind of untapped potential that still lies within the automaker's TT Coupe. Based on a production TTS 2.0 TFSI Quattro Coupe, the Ultra Quattro Concept makes even more extensive use of lightweight materials to shed some 660 pounds and bring its curb weight to a scant 2,449 pounds. While mass-minimization was at the core of this exercise, the output of its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine also was boosted from 265 to a heady 306 horsepower. The added light and might allow the Ultra Quattro Concept to streak from 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds and roll on to a top speed of 173 mph.
The comprehensive trim-down process for this featherweight Audi embraces all areas, starting with its optimized body shell that relies on Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP), Fiberglass-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) and magnesium to help trim some 95 pounds from the core and 220 from the entire structure when the "detachable parts" -- doors, hood, decklid -- are included in the calculation.
Beyond its presence in various areas of the body, CFRP also is the material of choice for the Ultra Quattro Concept's center tunnel, rear structure, B-pillars, roof panel and wheel outers, while FRP replaces steel as the 40-percent-lighter material of choice for the car's springs. Magnesium in the floor and hinge reinforcements, a titanium exhaust system and aluminum brake calipers with carbon-ceramic rotors all contribute to lightening efforts, as do comprehensive modifications to the engine. In addition to its extra kick, revisions to the crankcase, crankshaft, balance shafts, flywheel, sump system, certain ancillary units and even the bolts used to keep everything together cut 55 pounds from the finished assembly. As a finishing touch, even the battery was redone. A compact lithium-ion unit weighing less than nine pounds replaces the conventional lead-acid alternative and has been relocated under the driver's seat to help improve the vehicle's overall balance.
Finished in Crystal White, the Audi TT Ultra Quattro Concept has a bolder exterior appearance set off with a unique carbon fiber rear spoiler mounted on milled aluminum struts. The mini-mass mentality extends to the well-finished cabin of this extreme Audi -- which still retains a host of creature comforts including air conditioning and power windows, as well as trick compact cameras in the doors that replace conventional outside mirrors and project images onto a digital cockpit display. CFRP is used on the doors panels and center console, as well as for the cross-brace element that replaces the rear seat. Made from FRP, the front buckets culled from Audi's R8 GT trim another 49 pounds from the total compared to the TTS's standard seats.
Sadly, Audi has no intention to transition the TT Ultra Quattro Concept to production status. However, the automaker does admit that the work done using these materials on this striking one-off could influence their implementation on certain low-volume models in its future lineup.
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