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Audi show cars for the 2010 Paris Motor Show
Audi e-tron Spyder 2
Audi quattro concept 10
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in
Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.
Paris Motor Show 2010
Audi e-tron Spyder
Audi presents the Audi e-tron Spyder, the study of an open sports car, at
the fall 2010’s largest auto show. The show car, with plug-in hybrid drive, is
4.06 meters (13.32 ft) long, 1.81 meters (5.94 ft) wide and only 1.11 meters
(3.64 ft) high. The two-seater is equipped with a 221-kW (300-hp) twin-turbo
V6 TDI at the rear axle and two electric motors producing a total of 64 kW at
the front axle.
The Audi e-tron Spyder’s low total weight of only around 1,450 kilograms
(3,196.70 lb) combined with the high-torque TDI and the two electric motors
results in respectable performance. The car accelerates to 100 km/h (62.14 mph)
in just 4.4 seconds, and top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h
The e-tron Spyder can combine the powerful torque of its TDI – the diesel engine
generates 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft) and the total of 352 Nm (259.62 lb-ft) of its two
electric motors during acceleration in a process known as “boosting.”
The intelligent distribution of power allows for optimal dynamics in every situation.
The targeted application of power to the front wheels improves longitudinal
dynamics while also improving lateral dynamics when cornering. This is because
torque vectoring – the as-needed distribution of torque between the left and right
wheels of the two axles – enables an exhilarating degree of driving precision and
Thanks also to its low weight, short wheelbase and perfect 50:50 weight
distribution for dynamic handling, the Audi e-tron Spyder has all the drivability of
a go-kart – good on bends and neutral right up to the very high handling limit.
The combination of a highly efficient TDI and electric drive also provides for
excellent fuel economy and amazingly low emissions. The Audi e-tron Spyder
requires on average just 2.2l diesel/100 km (106.92 US mpg), corresponding to
CO2 emissions of 59 g/km (94.95 g/mile). A range of more than 1,000 kilometers
is possible with the 50-liter (13.21 US gallons) tank.
The open sports car can also drive strictly on electric power and thus with zero
emissions over distances of up to 50 kilometers (31.07 miles), such as in urban
areas. The top speed of 60 km/h (37.28 mph) is just fine for normal driving.
The Audi e-tron Spyder features what is without a doubt the most advanced and
simultaneously the most consistent evolution of the current Audi design
language, while also providing initial hints at the design language of future Audi
sports cars. It reinterprets the most important design elements that already
characterized the previous e-tron concept vehicles. This also ensures the
necessary formal differentiation to the purely electric-powered Audi e-tron shown
at the 2010 Detroit Motor Show.
1.81 meters (5.94 ft) wide, just 4.06 meters (13.32 ft) long and only 1.11 meters
(3.64 ft) in height: these are the classic proportions of an open, high-performance
sports car. Compared to the coupé concept car in Detroit, the length and width
have increased by 13 cm (5.12 in) and 3 cm (1.18 in), respectively, to underscore
the sporty aspiration of the design. This further enhanced the powerful and
compact overall appearance that characterizes both vehicles and links them to
the sportiest production Audi, the R8.
Due in no small part to the short wheelbase of only 2.43 meters (7.97 ft) – 22 cm
(8.66 in) shorter than that of the R8 – the body of the e-tron Spyder comes across
as extremely stocky.
In an apparent homage to motor sports, the frameless side glass surfaces taper
downward toward the rear. They form a unit with the windshield, which is strongly
bowed and inclined like the visor of a helmet.
Another element borrowed from race cars characterizes the hood: the wide
central air inlet, whose curve further accentuates the dynamics of the car’s front
end and provides a visual and functional link to the Audi R8 LMS customer race
car. The carbon application that is mounted flush in the front and side windows
and wraps completely around the glass testifies to the design and manufacturing
expertise that went into the car.
The front the silhouette of the e-tron Spyder are characterized by a sharp,
sweeping line that immediately identifies the two-seater as an Audi. The sharply
tapered front end lends the Audi e-tron Spyder show car a distinctly wedge-like
basic shape. The trapeze of the single-frame grille dominates the distinctly
wedge-shaped front end and is flanked by two large air intakes. They serve as
cooling intakes for the electric drive system and also for the TDI engine at the
rear of the vehicle.
Above, the grille merges into the flat strips of the adaptive matrix beam headlight
modules with their three-dimensional clear glass covers that follow the contour of
the functional elements.
All light units use ultra-efficient LED technology. As with the R8 and the e-tron
sports car concept cars, the trademark four rings are located above the single-
frame. Beneath the trademark is the charging station for the batteries. The rings
disappear beneath the front hatch, exposing not just the charging plug but also a
display showing the charge state and a map graphic indicating the current electric
Another distinctive feature of this show car are the 20-inch wheels, that take the
blade design of the first e-tron show car and refine it into a three-dimensional
turbine design. The wheels combine the lightweight materials aluminum and
carbon into a design that is both visually pleasing and very effective
aerodynamically. The 66 individual components comprising each individual wheel
of the e-tron Spyder are indicative of just how complex they are.
The flanks sport familiar contours in a new form. Unusually sharply defined edges
frame the smooth side surfaces while simultaneously separating horizontal from
The shoulder line frames the lines of the strongly contoured wheel wells even
more distinctly than in the Audi R8 and combines them with the upper edge of the
vehicle body. Particularly when viewed from the back, the e-tron Spyder appears
even more pronouncedly horizontal and more strongly oriented toward the road.
An impression that is also created by the characteristic sills with a new cut and is
picked up by the spoiler and diffuser at the front and rear of the car. Carbon
elements borrow from motor sports to set special accents here as well. Carbon is
also used on the engine cover in the rear and in license plate and lighting frame,
which also includes the air outlets below the lateral light units.
The contrast of materials is reminiscent of a race car. The essential functional
elements of the chassis and the vehicle body are done in carbon, while the body
as a cover sports a classic paint finish. This illustrates the formal "shell-and-core"
principle that defines the e-tron Spyder particularly clearly.
Thanks to an opening in the hood, even the longitudinal TDI mid-engine is a
visible technological element surrounded by matt and glossy carbon surfaces,
aluminum and leather. This combination of materials links the exterior with the
interior of the vehicle.
Behind the seats are two cowls that gradually taper toward the rear and also flank
the opening for the TDI engine and the implied cooling fins of the engine cover.
They also contain the normally hidden rollover bars, which like in the production
R8 Spyder shoot up within milliseconds and lock into place in the event of an
Visual and functional references to the fundamental concept of lightweight
construction characterize the purist interior design. They establish a connection
between proven Audi genes and new formal hallmarks. Typical for the Audi
design idiom is the reduction of the architecture, controls and information output
to the essentials in favor of a tidy overall impression.
The slim dash has a curve that extends laterally into the door panels. With no
need to allow for a transmission, shifter and cardan tunnel, the designers again
took advantage of the opportunity to create a particularly slim and lightweight
center tunnel and convex, arching center console for the e-tron Spyder with
hybrid drive. The only control element other than that of the MMI is the flush-
mounted selector lever for the automatic transmission, which extends upward
from the tunnel when the vehicle is started.
The cockpit of the Audi e-tron Spyder is also oriented toward the driver – a
further characteristic Audi trait. Instead of the classic instrument cluster, the
concept car is equipped with a large, display with integrated MMI functions and
flanked by two round dials. The MMI can be controlled via a touch-sensitive
control panel on the steering wheel – an element inspired by modern
smartphones. It can also be controlled via the MMI control unit (MMI touch) on
the center console. The steering wheel itself is clearly flattened off at both the top
and bottom, in a clear reference to motor sport. Speed is displayed in digital form
only. The dial instrument with information about the drive system can be chosen
via the menu item “Drive.”
Besides information about the speed, the revs of the combustion engine and the
electric drive, the central display also provides all of the key information from the
infotainment and navigation systems.
Characteristic for the concept of the Audi e-tron Spyder is the near total
elimination of switches and components such as the ignition. The climate control
unit is located to the right above the steering wheel. The display provides
temperature and ventilation information. Again drawing inspiration from a
smartphone, the system is operated by means of a touch-sensitive control panel.
The equally racing-inspired lightweight bucket seats combine excellent lateral
support with comfort. Contrasting colors and stitching delineate the various zones
of the interior. The colors and the high-quality materials combine elegance and
Systematic lightweight construction is a crucial prerequisite for efficiency and
range, while also being the primary foundation for exhilarating driving dynamics.
The Audi development engineers drew on the core competence of the company
for the Audi e-tron Spyder. The body structure is based on Audi Space Frame
(ASF) technology and was realized as a hybrid construction, with the hood and
numerous aerodynamic components made of carbon.
In ASF technology, the body's supporting structure is made of extruded aluminum
sections and die-castings. Aluminum panels are incorporated into this skeleton to
form a positive connection and perform a load-bearing role. Each individual
component of the ASF space frame is optimized for its specific task by the use of
widely differing shapes and cross-sections, combining maximum stability with
minimal weight. Despite the complex drive system layout with two electric motors
and their respective drive systems plus the TDI engine, the Audi e-tron Spyder
show car only weighs around 1,450 kilograms (3,196.70 lb).
Engines and transmissions
Audi has long proven the perfect synthesis between a highly advanced sports car
and TDI technology. With the TT, Audi become one of the first manufacturers
anywhere in the world to successfully bring a diesel sports car to market, a
decade after the Audi Cabriolet paved the way for diesel engines in this segment.
And the Audi R8 TDI Le Mans concept car was the first supercar to be fitted with
a twelve-cylinder diesel engine with 500 hp and 1,000 Newton meters
(737.56 lb-ft) of torque.
The Audi e-tron Spyder also draws on this recipe for success – albeit in a
revolutionary new combination. This marks the first use of a new generation of
the six-cylinder, 3.0 TDI that breathes through two turbochargers and produces
221 kW (300 hp). That is another 50 hp more than the previous stage, which
debuted a few months ago in the new Audi A8.
Peak torque of 650 Newton meters (479.42 lb-ft) is unusually high, even in the
sports car segment. The mid-mounted, longitudinal 3.0 TDI engine drives the rear
wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Another innovation is the coupling of the TDI with the electric drive of the front
axle. Two asynchronous electric motors with a total output of 64 kilowatt (88 hp)
and peak torque of 352 Newton meters (259.62 lb-ft) combine with the 3.0 TDI to
give the Audi e-tron Spyder the performance of a high-performance sports car. It
accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is
electronically governed at 250 km/h (155.34 mph).
The drive’s characteristic is even more exciting than the abstract numbers.
Thanks in no small part to the fact that the peak torque of the electric motors is
available immediately, the e-tron Spyder accelerates with catapult-like thrust.
Short passing maneuvers on interurban roads can be pulled off as spurts that are
every bit as relaxed as they are fun, even without having to downshift.
The noise level of the low-revving TDI is typically low. The six-cylinder unit behind
the occupants issues a sonorously sporty growl under load, but never becomes
loud. A surprising effect also present in the Le Mans-winning Audi R10 and R15
race cars, which are also powered by TDI engines.
The benefits of this special form of hybrid drive – the coupling of a high-torque,
high-efficiency TDI engine with the electric motors – are by no means limited to
the dynamic potential of the Audi e-tron Spyder, however. The open two-seater
also sets new standards in its class for fuel consumption and environmental
characteristics. The 300-hp TDI consumes on average just 2.2 liters of diesel per
100 kilometers (106.92 US mpg), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of only
59 g/km (94.95 g/mile).
The full-hybrid Audi e-tron Spyder has also mastered the discipline of zero-
emission driving. In residential and other urban areas, the driver can activate the
electric drive by itself. The 9.1-kwH battery at the front of the car has enough
power for up to 50 kilometers (31.07 miles). And with a top speed of up to
60 km/h (37.28 mph), the e-tron Spyder is also able to move along smartly in city
The normal distribution of the tractive power is clearly biased toward the rear axle
in accordance with the weight distribution of the e-tron Spyder and the dynamic
shift in axle load during acceleration. Similar to with a pure mid-engine sports car,
roughly 75 percent of the torque goes to the rear and 25 percent to the front. If an
axle slips, this balance can be varied thanks to the central control of the entire
drive system in combination with the ESP. The hybrid vehicle from Audi thus
enjoys all of the advantages of quattro technology.
The combination of the mid-mounted TDI engine and the two electric motors at
the front axle also make it possible to intelligently control the lateral dynamics of
Similar to what the sport differential does in conventional quattro vehicles, torque
vectoring – the targeted acceleration of individual wheels – makes the e-tron
Spyder even more dynamic while simultaneously enhancing driving safety.
Understeer and oversteer can be corrected by not only targeted activation of the
brakes, but also by precise increases in power lasting just a few milliseconds.
The concept car remains extremely neutral even under great lateral acceleration
and hustles through corners as if on the proverbial rails.
The chassis has triangular double wishbones at the front axle and a trapezoidal-
link rear suspension made of forged aluminum components – a geometry that
has proven in motorsports to be the optimal prerequisite for high agility,
uncompromising precision and precisely defined self-steering behavior. A taut
setup was chosen for the springs and shock absorbers, but it is still very
The direct rack-and-pinion steering gives finely differentiated feedback. Its
electromechanical steering boost varies with speed, so that the e-tron Spyder
only has to provide energy while steering, and not while driving straight ahead.
As befitting its status, the Audi concept car rolls on 20-inch tires with a new blade
design. 245/30 tires up front and 265/30 tires in the rear provide the necessary
Audi quattro concept
The 1980 Geneva Motor Show saw the debut of an automobile, whose name
went on to become more than just a symbol for a long line of success by
the manufacturer. The quattro from Audi is also the gold standard for the
combination of winning motor sport qualities with the utmost in everyday
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the debut of the quattro, Audi is
presenting a show car at the 2010 Paris Motor Show that moves a futuristic
interpretation of this concept into the fast lane: the Audi quattro concept, a
thoroughbred driving machine with 300 kW (408 hp), five-cylinder
turbocharged engine, a lightweight body and – of course – the latest
generation of quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
The very first glimpse of the new Col de Turini White show car awakens
memories of another legendary ancestor: the 1984 Sport quattro, a 306 hp
evolutionary stage of the Audi quattro Coupé with a shortened wheelbase. In fact,
the Audi quattro concept also represents the systematic further development of a
production coupé using high-performance technology. The foundation is provided
by the powerful Audi RS 5, one of the brand’s sportiest production vehicles ever.
The Audi development engineers shortened the wheelbase by 150 millimeters
(5.91 in) and lowered the roofline by around 40 millimeters (1.57 in) compared to
the four-seat coupé on which it is based. Like its predecessor from 1984, the
2010 show car is now also a two-seater. The heavily modified body is made
primarily of aluminum, with the hood, the rear hatch and other components made
The low weight of the superstructure leads to significant secondary effects in
other components of the vehicle, such as the transmission, the chassis and the
brake system. As a result, the Audi quattro concept weighs just 1,300 kilograms
(2,866.01 lb), almost exactly the same as the Sport quattro from 1984. This once
again moves Audi, the pioneer of lightweight construction, to the head of the
The know-how and technologies of the quattro concept body will characterize
Audi’s entire production model portfolio in the future.
In another move that benefits the vehicle’s weight, the eight-cylinder engine from
the production model has been replaced under the hood by a turbocharged,
inline five-cylinder engine that can trace its roots back to another Audi sports car
– the TT RS. In the Audi quattro concept, the longitudinal FSI turbo produces
300 kW (408 hp) and accelerates the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in only
3.9 seconds. Torque is distributed as needed via a six-speed manual
The Audi quattro concept uses the latest evolutionary stage of the quattro
permanent all-wheel drive system to deliver its power to the road. The key
innovation, the crown-gear center differential, is compact, lightweight, and can
vary the distribution of power between the front and rear axles over a broad
range, enabling the quattro drive system to react within milliseconds to coax the
maximum of fun and safety out of every last bit of torque.
Brawny, compact, powerful: The appearance of the Audi quattro concept makes
no secret of its potential. Although the genes of the elegant Audi A5 and RS 5
Coupés are impossible to overlook, the appearance of the show car is far more
aggressive and extroverted. Even the obvious differences between the base
model and the evolution are more dramatic than between the Ur-quattro and the
Sport quattro in 1984.
The concept car’s wheelbase is 150 millimeters (5.91 in) shorter than that of the
RS 5. The primary reason for this, of course, was to enhance agility and reduce
weight – form follows function.
In contrast to Sport quattro, the Audi designers also shortened the rear overhang
by a total of 200 millimeters (7.87 in) to maintain the harmony of the basic
proportions. Roof height was reduced by 40 millimeters (1.57 in) for this same
With its exterior dimensions (length x width x height) of 4.28 m (14.04 ft) x 1.86 m
(6.10 ft) x 1.33 m (4.36 ft) and wheelbase of 2.60 m (8.53 ft), the Audi quattro
concept fits neatly into the sports car segment.
The low roof also reduces the height of the greenhouse and thus lowers the
vehicle’s visual center of gravity. The muscular C-pillar is clearly an homage to
the design of the Ur-quattro. As with that model, the trademark four rings can be
found at the transition to the side of the vehicle, but in this case they are stamped
into the sheet metal. Together with the large center-locking, 20-inch wheels in a
7-twin-spoke design, the lines make for extremely dynamic and powerful
proportions when viewed from the side.
The wheel wells in the arched fenders are prominently flared – another quote
from the design language of the Sport quattro. The same applies to the distinctive
air outlet on the right side of the hood, which allows the five-cylinder engine to
breathe more freely.
A significant feature of the front end is the stark single-frame grille. The
elimination of the chrome frame lends it a functional and technical character.
Large, upright air intakes at the corners of the bumper underscore the
performance of the power plant.
The top of the grille merges into the flat strips of the headlight modules with their
clear glass covers. All light units use ultra-efficient LED technology. The LED
elements change their appearance between a horizontal and a vertical
arrangement and thus change the character of the front end of the vehicle
depending on the lighting function activated.
The strongly molded front skirt includes integrated carbon elements. This
lightweight, yet extremely strong material is also used for the rear hatch and the
hood, which are unpainted on the inside in order to use the visual quality of the
material as a design element. The large spoiler integrated into the rear hatch is
also made of carbon and extends automatically as needed and can be adjusted
for maximum downforce.
The interior of the coupé is reduced and clean. The dashboard is very slender
and seems to float over the separate center console. Shortening the wheelbase
meant losing the rear seat of the RS 5 on which it is based. In its place is a shelf
for helmets or luggage. Awaiting the two occupants are filigree bucket seats,
during whose development the issue of lightweight design played a central role.
They weigh only 18 kilograms (39.68 lb) each – a weight advantage of roughly 40
percent versus a conventional production seat. The seats are equipped with
either three- or four-point belts.
Awaiting the driver is a clearly organized workplace that exudes quality from its
carbon surfaces and upholstered leather inlays. The color scheme with satin
black for the carbon elements and rally beige for all of the leather areas offsets
the various functional units from one another and emphasizes the handcrafted
character of the interior.
The classic driver orientation (“wrap-around architecture” in the designer jargon)
of the cockpit is typical Audi. The control unit for the MMI touch system and the
shift lever for the six-speed transmission are located on the extremely slender
The instrument cluster is completely digital. The large, three-dimensional visor-
like display contains all of the information required by the driver and thus also
replaces the classic MMI central display. The clear graphics, the stark black-and-
white contrast and the subtle red highlights are precise and modernly interpreted
– an indicator instrument for a driving machine, with no superfluous touches. The
driver has the choice between an everyday mode, which combines the indication
of the speed and engine revs with the content of the MMI, and racing mode,
whose graphics revisit and refine the digital instrument of the Ur-quattro from the
The driver will find another reminder of the Ur-quattro's cockpit on the sides of the
cockpit cowl: On both the right and left sides are four flat buttons. The ones on
the left control the stopwatch function in racing mode, and the ones on the right
are for the menu of the MMI system.
Entertainment is offered not just under the hood, but also in the form of digital
media. A customizable web radio can use the driver’s cellular phone to connect
to digital radio stations all over the world, if desired, for a sheer endless array of
genres and musical styles. Playback of the driver’s own files and playlists is also
Communication also benefits from access to corresponding online services.
Whether the online address book or the driver’s own cellular phone, the MMI
combines all data into a single view. Contacts are always available wherever the
user happens to be.
To pay proper respect to the Ur-quattro as the winner of numerous rally world
championships, a so-called “prayer book” – the classic rally copilot's track
description – can be displayed in racing mode. It provides precise information
about the route ahead for an authentic rally feeling – even if a copilot is not
A true sports car is always a light car, and the Audi quattro concept shines in this
discipline as well.
The key factors are the choice of material and the design. Rather than mostly
steel as in the Audi RS 5, the body comprises lightweight aluminum components
assembled using Audi Space Frame ASF technology. Extruded sections, die-
castings and aluminum sheets form an impact-resistant structure of exceptional
strength. The hood and the rear hatch with its integrated, moveable spoiler, plus
the bumpers and numerous aerodynamic components are made of even lighter
and high-strength carbon.
The body-in-white of the coupé weighs just 159 kilograms (350.53 lb); it would be
nearly 50 percent heavier if made entirely of steel.
The low weight of the superstructure leads to significant secondary effects
regarding size and weight in other components of the vehicle, such as the
transmission, the chassis and the brake system. All together the Audi quattro
concept tips the scales at just 1,300 kilograms (2,866.01 lb), which is roughly 200
kilograms (440.92 lb) lighter than even the comparably sized Audi TT RS, whose
body is also largely made of aluminum.
The power-to-weight ratio of 4.3 kilograms (9.48 lb) per hp already says a lot
about the car’s dynamic potential. It is on par with that of the 525 hp Audi
R8 V10, a veritable supercar. The quattro concept also has a much better power-
to-weight ratio than its Sport quattro predecessor. Although the Sport quattro
weighed the same, the production version of its five-cylinder engine only
developed 306 hp.
Engines and transmissions
The allure of the five-cylinder engine
High-performance five-cylinder gasoline engines enjoy a long tradition at Audi,
powering cars like the Ur-quattro to the head of the pack. Audi resurrected this
line back to life in 2009 with the 340 hp, turbocharged FSI engine in the TT RS.
The further developed engine in the Audi quattro concept extracts even more
potential from this new, state-of-the-art five-cylinder foundation.
Numerous tweaks resulted in a substantial power increase to 408 hp, and its
480 Newton meters (354.03 lb-ft) of torque also leave the base version far
Its basic concept makes an Audi five-cylinder an unusual engine. It has a firing
interval of 144 degrees and a firing order of 1-2-4-5-3, alternately between
directly adjacent cylinders and cylinders that are far apart.
This produces the distinctive rhythm and musical sound, which are also the result
of the intake and exhaust geometry. A specially designed torsional vibration
damper at the front end of the crankshaft compensates for the free moments of
Turbocharged gasoline engines are a traditional Audi domain, and the five-
cylinder turbo in the Audi quattro concept is also a high-performance engine.
Displacing 2,480 cubic centimeters, it produces 300 kW (408 hp) between 5,400
and 6,500 rpm. Peak torque of 480 Nm (354.03 lb ft) is already available at 1,600
and remains constant through 5,300 rpm. The powerful unit accelerates the Audi
quattro concept from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 3.9 seconds.
The 2.5 liter TFSI is extremely compact. Its cylinder spacing measures 88
millimeters (3.46 in); the external main bearings were moved inside. Only
494 millimeters (19.45 in) long, the long-stroke engine (bore x stroke 82.5 x 92.8
millimeters [3.25 x 3.65 in]) is suitable not only for transverse installation in the
TT RS, but also for longitudinal installation in the emphatically short front end of
the Audi quattro concept.
Its low weight of only 183 kilograms (403.45 lb) is also a record. It helps keep the
total weight of the show car low and also offers significant advantages for the
distribution of axle loads and thus for the car’s handling.
The 408-hp five-cylinder engine is surprisingly frugal, requiring an average of just
8.5 liters/100 km (27.67 US mpg). Its high efficiency can be attributed to the
combination of FSI direct fuel injection and turbocharging, two Audi core
technologies. This TFSI pairing harmonizes perfectly in motorsports, the world’s
most demanding test lab: It has powered the R8 race car to five victories in the
24 Hours of Le Mans and 63 victories in 80 other races.
The successful quattro principle
In the Audi quattro concept, Audi uses the latest evolutionary stage of its
permanent all-wheel drive system for longitudinal engines – the quattro drive with
self-locking crown-gear center differential and torque vectoring. 30 years after the
debut of the first quattro at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980, Audi has once again
expanded its lead over the competition.
Inside the new center differential are two rotating crown gears that owe their
name to the crown-like design of their teeth. The front crown gear drives the
output shaft to the front differential, the rear crown gear the propshaft to the rear
axle. The connection here is provided by an ambitious construction. The new
drivetrain design is roughly 3 kilograms (6.61 lb) lighter than the previous one.
The crown gears mesh with four rotatable pinion gears. They are arranged at
right angles to each other and are driven by the differential’s housing, i.e. by the
transmission output shaft.
Under normal driving conditions, the two crown gears rotate at the same speed
as the housing. Because of their special geometry, they have specifically unequal
lever effects. Normally 60 percent of the engine torque goes to the rear
differential and 40 percent to the front differential.
If the torques change because one axle loses grip, different speeds and axial
forces occur inside the differential and the integrated plate packages are pressed
together. The resulting self-locking effect now diverts the majority of the torque to
the axle with the better traction; up to 85 percent can flow to the back. In the
opposite scenario – if the rear axle has less traction – the same happens in
reverse; now up to 70 percent of the torque is diverted to the front axle.
With this extremely broad torque distribution range, the crown-gear center
differential surpasses its predecessors – grip becomes even better. Forces are
redistributed without any time lag and absolutely consistently. The mechanical
operating principle guarantees maximum efficiency and immediate response.
Other strong points of the crown-gear differential are its compactness and low
weight – at 4.8 kilograms (10.58 lb) it is roughly two kilograms (4.41 lb) lighter
than the previous unit.
Like on rails: quattro with sport differential
As a complement to the new quattro drivetrain, the Audi quattro concept also
features the sport differential, which actively distributes torque between the rear
wheels. When turning into or accelerating in a curve, the majority of the torque
flows to the outside wheel and pushes the vehicle into the curve, nipping the
tendency to oversteer or understeer in the bud.
The sport differential is a state-of-the-art rear differential. A superposition gear
comprising two sun gears and an internal gear was mounted on the left and the
right of a conventional rear differential. It turns 10 percent faster than the drive
A multi-plate clutch in an oil bath and operated by an electrohydraulic actuator
provides the power connection between the shaft and the superposition gear.
When the clutch closes, it steplessly imposes the higher speed of the
superposition stage on the outside wheel. The additional torque required in order
to rotate faster is drawn away from the inside wheel via the differential. In this
way nearly all of the torque can be directed to one wheel. The maximum
difference between the wheels is 1,800 Nm (1,327.61 lb-ft).
The high-performance Audi quattro concept dazzles with extreme driving
dynamics. It reacts without hesitation, almost reflexively. Its handling is
uncompromisingly precise; its stability guarantees maximum driving safety. The
steering connects the driver with the road to provide sensitive, finely
The wide tracked chassis is rigorously tuned for performance. All of the key
suspension components are made of aluminum, thus reducing the unsprung
masses. The springs and dampers of the track-controlled trapezoidal link rear
suspension are separated to improve response behavior. The links are mounted
on a steel subframe on elastic bearings. The five-link front suspension processes
the longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The rigid aluminum frame to which
it is linked makes the front end extremely rigid.
Up front are anthracite gray, drilled carbon fiber-ceramic discs. They are gripped
by red-anodized, six-piston fixed calipers. The ceramic discs are practically fade-
free, extremely robust, powerful and durable. Furthermore, they are four
kilograms (8.82 lb) lighter than steel discs despite their size.
The Audi quattro concept rolls on large cast aluminum wheels in seven twin-
spoke design. The 9J x 20 wheels are shod with 275/30 tires. Like the Audi R8
LMS GT race car, the wheels of the Audi quattro concept have a central locking
mechanism for fast changes.