Yay! It's auto show season again, which means I get to write about the new concept cars, one of my favourite part of the shows.
Often concept cars are just fun- a little goofy, and unlikely to come to fruition anytime soon, if at all. They're imaginative and come with a generous helping of exaggeration. These cars are usually created to gauge reactions to certain aspects of them, generating "what if?" type of discussions. Others simply build them to draw more attention to their brands and reinforce the image behind them. Audi's newest concept though is different. It's magnificent.
The two-seater Nanuk is definitely sporty, it's unique looking rear end is stunning. It's broad and stacked with horizontal lines that make it look even more broad, and firmly planted on the ground. It is, it's four wheel drive. This car combines high performance with amazing handling whether it's on the track or off-road. The design team Italdesign Giugiaro had a role in it's fantastic looks, creating a car suitable for any stage of life and equally at home whether it be on a race track or winding country road, off-road in the sand or trying to stay on the road in the snow.
The body is made of carbon fibre and is finished in Extreme Red. Audi, now famous for it's signature headlights has included it's new Audi Matrix LED technology, improving them even more, both in terms of function as well as how they accentuate the overall look of the car. All of the side and rear view mirrors have been replaced with digital cameras and screens.
Part of this is due to the driver's ability to adjust the car's ground clearance by as much as 40 mm. Taking this idea even further, the car itself will adjust it's height based on driving speed and predictive route data collected from the navigation system. For example, the car will remain lowered on the highway, even at low speeds, but automatically raises itself when turning onto a gravel road. The clearance is good, considering that the Nanuk rides on 22 inch wheels.
The Nanuk also boasts integral steering, solving the problem of dynamic handling conflicting with stability. At low to moderate speeds, when the driver steers, the car automatically turns the rear wheels by as much as 9 degrees in the opposite direction, making the Nanuk's turning radius comparable to that of a sub compact.
Since it's a concept and not a real car (yet), Audi is free to take liberties with the capabilities of the Nanuk Quattro concept. Not only capable, but it's powerful and efficient, delivering 544 horsepower from a 5.0-litre V10 diesel engine, along with 737 lb-ft of torque, pushing this beast into supercar territory. That TDI is installed longitudinally, placed in front of the rear axel. Located behind the engine is a seven-speed S tronic transmission delivering power to all four wheels, helping it to get from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, reaching a top speed of 305 km/h. All of this at a fuel saving 7.8 litres per 100 km. This is especially impressive considering that this car is heavy, it's curb weight is well over 4,000 lbs.
More than just wishful thinking, we can see it evolving and hitting the production stage, and it makes us want to start a letter writing campaign to Audi, nudging them to hurry it up, because the Audi Nanuk Quattro concept needs to be on the road, and soon!
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca