Audi Quattro concept (2010): the 21st century ur-Quattro

Published: 30 September 2010

This is the new Audi Quattro concept, just unveiled by Ingolstadt at the VW Group party on the eve of the 2010 Paris motor show. Built to celebrate 30 years of Quattro, it’s based on a shortened Audi RS5 platform (but built from aluminium and carbon) and features a tuned engine from the TT RS.

This new Audi Quattro concept looks rather like a beefed-up Audi E-tron concept – is it?

Nope, it’s actually based on the Audi RS5. But this is an RS5 with a difference: the wheelbase has been shortened by 150mm, the roofline has been lowered by 40mm, it’s now a two-seater, and rather than the RS5’s steel construction, the Quattro concept is primarily aluminium, with a carbon bonnet and rear hatch. Audi claims that the ‘know-how and technologies of the Quattro concept body will characterize Audi’s entire production model portfolio in the future.’ No more lardy cars from Ingolstadt, then.

And rather than a big 4.2-litre V8, the Quattro concept uses a turbocharged five-cylinder engine like the original. The 2.5-litre engine in the new Quattro is lifted from the TT RS, and tweaked up from 335bhp to 402bhp, and from 332lb ft to 354lb ft.

Result? With the shortened, lighter chassis, ceramic front brakes, and the smaller engine the Quattro concept weighs just 1300kg – an RS5 tips the scales at a hefty 1725kg. Combine it all with a six-speed manual and four-wheel drive and the result is 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds. There’s also the promise of 33.2mpg, while the four-wheel drive system uses the RS5’s new crown-gear centre diff, plus its rear-mounted Sport diff, which distributes torque between the back wheels.

Anything else?

Of course. All four wheelarches are massively flared, and each contains a 20-inch centre-lock alloy. A vent in the right-hand side of the bonnet feeds extra air to the turbo’d five-pot, and Audi’s four rings are stamped into the sides of the Quattro concept’s C-pillar’s. There’s no chrome on the car, all the lights are LEDs, and the pop-up rear spoiler is carbon.

The interior is very clean and uncluttered, with a just single screen mounted ahead of the steering wheel, which is controlled by an MMI dial on the transmission tunnel. Lightweight bucket seats (complete with four-point belts) help keep the kilos down, and there’s a shelf in the back on which to store his and her helmets.

There is talk of a limited production run, but it’ll be a while yet before any announcement is made.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy