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Today in Shanghai, Audi unveiled its new design study, the Cross Coupe Quattro. Billed as a small performance SUV, the "coupe" moniker stems more from its rakish, fastback profile than its number of doors, of which there are four. Given the very production-looking nature of the car, both inside and out, the logical conclusion would be to assume that this concept telegraphs the forthcoming Q5.
If that's the case, there's reason to be happy. It'll be a very nice addition to the compact luxury crossover/SUV segment that currently includes the BMW X3, Acura RDX, Land Rover Freelander 2/LR2, and the upcoming Infiniti EX35. Like the Infiniti, this Audi appears to give up some utility by going for style, as its cargo area is obviously going to be compromised by the sloping roofline. That said, the Cross CoupeQuattro is still technically a concept, so that could change. We hope it doesn't, however, because it looks great as is.
[Source: Audi AG]
The exterior wears Audi's signature large grille, which is flanked by slick, angry-looking LED headlamps and corner markers. Rolling stock consists of 20" five-spoke wheels wrapped in 45-series rubber that only accentuate the sportiness of the Cross Coupe Quattro's attractive shape. The wheels are pushed outboard under modest fender flares, which, when combined by the deep accent line running along the car's flanks, give it a decidedly muscular stance. Roof rails remind us that this is still an SUV, and they're also integrated with the liftgate hinges. Around back, a pair of exhaust tips peek through the skidplate-covered rear bumper.
Underhood, power comes from a 2.0L Bluetec TDI pumping out 204 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine is super-clean, meeting both Euro 6 and US emissions standards, and also very economical, achieving almost 40 mpg in fuel consumption. If this powerplant has a familiar ring to it, it's because a similar setup was used in the VW Tiguan concept. In the Audi's case, it's mated to an S Tronic transmission with both full automatic and manual (paddle-shifted) modes. Furthermore, Audi drive select lets the person behind the wheel choose between Dynamic, Sport, and Efficiency modes, each of which has its own engine, magnetic ride, and transmission settings.
Inside the car, Audi's typically excellent attention to detail is on display, with a well-arranged cockpit, ambient lighting 4-place seating, powered, folding fabric roof and innovative elements such as a perforated dashboard trim strip through which the air conditioning passes, and new touch-sensitive controls for the MMI and A/C systems. The layout is clearly production-ready. All you need to do is mentally change the colors and some of the materials used, and you're there.
The introduction of the Cross Coupe Concept in Shanghai shows just how serious a player China is in the current automotive marketplace. This is the kind of unveiling we'd expect to see at one of the big European or American shows, and its Shanghai debut illustrates that the production car it spawns will be very much a global vehicle, indeed.
Press release follows below.
The compact performance SUV
The silhouette is typical Audi; the design of the study, painted in Liquid Silver, is highly reminiscent of the sporty models produced by the Ingolstadt brand. The proportions and the large 20" wheels point clearly towards the offroad potential of the Cross Coupé quattro. A new element is the fabric folding roof, which, when it is open, gives optimum levels of headroom and fresh air. The hood is opened and closed electrically.
The transversely installed four-cylinder inline TDI engine with common-rail fuel injection and piezo injectors is a completely new development. With power output of 204 bhp and 400 Nm of torque, it gives the vehicle a sporty performance and a surprising degree of efficiency. On average the ultra-modern 2.0 TDI needs just 5.9 litres of diesel per 100 km. The diesel particulate filter and Bluetec system reduce soot and nitric oxide emissions effectively. Even today, the Audi Cross Coupé quattro satisfies the emissions standards of the future.
The quattro permanent four-wheel drive system is a matter of course on an Audi with offroad potential. A Haldex clutch ensures that traction is precisely distributed according to the situation. The sporty Audi S tronic dual-clutch gearbox executes gearshifts in a matter of milliseconds.
The running gear, featuring a McPherson-strut front axle and a four-link rear axle is perfect for sporty and agile handling that retains a high degree of stability and makes cornering distinctly fun. As an additional quality, the driving comfort of the running gear impresses on all types of road and in rough terrain, meeting even the standards expected of a vehicle in a higher class. Ceramic brake discs promise excellent, non-fading deceleration. 20" wheels give the Cross Coupé quattro the ground clearance required.
Numerous electronic systems support the driver. The Audi drive select system makes it possible to preselect three highly individual configurations for the engine, gearbox, steering and adaptive shock absorbers. The result: a car that can be enjoyed in three completely different ways.
Besides the standard "dynamic" drive select mode and the "sport" setting, the Audi Cross Coupé also has the "efficiency" driving program. Here, the engine map and the shift points are modified to support a particularly economical driving style. In addition, the system deactivates components that are particularly energy-hungry, for example the air-conditioning compressor.
Another innovation is the MMI control panel, which is operated by a touch pad. The monitor of the system employs, for the first time, dual-view technology. The system can produce different images for the driver and front-seat passenger. These images are only visible when viewed from a specific angle. This allows the driver to read data from the on-board computer while the front passenger watches a TV programme, listening to the sound through headphones.
The sound system with the prominent extending tweeters sets a new infotainment standard in the class. The ambient lighting with numerous light sources gives the interior a stylish ambience, even at night.