Audi made it easy for its 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show offerings: four rings, four wheels driven, four intriguing models.
With the show opening its doors to the press Tuesday in Germany, Audi’s debut of two concept cars and two production models drew plenty of attention.
On the production side, the automaker unveiled the A3 Cabriolet and A3 E-tron plug-in hybrid hatchback, which will roll into U.S. dealerships in the second half of 2014 and 2015, respectively.
The more pie-in-the-sky Audi fans were entertained by the Sport Quattro concept and the Nanuk Quattro concept. Let’s take a look at all four:
Audi Nanuk Quattro concept
To get a sense of this oddball concept, picture a two-door, all-wheel-drive, mid-engine coupe on stilts. The wide, flat body was designed in collaboration with Italian design firm Italdesign Giugiaro, which is largely owned by Audi parent Volkswagen Group.
"The result is a sports car for any stage of life and for any surface," Audi said in a statement.
The Nanuk features a mid-mounted 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-10 diesel engine that makes 544 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. It has a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission and Audi says it will do zero-60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
Curb weight is hefty, at just under 4,200 pounds, despite being built with an aluminum frame and a carbon-fiber body. The Nanuk also features four-wheel steering, an adaptive air suspension with three adjustable heights, and 22-inch wheels.
There are no current plans for a production version of this Nanuk concept.
Audi Sport Quattro concept
This plug-in hybrid concept celebrates the 30th anniversary of Audi’s legendary Sport Quattro car, which the automaker sold in limited numbers globally in order to comply with World Rally Championships regulations.
Similar to the 1983 version, this concept is a two-door, all-wheel-drive coupe. It’s powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 and an electric motor for a total of 700 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels.
The electric motor is powered by a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery, and the concept can travel up to 31 miles on electric power alone. Zero-to-60 acceleration clocks in at 3.7 seconds for this 4,078-pound car.
The body of this Sport Quattro is made from aluminum and carbon fiber. Despite short overhangs at the front and rear of the car, its dimensions are very similar to Audi’s A5 coupe. This may help this car’s chances of reaching production, though Audi has yet to decide on a production version.
Audi A3 Sportback E-tron
One plug-in hybrid from Audi that is destined for production will be this hatchback version of the A3 sedan. Yes, previously the A3 was sold only as a hatchback in the U.S., but this is changing for 2014. It’s then that Audi will sell the A3 as a sedan to compete with the all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan.
Yet the hatchback model will live on as this Sportback E-tron. It’s powered by a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
The A3 E-tron will do zero-62 mph in 7.6 seconds, Audi said. The car can travel up to 31 miles on electric power alone, and its total range will be 584 miles, according to the automaker.
This particular A3 will go on sale in the U.S. in 2015, Audi said.
Audi A3 Cabriolet
If 2015 is too long to wait to get your hands on an A3, perhaps the latter half of 2014 is easier? That’s when the all-new A3 Cabriolet will be available on our shores.
This model, which broke cover just before the Frankfurt Auto Show, is the drop-top version of the aforementioned A3 sedan due here soon.
Several engines will be available overseas (including a faster S3 version), but the one we’re likely to get is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder making 180 horsepower. It will be paired with a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, Audi said.
The soft-top on the four-seat A3 is fully automatic and has a glass rear window. It will open or close in around 18 seconds, and at speeds up to 31 mph.