Audi Nanuk Quattro concept (2013) at Frankfurt motor show

Published: 10 September 2013

This is the Audi Nanuk Quattro concept, unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. It's a cross between Audi's R8 supercar and an SUV, and it's powered by a new twin-turbo V10 diesel engine. It’s been designed in conjunction with Italdesign Giugiaro, the famous Italian styling housed most recently responsible for the Lamborghini Gallardo-based Parcour crossover concept.

>> Click here for CAR's A-Z guide to the 2013 Frankfurt motor show

Audi Nanuk Quattro concept: the hardware

The powertain is a mid-mounted V10 diesel engine, boosted by twin turbochargers and delivering a maximum output of 536bhp. Peak torque, a meaty 737lb ft, is on tap from 1500rpm, and transmitted to all four wheels via a heavy duty version of Audi’s seven-speed, dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox.

How fast is the Audi Nanuk Quattro?

Despite its prodigious 1900kg kerbweight, the torquey Nanuk is claimed to launch to 62mph in a scant 3.8sec, and top out at 189mph. Hauling it back down to zero are carbon-ceramic brakes, behind 22in wheels. Audi says that despite the car’s weight, power, and complexity, it’s still capable of 36.2mpg on the combined cycle: twice what you’d get from a petrol-fed R8 V10 if driven parsimoniously.

Can the Audi Nanuk Quattro really go off-road?

Audi is promising its go-anywhere supercar is just at home on road or track as it is off-road. To that end, it’s possible to boost ground clearance by 40mm when heading off-piste, or drop the car 30mm closer to the road surface when you’re on a smoother terrain. Thanks to interaction with the car’s sat-nav, the air suspension’s ride height is constantly monitored and adjusted depending on terrain and road speed.

Improving the agility is a rear-wheel steering system, like the new Porsche 911 GT3 and Turbo’s set-up. At low speeds, the Nanuk Quattro swivels its rear wheels up to nine degrees opposite to the direction of the fronts, effectively shortening the wheelbase by 100mm. This allows a city car-like 10m turning circle in tight streets.

Up the pace and the rear wheels switch to steering the same way as the fronts, by up to 2.5 degrees. This gives the impression that the Nanuk’s wheelbase has been stretched by 140mm, giving greater autobahn-speed stability and more sure-footed high-speed cornering.

>> Click here for the full story on Audi's 690bhp Sport Quattro hybrid coupe concept, also unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show

Anything else?

The Nanuk Quattro’s body panels are fashioned from carbonfibre, as is much of the minimalist two-seater cabin. Underneath, the car rests on an aluminium spaceframe. The Nanuk’s entire rear bodywork hinges in a clamshell arrangement to give ultimate engine access, while the cargo space in the nose is big enough for two sets of (you guessed it) golf bags.

Although some elements of the car’s design, like the tall air intake ‘sideblades’, have been influenced by the R8, Audi says that the Nanuk concept ‘opens a new chapter in the Audi design language’, meaning cues from this car could well be seen on the next R8, TT, and so on.

>> Could mid-engined, high-performance crossovers be the next big niche? Click ‘Add your comment’ below to weigh in