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Stunning Audi ‘nanuk’ quattro concept pumps 544 hp from a V10 diesel

audi nanuk quattro concept

The Audi nanuk quattro concept can go 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and achieve 30 MPG.

The 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show festivities have begun. While we’ve been reporting on concept car leaks for the last few weeks, apparently there are still some surprises to be had: specifically, the Audi nanuk quattro concept.

From the exterior, the “nanuk” looks like a cousin of the R8 but dig a bit deeper and it’s clear that it is much, much more.

First off, the nanuk quattro concept is kind of a crossover – but not in the traditional sense. The car is only a two-seater but Audi claims it “combines the dynamics of a mid-engine sports car with the versatility of a sporty recreational vehicle.”

Words can’t accurately describe how excited we are by this Audi concept.

Under the hood Audi has placed a newly developed twin-turbo 5.0-liter V10 TDI diesel engine that produces 544 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. That torque monster of an engine has been mounted longitudinally just in front of the rear axle and sends power to all four wheels through a beefed-up seven-speed S tronic transmission and – not surprisingly – a quattro all-wheel drive system.

While this might just be enough dynamism for most automakers, Audi went many, many steps further. Engineers also fitted it with four-wheel steering that turns the rear wheels opposite the front wheels – up to nine degrees – to improve turning radius.

All these bits, though, make the nanuk heavier than the lunar module. But despite its 4,188.78 pound curb weight, the nanuk quattro concept can sprint to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 189.52 mph. Don’t get up from your desk and start dancing yet, because the nanuk is also rated to achieve an average fuel economy rating of 30.16 MPG – by U.S. standards, mind you, and not on the lenient European cycle.

How is it able to perform so well and weigh so dang much? Audi claims its “innovative thermal management with its separate cooling loops and the steplessly regulated oil pump contribute to the excellent fuel consumption.” 

Worried this off-road capable supercar will have suspension fit for an F1 car? Don’t. No, Audi has bolted up an adaptive air suspension that can be controlled both by driver input but also by information coming from the navigation system. Knowing which kind of road its on, the nanuk quattro concept will ride lower on freeways – no matter the speed – for better aerodynamics. Come off the highway and head onto a gravel road, the navigation will know and raise the car up 1.57 inches for improve ground clearance.

The air suspension works in conjunction with the four-wheel steering as well to tackle both track and off-road driving with confidence.

On the interior, all rear and side view mirrors have been replaced with digital cameras and screens. The side view images appear in the A-pillars and the rearview image is projected from the headliner.

Audi also installed something called the Audi phone box, which can charge your smartphone inductively. This is a feature we hope will soon hit production Audi cars, as we’re rather tired of keeping all our cords with us.

Words can’t accurately describe how excited we are by this Audi concept. We suspect, however, that before Frankfurt is over later this week, something else will blow us away, too. So check back for more up-to-the-minute reports.

What do you think of the Audi nanuk? Leave a comment below.

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