Audi claims the goal of its Crosslane Coupe concept is not to preview a future vehicle, but to demonstrate the automaker's ideas for future vehicle construction, powertrain, and design methods. Yet we know that this Paris show car is actually our first look at the Audi Q2, a small crossover set to debut in production guise next year.
The Audi Q2 will probably use a shortened version of the new MLB platform that will underpin Audi's other new cars and SUVs -- including the next A4, A6, Q5, and Q7. The stubby model will fit in price- and size-wise below the Audi Q3, and is being touted to fight the likes of the Mini Countryman, and even the Nissan Juke.
The Crosslane Coupe previews the design of the Q2 with incredibly skinny headlights (which are expected to show up in future Audis), a deep hexagonal grille, a sharp character crease running between the front and rear fenders, and a steeply raked rear windshield. The car has no B-pillar, allowing for a large expanse of glass between the angled windshield and thick C-pillar. It's a sporty three-door design that looks like a mix of the styling seen in the A1 and A3 cars, and the Q5 crossover.
The big news under the skin is that the concept uses a new Multimaterial Space Frame, which uses an aluminum frame along with carbon-fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) and glass-fiber reinforced polymers (GFRP). Audi says this combination of materials helps substantially reduce vehicle weight, without costing an inordinate amount compared to other lightweighting strategies. The Crosslane Coupe concept is said to weigh in at just 3058 pounds, even with the added mass of a complex plug-in hybrid system.
That system consists of a new turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-three engine rated for 128 hp, one electric motor/generator rated for 67 hp, and a traction motor with 114 hp. The second electric motor provides most of the driving motivation at speeds up to 80 mph; above 34 mph, the gasoline engine can also assist by turning the smaller motor and helping charge the 17.4-kWh battery pack. At high speeds, the gas engine takes over primary motivation duties, although the electric motor can assist for extra passing power.
The whole system is supposed to return fuel economy of 257 mpg, in part because the plug-in hybrid should be able to drive at moderate speeds for 53 miles on electrical power alone.
The 2+2 interior is finished in tan and black leather, with real machined aluminum employed for most of the controls, and a bright color screen used instead of a traditional instrument cluster. Like the outside, the cabin has plenty of sharp angles and trapezoidal openings.
The optimistic economy claims, angular styling, and fanciful touches like a removable CFRP roof panel make it clear the Crosslane Coupe is just a concept car. Yet we can expect to see much of the design language and some version of this plug-in hybrid powertrain when the Audi Q2 makes its official debut in late 2013.