Audi's "dual-mode hybrid" crosslane coupé concept
Audi has provided a hint at what to expect from its upcoming Q models with the unveiling of its crosslane coupé concept at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. Packed to its removable roof with technology, the angular plug-in hybrid combines two electric motors with a purpose-designed three-cylinder TFSI engine for a total output of 130 kW (177 hp). This gets the 2+2 seater to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.6 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 182 km/h (113 mph).
Described as a dual-mode hybrid, the crosslane coupé concept boasts a number of different operating modes that combine the combustion engine and two electric motors in various ways.
Under the hood
Up to speeds of 55 km/h (34 mph), the drive power is supplied by an electric motor that develops 85 kW (116 hp) and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque, with the motor drawing energy primarily from the 17.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. In electric mode, the car should have an operating range of around 86 km (53 miles) and is capable of going from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.8 seconds. Although use of the electric mode is possible at speeds of up to 130 km/h (81 mph), after passing 55 km/h (34 mph) the hybrid mode becomes available. This adds the 1.5-liter combustion engine outputting 95 kW (130 hp) and 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque and another electric motor to the mix. This motor outputs 50 kW (68 hp) and 210 Nm (154.9 lb-ft) of torque and its primary function is as a starter and an alternator. At speeds of over 130 km/h, the engine becomes the main drive, but power from the 50-kW electric motor can still be drawn on if required.
In serial mode, the combustion engine combines with the 50-kW electric motor by way of the single-stage transmission’s claw clutch to produce electrical energy to either support, relieve or substitute the lithium-ion battery.
The vehicle offers the driver a choice of “race” and “cruise” modes, the latter of which prioritizes electric driving. Audi says gear changes and switching between power sources isn’t noticeable to the driver, with the speed of the TFSI engine also adapting to the road speed without any “rubber-band’ effect.
Audi claims an average fuel economy for the vehicle of 1.1 liters per 100 km (213.81 US mpg) and CO2 emissions of 26 grams per km (41.84 grams per mile).
Ebodying Audi’s “ultra” lightweight construction principle, the crosslane coupé concept features a “Multimaterial Space Frame” comprised of aluminum, carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), and glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP). This combination helps the car attain an unladen weight (including its lithium-ion battery) of around 1,390 kg (3,064 lb). Audi says this is comparable to the weight that would be seen in a body comprised completely of CFRP and is cost competitive with other weight reduction technologies.Aluminum is used for the beams beneath the vehicle’s front lid and the single-frame grille, which are joined together to perform a supporting function along with the occupant cell that is itself surrounded by aluminum profiles.
Inside the occupant cell, the inner sills, central tunnel, bulkhead, and cross-members in the floor that act as support structures are made from CFRP, as are the front and rear crash structures. Surface GFRP components with partial CFRP reinforcements complete the body concept.
The car measures 4.21 m (13.81 ft) long, 1.88 m (6.17 ft) wide and 1.51 m (4.95 ft) high, with a wheelbase of 2.56 m (8.4 ft). The single-frame grille is integrated into the Multimaterial Space Frame to act as a supporting element and is flanked by slim “trapezoidal” headlights using Audi’s Matrix LED technology.
The roof combines two CFRP shells and can be unlatched by an electric drive so it can be removed from the body structure and fitted over the trunk. This trunk is attached to the backs of the rear seats and travels forward 40 cm (15.75 in) electronically to form the latching mechanism for the roof and to protect any luggage.
The electronically adjustable sports seats in the front feature integrated head restraints that are made from CFRP. They are positioned either side of the center console that sports a large selector lever used to control the hybrid drive that extends electronically when the car is started. A large touchpad on the center console provides access to the car’s functions, as do control surfaces incorporated into the steering wheel.
The trapezoidal shape of the headlights is carried through to the instrument covers and the grilles on the interior air nozzles, with attention to detail extending to the alignment of the composite fibers on the dashboard cowl, which all face the same way. Soft semi-aniline leather, aluminum elements, and GFRP floor incorporating thick cords woven with rubber threads to form a hard-wearing carpet also feature within.
If the design of the crosslane coupé concept is anything to go by, future Audis look certain to turn more than a few heads.