Dynamic design, immense power and new electronic features: Audi is presenting a fascinating technology concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from January 6 to 10, 2014 in Las Vegas, USA. The Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept is reminiscent of the classic Sport quattro of 1983 while pointing towards the future – with the latest of the brand's technologies in plug-in hybrid drives, user control and display interfaces and lighting technology.
“The new show car demonstrates technical ‘Vorsprung’ on many levels,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. “On-board this car we have e-tron technology with 515 kW of power and 2.5 l/100 km (94.09 US mpg) fuel economy; laser headlights that leave all previous systems in the dark with its higher performance as well as new display and operating systems with cutting-edge electronic performance. We are showing the future of Audi here.”
The coupe, a new evolutionary stage of the Sport quattro concept, painted in the color Plasma Red, combines the power of the historic Sport quattro with emotional elegance. Its body is tautly set over its large wheels. The overhangs are short, and the car's proportions show a sporty balance. With a wheelbase of 2,784 mm (109.61 in), it is 4,602 mm (181.18 in) long. At a width of 1,964 mm (77.32 in), the two-door model is very wide, and it is just 1,386 mm (54.57 in) tall, which is exceptionally low.
In the dual headlights, a typical quattro feature, Audi is demonstrating the future of lighting technology by combining LED and laser light technologies. Two low-profile trapezoidal elements are visible within the headlights – the outer one generates the low beam light using LEDs and an aperture mask, while the inner element produces laser light for high-beam functionality.
The powerful laser diodes are significantly smaller than LED diodes; they are only a few microns in diameter. Illuminating the road for a distance of nearly 500 meters (1,640 ft), the laser high-beam light has approximately twice the lighting range and three times the luminosity of LED high beam lights. In this future technology, Audi is once again demonstrating its leadership role in automotive lighting technology with a system that will also be used on the race track in the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro.
The angular, swept-back C pillars of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept car and the blisters above the fenders are other design elements reminiscent of the classic Sport quattro. The broad shoulders of the body were reinterpreted and intensively sculpted to convey even greater dynamism. Throughout the car, sharp contours frame muscular surfaces – the interplay between convex and concave curvatures defines the athletic character of the coupe.
The hexagonal single-frame grille also offers an outlook on future design of the sporty production models. The lower section is nearly vertical, while the upper follows the contour of the hood; the screen insert is a typical solution from car racing. The low grille emphasizes the show car's width. Two large, vertical blades divide each of the large air inlets; their form is repeated in the creases of the hood. The splitter, which is made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), is shifted far to the front, as on a race car.
The combination of a swept-back glass cabin and broad shoulders defines the proportions at the rear. Another defining element at the rear of the show car is the CFRP diffuser, which extends upward significantly. Its upper section is honeycombed, while its lower section houses two large, oval tailpipes. The tail lights, which are backed by a black CFRP panel, are rectangular in form – another quattro reference. The luggage space, which is reinforced by a large cross bar stiffener, offers 300 liters (10.59 cu ft) of cargo capacity.
The interior of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept focuses very much on the driver. Even the multifunction sport steering wheel points the way towards future sporty production solutions. It has two buttons which the driver can use to control the hybrid drive, a red start-stop button, a button for the Audi drive select vehicle handling system and a "View" button to control the Audi virtual cockpit.
All key information is shown on the large Audi TFT display in high-resolution, three-dimensional graphics; a cutting-edge Tegra 30 processor from Audi partner Nvidia processes the graphics. The driver can switch between different modes. For example, in the MMI mode the dominant display elements include the navigation map and media lists, while in the Classic view the speedometer appears in the foreground.
Nearly all functions of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept can be controlled from the further developed MMI terminal that is mounted on the center console over the tunnel. Its large rotary pushbutton, which also serves as a touchpad, can be pushed in four directions, and it is surrounded on three sides by four buttons – for the main menu, submenus, options and a back function.