Audi aims for the moon with the A4 allroad quattro, h-tron concept … and a lunar rover

Audi’s Quattro nameplate has been a legend of motorsports for nearly 40 years, and the brand’s all-wheel drive system of the same name has been helping drivers get a grip for just as long. It’s been featured on everything from large SUVs to breakneck sports cars in that time, and at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, Audi showcased the system’s versatility with three new models.

A4 allroad quattro

Audi A4 allroad quattro
Audi A4 allroad quattro

As its name suggests, the A4 allroad quattro is essentially a raised version of the A4 Avant, with an extra 1.3 inches of ground clearance for more all-terrain freedom. The car “combines high-riding driving comfort with off-road qualities,” describes Audi, which could make it the perfect choice for Subaru Outback lovers who need a little more opulence in their lives. The A4 allroad quattro is Europe only, however.

Outside of its puffed-up exterior and new jagged headlights, the vehicle boasts five engine choices — both diesel and gas — which range in output from 150 horsepower all the way up to 272 hp. There are a variety of transmission options as well, including a six-speed manual, seven-speed S tronic, or eight-speed tiptronic. Quattro all-wheel drive is, of course, standard.

The A4 allroad quattro also benefits from “offroad mode,” which uses unique suspension damper controls to keep you composed on the dusty trail. The vehicle hits showrooms in Europe this summer for a starting price of 44,750 Euros ($48,661).

Powered by hydrogen

Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept

On the other end of the stage, Audi took the wraps off the hydrogen-fueled h-tron quattro concept. Dubbed a “technology study,” the sharp and angular people-carrier looks like an evolved version of the aforementioned A4, but it couldn’t be more different underneath the skin.

Instead of conventional gasoline and diesel power sources, the h-tron uses a hydrogen fuel cell to deliver energy to a pair of electric motors — one on the front axle and one on the rear. Total output between the two is 230 kW (308 hp), and although the SUV is no sports car, 0 to 60 comes in less than 7.0 seconds. Better yet, the vehicle can be refueled in less than four minutes and has a range of up to to 372 miles.

The hydrogen fuel cells and electric motors aren’t the only examples of progressive tech on the car, because outside of its curved OLED displays and tablets for rear passengers, the h-tron gives us a taste of the piloted driving and parking systems that will show up on the next-generation A8 sedan. The vehicle’s central driver assistance controller (zFAS) “computes a model of the car’s surroundings in real time and makes this information available to the assistance systems and the piloted driving and parking systems,” Audi says. “The latter can assume driving tasks during parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds of up to 60 kmh (37.3 mph).”

To the moon!

Audi lunar quattro
Audi lunar quattro

Audi’s Earth-going vehicles received most of the attention onstage in Detroit, but the company also gave us a new look at its lunar quattro rover, which it hopes will a make literal moonshot in 2017. Audi is supporting a team of German hopefuls called Part-Time Scientists, who have entered to win a $30 million check as part of the Google Lunar X Prize contest. Once on the moon, the automated vehicle must drive one-half kilometer and transmit images and video footage back to Earth. Read more about the rover here.

Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

Snatch Apple’s 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro for up to $1,200 off at B&H

The latest deal at B&H is offering up 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros, in space gray and silver, with Intel Core i7 quad-core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPUs with up to 2TB of SSD storage.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.