One of the true surprise guests at this year's Frankfurt auto show was the stunning Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept. Created in collaboration with ItalDesign Giugiaro, this ultra-adventurous one-off combines the raw power of a supercar with the go-almost-anywhere capabilities of a full-on rally racer. Back in March, Lamborghini called on ItalDesign Giugiaro to create a similarly outrageous exercise: the Parcour Concept that debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. This Teutonic alternative take boasts even more aggressive styling and driver-centric character which is appropriately set off by a 544-horsepower twin-turbo version of Audi's new V10 TDI modular diesel engine coupled with a performance-tuned Quattro all-wheel drive system.
Like Audi's R8, the Nanuk Quattro Concept is based on the company's aluminum space frame (ASF) and features lightweight alloy and carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites throughout, including its Extreme Red exterior panels. The Nanuk Concept's aggressive bodywork reportedly "opens a new chapter in Audi's design language" and melds a number of familiar corporate cues with bold contours and unique detailing to create a look that would be best described as stylishly sinister. The angular front end features a large grille flanked by prominent air intakes that are topped by Audi's new Matrix LED headlamps. Prominently flared fenders house 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in staggered-width performance tires - 235/50s up front and 295/45s in the rear -- and the Nanuk's longitudinally-mounted V10 TDI engine is visible through its steeply raked back glass. When maintenance is required, the entire rear section of the body flips up to ease access to that formidable prime mover -- which is backed by a 7-speed S tronic automatic transmission.
Although it weighs nearly 4,200 pounds, Audi says the Nanuk Quattro Concept can sprint from 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and hit 190 mph on the top end while returning a 30-mpg combined fuel economy stat. To help make best use of that bountiful power and massive 737 lb-ft of peak torque under all conditions, the Nanuk augments its Quattro setup with a full air suspension system that offers three stages of driver-adjustable ride height as well as real-time automatic speed-sensitive programming that's also linked to the Nanuk's satellite navigation system. In addition to integral 4-wheel steering that can slightly turn the rear wheels in or out of phase with the fronts to improve cornering prowess and maneuverability, this awesome Audi features high-performance carbon ceramic brakes.
With room for two accessed through its swing-up doors, the cabin of the Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept features an intentionally minimalistic design that also puts primary focus on the driver. Beyond the multifunction sport steering wheel is a fully reconfigurable instrument cluster that can present any number of unique display readouts on demand while the uncluttered center console holds the shift lever, a touchwheel for the navigation/multimedia systems and the air suspension controller. A pair of digital displays positioned at the base of each A-pillar replace conventional side view mirrors in the Nanuk and present views from the door-mounted cameras while a third look-back unit connected to a display in the headliner replaces the rear-view mirror.
While a production version of the Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept isn't likely to arrive in showrooms anytime soon, don't be surprised to see a number of its design elements turn up on future Audi production models.
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