This is no ordinary sports car. A Frankfurt debutant, the Audi nanuk quattro concept is an all-wheel drive supercar crossover study that showcases all of Audi’s expertise on the road and track, and off it. It’s the go-anywhere supercar – fast, stylish, efficient, and not limited to where the tarmac ends.
To come up with the design, Audi collaborated with Italdesign Giugiaro, maker of the similarly-envisioned Italdesign Parcour Concept shown in Geneva earlier this year. Audi claims the nanuk quattro crossover concept combines the dynamics of a mid-engine sports car with the versatility of a sporty recreational vehicle.
Power comes from a mid-mounted 5.0 litre V10 TDI unit that makes 544 hp of power and 1,000 Nm of torque, the later delivered from just 1,500 rpm. The twin-turbo diesel engine has the Audi valvelift system (AVS) equipped, and operates with injection pressure of 2,500 bar.
A beefed-up seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox transfers power to a specially designed quattro drivetrain, allowing this 1,900 kg super crossover to get to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 305 km/h. With an average consumption of 7.8 litres per 100 km, the V10 TDI engine sets benchmarks for power and efficiency, claims Audi.
Behind the concept’s 22-inch wheels (wrapped in 235/50 tyres up front, 295/45 at the rear) are all-around carbon-fibre-ceramic brake discs and double-wishbones, connected to Audi’s next-gen air suspension.
The nanuk can be lowered by 30 mm or raised 40 mm from its default ride height to have the ideal ground clearance for any roads. This can be done manually if the driver insists, or automatically as it is linked to the car’s navigation system. Left on its own, it’ll lower itself on highways and automatically raise its height when approaching a gravel road.
Another breakthrough addition is its integral steering, which combines Audi’s dynamic steering on the front axle with supplemental steering on the rear wheels. It resolves the on-going conflict between dynamic handling and stability, and is similar to the system already put into production in the latest Porsche 911 GT3.
At low speeds, the rear wheels can turn up to nine degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels to reduce the turning circle and aid agility. On the other hand, the rear wheels turn as much as 2.5 degrees in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds for better stability.
The nanuk quattro uses the lightweight aluminium Audi Space Frame with a carbon-fibre outer skin, sculpted with exaggerated and angular lines that preview the next Audi design language. It has distinctive dynamic daytime running lights that also serve as turn signals, parked next to headlights that use the Audi Matrix LED technology.
Behind the doors are vertical sideblades like those on the Audi R8 sports car. The lower opening feeds air into the V10 TDI engine, while the upper half is movable and facilitates the flow of air through the engine compartment.
There’s only a sketch of the interior to go by, but it’s clear that it has been reduced to the essentials. The minimalist architecture revolves around the instrument cluster. Only three materials are seen inside: dark aluminium, mineral grey leather and carbon-fibre.
Meanwhile, the front luggage compartment offers enough room for two trolley cases or a golf bag. After all, there’s no point to being able to go everywhere if you can’t bring anything with you, is there?