Audi Quattro Is Back!
And it's not alone, as the German automaker unveils a number of green and performance models in Paris.
First up, the Audi quattro is back, and it's the highlight of Audi's display here in the City of Light.
A design study celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original road and rally coupe, the thoroughly modernized quattro concept is as stunning to look at as the original 1980s version. But it has been updated with a simply enormous front grille flanked by narrow headlights and vertical air vents that define the extreme edges of the car.
Its 2.5-liter turbo engine is based on that from the Audi TTRS, but uprated to 408 horsepower. It weighs exactly the same as its forebear, 2,866 pounds, which should help in the speed department. All-aluminium construction helps keep the vehicle svelte, countering the extra weight added by the hand-crafted carbon and leather luxury interior. The quattro concept is 4-wheel-drive — of course — using a system similar to that found in the current Audi RS5.
Rumor has it that Audi will turn this "design study" into reality if it sees enough interest during the show. As far as we're concerned you might as well contact your local dealer to make a deposit right now.
e-tron Spyder Plug-In Hybrid
The e-tron Spyder concept was also unveiled for the first time. Like the e-tron unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, this vehicle is loosely based on the automaker's celebrated R8. But, as the name suggests, it has no roof. The e-tron Spyder is also a plug-in hybrid rather than a full electric like the coupe. Electric motors drive the front wheels, while a 3.0-liter twin turbo V6 twin diesel engine sends power to the rear.
A1 1.4 TFSI & A1 e-tron
Concepts aside, Audi's main news at the 2010 Paris Motor Show is its brand-new, superhot A1. With a 1.4-liter turbo/supercharged gas engine under the hood pumping out 185 horsepower and standard S-tronic gearbox, this car looks like a much more focused sports package than the standard model.
Audi says it will sprint to 62 mph in an impressive 6.9 seconds. And if that spec sounds familiar, that's because the car is based on the same platform as the VW Polo GTI, Seat Ibiza Cupra and Skoda Fabia vRS.
While the performance model is interesting, the A1 e-tron is probably bigger news, especially for those who want a vehicle with better fuel economy and a smaller carbon footprint. Don't get excited, though: Only 20 of these machines will be built, and they will be available only in Munich, Germany. Sorry, Yanks, you won't get to buy this one.
The credentials of this "range extender" car are ambitious, with a single-rotor Wankel engine powering lithium batteries. On electric power alone the A1 e-tron will reportedly cover 31 miles in city traffic.
R8 V8 Spyder and Extreme R8 GT
It's no surprise that Audi has also turned up with an R8 Spyder powered by a V8 engine instead of the standard V10. This show seems to be all about better fuel efficiency.
But as good as the V8 is, when you've driven the V10, nothing else will do. And the R8 GT looks like it'll deliver the goods. More eye-catching on the stand, the R8 GT is Audi's take on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Lots of lightweight materials cut 220 pounds, and it has a lower, meaner look than other R8 models.
Though we couldn't hear it at the Paris Salon, the R8 GT is lots noisier, too. The V10 engine is coupled to Audi's R Tronic gearbox. Together, they motivate the GT to 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds.
With Mercedes launching its new CLS here in Paris, Audi's brand-new rival, the A7 Sportback, takes a prominent place on the automaker's stand, too. Media types were eager to see which of the German rivals has done the better job.
Editor's Note: Look for a complete review of the new A7 to appear on MSN Autos in the next few weeks.