Skip to main content

Audi’s 700hp Sport quattro hybrid concept once again reshapes the supercar landscape

audis sport quattro concept once again reshapes supercar dom f13a studio 007 18
The Audi Sport quattro concept is a plug-in hybrid so powerful that Audi refuses to sell it. Image used with permission by copyright holder

At the Frankfurt Auto Show this year, both BMW and Audi are looking backwards as they race forward with two new, very special, very distinctive coupes.

On Tuesday we saw a sneak peek at the new BMW i8 – the plug-in hybrid sports car destined to carry on the 8 Series legacy. And today we see this: the Audi Sport quattro concept.

The Audi Sport quattro concept is the latest iteration of Audi’s infamous – and now ancient by automotive terms – Sport quattro lineage.

First introduced in 1983 with the Sport quattro, the hot hatch challenged what it meant to be a supercar in the late 20th century. Although it packed a permanent all-wheel drive system and a 306 horsepower engine, the quattro didn’t quite look the supercar part. Despite its less than inspiring looks, the quattro would go on to win the 1987 Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado and find a spot in the hearts and minds of young boys every where. I’d know; I was one of them.

Delightfully, the 2013 Audi Sport quattro concept picks up where its predecessor left off. This time, however, it has more power. A lot more power.

Just like its BMW rival, the i8, the Sport quattro concept, too, is a plug-in hybrid. Unlike the three-cylinder i8, however, the Sport quattro concept is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo TFSI V8 mated to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission, which sends power to the quattro all-wheel drive system, featuring a sport differential on the rear axle.

In between the V8 and the transmission is a pancake electric motor that creates 147 horsepower and 295.02 pound-feet of torque, which is powered by an onboard lithium-ion battery pack. The addition of the electric motor takes total system power output to 700 horsepower and 590.05 pound-feet, which is more power than 35 Ford Model Ts – literally.

With the V8 and electric motor working together, the Sport quattro concept will sprint to 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 189.52 mph. You don’t always have to drive it like you stole it, though. The Sport quattro concept can be driven in three modes: EV, Hybrid, and Sport.

In EV all electric mode, the car will travel up to 31.07 miles on a single charge and spare the life of at least one polar bear. Hybrid mode is exactly what it sounds like. Except, in the Audi, it utilizes the navigation system to travel the most efficient route. It will display route suggestions through the virtual 3D instrument cluster and head-up display. And Sport is “hold on to your mustache, things are about to get a bit scary” mode.

The Audi sounds fantastic, right? Well, yes, it does. Except it has one big problem.

Unlike the BMW plug-in hybrid sports car, the Sport quattro concept is just that: a concept. Audi won’t sell you one. It might make one soon but if you’re in the market for a high-end German luxury sports car now, you’ll have to settle for the pitifully powered 362 horsepower BMW i8 and go 0-60 a whole second slower.

At that point, though, why even get out of bed?

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Jaynes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Jaynes is the Automotive Editor for Digital Trends. He developed a passion for writing about cars working his way…
The Lucid Gravity has more range than any other electric SUV
A Lucid Gravity electric SUV on the road.

The Lucid Air is a marvelous electric car. It offers more range than any EV currently on sale, plus impressive performance and tech. However, it’s also a sedan, and therefore will always have limited reach in a marketplace dominated by SUVs. Enter the Lucid Gravity, a seven-passenger, three-row SUV launching in 2024 that will allow Lucid to reach a wider audience.

The Gravity is a sensible follow-up to the Air. Having introduced itself to the world with that sedan, Lucid can now channel some of the buzz into a vehicle aimed at a larger patch of the market. But it also presents a challenge. In order to create a true SUV, Lucid had to make the Gravity heavier and less aerodynamic than the Air, cutting into the efficiency that was a hallmark of the sedan’s design.

Read more
Amazon and Hyundai partner on online car sales, in-car services
A 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe in front of a giant Amazon box.

At the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show, Amazon and Hyundai announced a partnership that will bring Amazon Alexa Built-in apps to future Hyundai vehicles and will make Hyundai the first brand in Amazon's planned foray into online car sales.

Starting in 2025, "next-generation" Hyundai vehicles will offer the same Alexa experience users get at home, the automaker's announcement said. Drivers will be able to ask Alexa to play music podcasts or audiobooks, set reminders, update to-do lists, and check calendars, as well as control smart-home functions. The built-in Alexa functionality will also include real-time traffic and weather information, as well as voice control for navigation systems. "Certain" features will be available even when internet access is limited.

Read more
Volvo EM90 electric minivan: price, release date, range, and more
Volvo EM90 Driving

If you want an electric SUV, crossover, or sedan, you're spoiled for choices right now. Kia EV6? Rivian R1S? Volvo EX30? All great picks.

But what if you want ... a minivan?

Read more