The 2013 Audi Sport Quattro Concept hails back to the original “Ur” Quattro released in 1980 and to the Sports Quattro of 1983. Like its predecessors, it’s a high-performance, permanent four-wheel-drive car. It seats up to four and carries over style elements from the Quattro concept unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 2010, as well as the 1983 Sport Quattro that racked up racing victories like the 1987 Pike's Peak International Hill Climb.
The emphasis of the 2013 Audi Sport Quattro Concept is on lightweight construction with a passenger cage made of ultra-high-strength steel panels and cast aluminum structural elements, aluminum doors and fenders, and a roof, bonnet and rear hatch of carbon composites. The result is a curb weight of only 1,850 kilograms (4,078.55 lb), including battery.
The exterior of the Sport Quattro Concept displays a racing style with elements echoing the early 1980s Quattros, such as flat C-pillars, rectangular double headlamps, and fender blisters. It has a wide, stocky, rally car appearance with a wheelbase of 2,784 mm (109 in) pointed up by its low-slung clearance.
The front of the concept is a pleasant surprise. The Audi Matrix LED headlamps and the racing-style hexagonal grille with the large air inlets below complete with a carbon composite splitter set far forward ought to go with the streamlined body like an anvil on a pear, but they actually blend in very well. According to Audi, the roof, lines, taillights, and even the spoiler that extends at high speed were designed to emphasize the width of the Quattro, so this harmony is quite an achievement.
The interior carries over the racing theme with a carbon shell and dark gray tones showing off the lightweight construction. The dashboard is designed to resemble the wing of a sailplane and the steering wheel controls a variety of virtual 3D displays, such as Race mode with a central speedometer, track information and a stopwatch. There’s also a head-up display and, not surprisingly, bucket seats complete with sculpted side bolsters and integrated head restraints
The power plant is a plug-in hybrid drive that puts out 700 bhp (515 kW) with 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque when both electric motor and internal combustion engine are working together. The engine is a four-liter, twin-turbo V8 pumping an impressive 560 bhp (412 kW) and 700 Nm (516.29 lb-ft) of torque. There’s also a cylinder on demand (COD) system that cuts out four cylinders when under partial load, as well as a start-stop system to conserve fuel at traffic lights.
The disc-shaped 147 bhp (110 kW) electric motor has 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque and runs off a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery in the rear of the car, which has a capacity of 14.1 kWh. It’s charged by an an Audi wall box with an intelligent charge management system that Audi says gives the battery optimal energy feed. The all-electric range is 50 km (31 mi).
When the V8 engine and the electric motor work together, the Sport Quattro Concept does 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 305 km/h (189 mph). Fuel consumption is quoted at an impressive average of 2.5 l/100 km (94 US mpg) and carbon dioxide emissions are 59 g/km (94 g/mi).
The front suspension has five control arms per wheel and the rear uses an Audi track-controlled trapezoidal link principle. In addition, there’s dynamic steering and carbon fiber ceramic brake discs.
Behind the hybrid drive is a modified eight-speed tiptronic gearbox and there’s a sport differential on the rear axle. The drive itself operates under what Audi calls an “intelligent management system” that controls how the motor and engine interact.
The system offers three modes: the EV mode, which is for using the electric motor only, the Hybrid mode, where the most efficient combination of the drive is determined for a given route, and Sport mode, which configures the drive for maximum performance.