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Detroit show: Audi goes plug-in with baby Allroad

Electrifying: Audi’s Allroad Shooting Brake concept has electric motors front and rear as part of its E-tron Quattro hybrid drive systems.

Allroad Shooting Brake concept hints at future crossover hybrid from Audi

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Audi logo13 Jan 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

AUDI has revealed its take on the sportscar of the 21st century, combining a squat three-door crossover body, powerful and efficient plug-in hybrid powertrain and the latest electric E-tron Quattro four-wheel grip.

Making its debut at the Detroit motor show this week and possibly previewing the Q1 SUV due within three years, the compact Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept is aimed at recreational sports enthusiasts, providing the ride height and traction needed for snow fields, the beach and bush, along with urban appeal.

While Audi is not saying the Allroad Shooting Brake will go into production, Audi board member Ulrich Hackenberg said: “We are offering very concrete glimpses of the near future in this show car.”

The hybrid powertrain – dubbed E-tron Quattro – combines a 215kW/380Nm four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with two electric motors – one integrated into the dual-clutch transmission driving the front wheels and a second mounted on the rear axle driving the rear wheels.

Combined peak power is said to be a healthy 300kW, while maximum torque is 650Nm.

The system can propel the 1600kg vehicle from zero to 100km in 4.6 seconds, while consuming just 1.9 litres per 100km of fuel for a driving range of 820km.

The front electric motor – producing 40kW and 270Nm – is coupled to the petrol engine via a clutch, and is wrapped into a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The rear electric motor generates 85kW and 270Nm, and while it operates independently of the front powertrain, it can work in tandem if the hybrid management system decides all-wheel drive is required, or if the driver wants a power boost.

The electric motors are powered by an 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery just ahead of the rear axle. The battery can be charged from a socket, but Audi does not say how long that takes.

A full battery charge provides sufficient energy to cover up to 50km in electric mode – one of three selectable modes. Others are Hybrid and Sport, with full system power on tap in the latter.

The front electric motor acts as a regenerative charger under braking, replenishing the battery while driving, to extend the range. The driver can also select Hold or Charge functions to retain or charge battery capacity in case they want to use electric mobility later in the journey.

The Allroad Shooting Brake has only three doors, presumably to heighten what Audi describes as “sex appeal”.

Sitting on a 2510mmm wheelbase – longer than that of the A1 but shorter than the Q3 – the Allroad Shooting Brake concept has an overall length of just 4200mm, which would make it one of the shortest SUVs around.

But what it loses in length it makes up in width, with a commodious 1850mm across the body, making it wider than some large cars.

The vehicle seats four, with the front occupants getting narrow sports seats.

Externally, the body melds the design language of its Allroad wagons – including the upcoming Sport Quattro that was shown in concept at last year’s Frankfurt motor show – with the latest E-tron styling.

To keep weight under control, the body blends aluminium and carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) on exterior panels. Even the 19-inch wheels are made of CFRP.

The new centre console screen borrows the menu format of a smart phone for easier use, displaying various functions on a whopping 12.3-inch screen.

The “Audi phone box” not only connects the phone to the car’s media centre but can also re-charge the phone via inductive charging.

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