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Frankfurt show: Audi’s shock supercar concept

Family ties: There's a hint of Audi sister company Lamborghini in the nanuk's lines, penned by Italdesign.

High-riding Audi Nanuk draws gasps ahead of surprise Frankfurt premiere


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10 Sep 2013


AUDI pulled a genuine surprise overnight on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show by tearing the covers from a mid-engined concept supercar you won’t scrape over speedbumps.

Called the Nanuk - apparently Inuit for ‘Polar Bear’ - the high-riding coupe packs a massively powerful 400kW/1000Nm V10 turbo-diesel beneath its bonnet and a quattro all-wheel-drive system under the bodyshell, matched to a beefed-up seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Audi says the 1900kg jacked-up coupe can dash from zero to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds but use only 7.8 litres of diesel per 100km under more careful driving.

The 22-inch wheels hide carbon-fibre ceramic brakes, while a new-generation adaptive air suspension system with electronically controlled dampers premieres.

Drivers can raise of lower the ride height from between 'normal', 30mm lower or 40mm higher for trickier conditions - just like the A4 and A6 Allroad crossovers. It also has supplemental rear steering (four-wheel steer) driven by separate rear actuators.

The concept is made of an aluminium spaceframe structure and features extensive use of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer. It has a 2710mm wheelbase and measures 4541mm long, 1990mm wide and 1337mm high.

It’s becoming increasingly rare to experience an unexpected reveal at a major motor show, with concepts invariably leaking online or being unveiled early.

But Audi managed to keep the identity of this particular mystery concept a total secret.

The Nanuk will sit alongside the similarly sporty, 512kW plug-in hybrid Sport Quattro muscle car concept - which we’ve already seen - on the Audi stand at this year’s showAudi describes the Nanuk - penned in collaboration with the famed Italdesign Guigiaro design house - as being “equally at home on the race track, the highway or a winding country road as it is off-road in the sand or in the snow.”“It’s crossover concept combines the dynamics of a mid-engine sports car with the versatility of a sporty recreational vehicle,” the company says.

The Nanuk is just a concept for now, but the company says it will actively weigh up crowd response from the motor show, and could consider putting it into niche production. The Lamborghini-esque design cues could also preview its next-generation of sportscars.

“The Audi Nanuk quattro concept is a dynamic sculpture on large wheels that opens a new chapter in the Audi design language,” the company said. It has a more pronounced hexagonal front grille, LED headlights and a large side-blade intake behind the door to feed air to the engine.

It also features upward-opening doors, wing-shaped side cameras in place of regular mirrors, a distinctive rear diffuser with integrated twin pipes and an oversized rear windows that flips upward in one piece like a race car.

Audi says the stripped back carbon-fibre interior is “reduced to the essentials”. In the frontal storage area, Audi says there’s room for “two trolleys or a golf bag”.

Rather than physical dials and needles, the show car has a freely programmable instrument cluster, meaning the driver can call up a variety of displays and information as desired.

Two small monitors in the A-pillars serve as digital exterior mirrors and display the images. The same function is provided by the center display mounted on the headlining, which replaces the rear-view mirror.

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