As the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) ramps up, a number of manufacturers are back with subtle variations on previous ideas. Audi’s Allroad shooting brake concept is the latest e-tron concept to make its way to the show circuit, this time in the form of a 408 hp AWD hybrid crossover. Gizmag was there for its debut.
Audi’s two-door wagon concept isn’t just forward-thinking pretty, it also sports Audi’s e-tron hybrid system. The car, similar to Audi’s TT, would normally be front drive only but with the new hybrid system a second electric motor, mounted at the rear axle, transforms the car into and all-wheel-drive model. With this new hybridized AWD ability, Audi has chosen to designate the system "e-tron Quattro." But unlike the Sport Quattro Laserlight that debuted at CES last week, the Allroad is laser free.
Marketing speak aside, power figures for the Allroad are impressive with Audi reporting 408 hp (304 kW) and a whopping 479 lb.ft (650 Nm) of torque when combining power outputs from both the 2.0 TFSI turbocharged 4 cylinder engine and the 300 kW electric motor. Audi goes on to note that mileage figures for the concept are equally impressive with the shooting brake getting 1.9 l/100 km (123.80 US mpg) when both systems are engaged.
But in the Allroad, there are not one but two different electric motor applications at work. The first system, located at the rear axle as mentioned, develops a dedicated 85 kW of power and 199 lb.ft (270 Nm) of torque at low speeds to the rear wheels. The second electric application, a disc-shaped electric motor with a decoupling clutch and working directly in partner with the gas engine, subsidizes power output to the front wheels to the tune of 40 kW and 199 lb.ft (270 Nm) of torque. This hybrid ménage à trois helps to validate the impressive power figures coming out of camp Audi.
Speaking of which, performance figures for the Allroad shooting brake are worth noting. In Sport Mode, Audi claims the concept will hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.6 seconds from a standing start. In EV only mode, a reported 80 mph (129 km/h) can be achieved. Range for the Allroad in electric-only mode is rated at 31 miles (50 km), with the liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery showing a capacity of 8.8 kWh.
When dealing with turns, irregular road conditions and the like, the Allroad relies on an electro-mechanical steering system along with a MacPherson front and a four-link rear suspension to get the job done. Audi claims that as a result of the concept’s high ground clearance, a short wheelbase of only 4.2 m (13.78 ft) long, plus an AWD-like system, that the Allroad should be more than capable of handling many an off-road situation.
Stylistically, Audi gets solid points for pulling together a two-door wagon-cross that’s a mix between a Mini Cooper, a Q5 and a modified TT… if the TT were taller and sporting LED matrix headlights. A taller stance, 19 inch wheels, a high waistline, short overhangs, narrow window treatments and a low roofline gives the car a unique sporty, yet utilitarian demeanor. Adding to the utilitarian argument is a chrome roof rack, lower-body cladding, and an exterior skin composed of aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced polymers. The heightened stance presented by the concept actually has its own name, the "Allroad stance," adding to the whole off-road marketing mystique.
Inside, the Allroad has enough space for four, with cargo space expanded by folding down the rear seats. The car’s interior execution is a clean, forward-thinking exercise, with numerous aviation design influences found in the air vents and the instrument panel’s wing-like similarities. One cool design detail that stands out is how the center console moves in sync with the seats. This clever engineering trick ensures controls are consistently in the same place regardless of who is driving.
Audi’s TFT 12.3-inch display screen provides key information and a variety of viewing options. Depending on the scenario, drivers can allocate viewing hierarchies, such as infotainment over hybrid power monitoring, or Sport mode over the rest. One final trick up the Allroad’s sleeve is the Audi phone box. This unassuming storage space links the driver's cell phone to the car’s electrical system. When needed, the car will inductively charge the phone, thus removing the need for unsightly plug-in cables running about the cockpit.
As Audi’s Chief Technological Officer, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg notes, "The Allroad shooting brake concept is a concrete look into the near future." This ambiguous statement might very well translate into some of the Allroad’s design applications making their way into the next generation TT.