Audi development engineers shortened the wheelbase by 150 millimetres and lowered the roofline by around 40 millimetres compared to the four-seat RS5. Like its Eighties predecessor, the 2010 show car is now also a two-seater. The heavily modified body is made primarily of aluminium, with the bonnet, the rear hatch and other components made of carbon.
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 1,300 kilograms, almost the same as the original Sport Quattro. 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 408 PS and powers the car from 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. Torque is distributed as needed via a six-speed manual transmission.
Although the genes of the Audi A5 and RS5 Coupés are impossible to overlook in the Quattro Concept, 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.
The concept car's wheelbase is 150 millimetres shorter than that of the RS5. 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 millimetres to maintain the harmony of the basic proportions. Roof height was reduced by 40 millimetres for this same reason. With its exterior dimensions (length x width x height) of 4.28 m 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 interior of the coupé is reduced and clean. The dashboard is very slender and seems to float over the separate centre console. Shortening the wheelbase meant losing the rear seat of the RS5 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 18 kilograms each; a weight advantage of roughly 40 percent versus a conventional production seat. The seats are equipped with either three- or four-point belts.
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 modern – 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 1980s.
Entertainment is offered not just under the bonnet, 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 supported.
Audi resurrected a line in 2009 with the 340PS, 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 modifications resulted in a substantial power increase to 408PS, and its 480 Newton metres of torque also leave the base version far behind.
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 the engine.
Displacing 2,480 cubic centimetres, it produces 408 PS between 5,400 and 6,500 rpm. Peak torque of 480 Nm is already available at 1,600 and remains constant through to 5,300 rpm. The powerful unit powers the Audi Quattro concept from 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds.