Audi says that the Nanuk Quattro concept, debuting at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, is a “sports car for any stage of life and for any road surface.” That bold claim is made possible by the fact that the show car is a crossover with the wide stance and performance credentials of a sport coupe. Weighing in at 4188 pounds, the Nanuk Quattro can sprint to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds and tops out at 190 mph. Better still, Audi claims fuel economy equivalent to 30 mpg.
The secret to that performance is a new 5.0-liter twin-turbo diesel V-10 rated at 544 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. The mid-mounted engine sends its power to a strengthened seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic, and a version of Audi’s famous Quattro divvies up power among all four wheels. Air suspension allows the driver to manually raise the car 1.6 inches higher for driving off-road, and the navigation system can even recognize dirt roads and boost the ride height automatically. Carbon-ceramic brakes hide behind 22-inch alloy wheels. The rear wheels can turn to help reduce the car’s turning circle or to make it more stable when changing lanes at highway speeds.
That the Nanuk Quattro concept looks like an evolution of the Italdesign Parcour shown at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show is no big surprise, as Audi commissioned the Italian studio to help it craft the Nanuk. Its Audi Space Frame is made entirely from aluminum and its bodywork from carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP).
The Nanuk is just four inches longer and about the same width as an Audi R8 coupe but is nearly four inches taller, hinting at its crossover designation. Despite that, the Audi Nanuk, with a small greenhouse leading to a sloped glass screen over the engine compartment, registers visually more as a coupe than anything else, The doors open upward, and Audi says the entire rear bodywork can be opened for access to the engine.
The Audi Nanuk Quattro concept begins with a rounded nose bearing a large hexagonal grille, Audi’s clever Matrix LED headlights, and a trio of prominent vertical air intakes at either corner. Creases in the hood lead over the flared fenders and into the beltline, which rises upward toward the wide, aggressive fenders. As on the Audi R8, a contrast-colored sideblade sits aft of the door, bisected by sheetmetal. The rear is familiar Audi, with a narrow, stubby fascia bearing LED taillights, dual circular exhaust tips, and black mesh vents. Luggage stows in the front compartment; Audi claims there is enough space for a golf bag.
Carbon fiber and aluminum define the cabin, which has a minimalist look with a tiny dashboard. An LCD screen is used for the instrument panel, while almost the entire center console is a touchscreen. Placing phones in a special compartment allows them to charge wirelessly, without any cables. There are no mirrors to speak of: small cameras relay images to monitors on the A-pillars, and a third rear-facing camera transmits its view to a small display that hangs from the headliner.
The Audi Nanuk Quattro concept is just a design study, and is unlikely to reach production any time soon.