Audi wowed the crowds at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany with not only its much-anticipated Sport Quattro Coupe, but also a beefed-up, off-road-capable concept called the Nanuk Quattro.
Nanuk is an Inuit word for Polar Bear, giving this car a neat link to Canada.
But if you’re expecting any of that fabled Canadian politeness – think again. The Nanuk packs a walloping 737 lb-ft punch from its 544 hp, twin-turbo diesel V10. 100 percent of that torque is available at 1,500 rpm and will propel the car from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, to a top speed of 305 km/h.
The engine is connected to the road via a “beefed-up” seven-speed S tronic gearbox.
All four corners get double-wishbone, independent air suspension and 22-inch wheels on high-profile rubber.
Audi has gone to town on this concept, throwing in rear-view cameras in place of side mirrors, upwards-rotating scissor doors, and most excitingly, four-wheel steering.
At low speeds the rear wheels turn nine degrees to shorten the turning circle, while at high speeds the rear wheels will turn 2.5 degrees for pointier handling.
Aluminum and carbon-fibre are used extensively throughout the body and interior, which is attached to a lightweight aluminum “Audi Space Frame”. Still the Nanuk is no lightweight, coming it at 1,900 kg. Like its snow-loving namesake, you wouldn’t want to pick a fight with it.
It looks aggressive too. Wide hips give the car a wound-up stance and the car looks set to pounce. Sharp angles and deep recesses accentuate the aggressive stance. High in the rear and low in the front, the Nanuk sports exaggerated air dams in the front splitter for oil and brake cooling. Those dams sit just under yet another iteration of Audi’s iconic LED headlights. Separate air intake scallops behind the doors cool the engine, and Audi says that cooling effort contributes to the Nanuk’s 7.8 L/100 km fuel economy rating.
The entire rear cowl can lift up in one piece to access the engine, which is rear-mounted underneath a large glass window reminiscent of the Audi R8. Unlike the R8, and perhaps good news for the likely target market, the Nanuk packs enough luggage space for a golf bag under the long, sloping bonnet.
Inside, deeply recessed and heavily bolstered seats – just two, of course – wrap the occupants tightly. A fully digital instrument cluster is “freely programmable” and includes track settings and even some famous European track maps. A second digital display at the end of the console replaces a conventional centre stack and leaves the aluminum dashboard looking sculpted and futuristic.
Audi quoted Salvador Dali in their public unveiling of the concept, shunning timidity to claim; “Dali said, “I prefer to remember the future” – we prefer to shape the future.”