Audi Sport Quattro Concept Is A Sign Of The Times – A Worrying One

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
audi sport quattro concept is a sign of the times 8211 a worrying one

My, how times have changed. In 2010, Audi teased us with the quattro concept, a tribute to the original quattro that debuted 33 years ago. It was a lightweight, elemental car with a honest-to-god 6-speed manual gearbox and a turbocharged 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 408 horsepower while weighing just under 2,900 lbs. Three years later, the Sport Quattro concept picks up the mantle, and things have changed for the worse.

Like everything else these days, the Sport Quattro is a hybrid car. Yes, it has a twin turbocharged 4.0L V8, but there’s also an electric motor and an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Sure, it makes 690 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque but it also weighes 4000 lbs. Fuel economy is 94 mpg according to European cycle standards and there is 31 miles of electric driving available – all in all a remarkable technological achievement.

Like most great cars, the original quattro was a bit of an accident. cobbled together from leftover bits of VAG parts and the sweat equity of a few engineers. 33 years later, Audi is not a maker of quirky all-wheel drive cars, but a global luxury brand churning out commodity vehicles in a marketplace where regulatory concerns drive vehicle design more than ever, and the tastes of countries considered third world backwaters in 1983 are now of the utmost importance. Things change. I get it.

But it’s not as if anyone buying a German high-performance car gives a rats ass about fuel consumption or green issues anyways. It is a two-fold move designed to appease European regulatory concerns and bolster Audi’s green credentials to people who would probably rather ride bicycles anyways. The greenwashing of high-end performance automobiles strikes me as incredibly cynical if not unnecessary.

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  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Sep 05, 2013

    Performance cars are heading in the wrong direction. Manufacturers are increasing complexity to try and comply with all the rules. EXPLETIVE THE RULES. Millions of people ride motorcycles every day. Why not build something like a mass production Ariel Atom? It wouldn't be as luxurious or "daily drivable" as this behemoth, but then it would probably drive a LOT better, cost a LOT less to run, and be better for the environment. Sure it would be more dangerous, but again, there are still people who ride motorcycles and drive around in old paper maiche cars, not because they can't afford more, but because they prefer them to monstrosities like this. With sportbike sales down the tubes motorcycle manufacturers would be smart to jump on this trend. Imagine, a 12,000 RPM, 150HP, 1000lb AWD go kart... with wind and some light rain protection, for the cost of something like a Corolla. It's doable and really the only way I see forward. Just needs the buy in of the consumer.

  • Phargophil Phargophil on Sep 05, 2013

    I must be in the minority, but I think this is very pleasing styling exercise. It's an Audi so by extension it will be on the spendy side, and a hi-po drivetrain will make it more so. Just wish I were rich.

  • Jeff S We have had so many article about gas wars. A lighter subject on gas wars might be the scene from Blazing Saddles where the cowboys were around the campfire and how their gas contributed to global warming or was it just natural gas.
  • Jeff S We all have issues some big and most not so big. Better to be alive and face the issues than to be dead and not have the opportunity to face them.
  • NJRide Now more than ever, the US needs a brand selling cheaper cars. I know the old adage that a "good used car" is the best affordable transportation, but there has to be someone willing to challenge the $45k average gas crossover or $60k electric one that has priced out many working and middle class people from the market. So I think Mitsu actually may be onto something. Call me crazy but I think if they came up with a decent sedan in the Civic space but maybe for $19-20k as opposed to $25 they might get some traction there's still some people who prefer a sedan.However, I just compared a Trailblazer on Edmunds to an Outlander Sport. Virtually same size, the Trailblazer has heated seats, keyless ignition and satellite radio and better fuel economy for almost same price as the Mitsu. Plus a fresher body and a normal dealer network. This has always been the challenge off brands have had. Mitsu probably would have to come in $2-3k less than the Chevy unless they can finance more readily to the subprime crowd.
  • MaintenanceCosts At least on the US West Coast, Waze is perfectly happy to send cut-through drivers down residential streets or to disregard peak-hour turn or travel restrictions. I hope if it's going to be standard equipment the company starts taking a more responsible approach.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm more curious about the effect (if any) on battery lifetime than range. Drawing current faster creates more heat and if that heat is not promptly drawn away it could affect life of the cells.I agree this sort of thing can make sense as a one-time option but is consumer-hostile as a subscription.