FUTURE MODELS: Audi concept car a sign of things to come

ALL noncore Audi car development has been put on hold as the Dieselgate-hit premium vehicle maker pushes to bring its e-tron quattro concept car into production car by 2018.

While the Q2 is already developed and will be ready for the Geneva motor show in March, the Q4, the TT Offroad concept and the gorgeous TT Sportback have all been put on the back burner.

Sources insisted that the board has diverted engineering and financial resources towards bringing its all-electric e-tron quattro and hydrogen fuel-cell

h-tron quattro models to market, so much so that Audi simply doesn’t have the resources to deliver the rest.

“Everybody is of course concerned about the after effects of the diesel crisis and the thinking is that Audi has to show people we are serious about these kinds of cars. Every kind of thinking has changed since the diesel problems. We are pushing to bring zero-emission cars to market as fast as we can now, and pushing to do them right.”

While the Q4 was originally slated to be on sale this year, it is no longer a confirmed development project inside Audi, meaning it cannot be on sale before 2019 at the earliest. That’s in spite of the car reaching a very high level of development as little as a year ago.

“No, there is no confirmed programme for the Q4,” the source said. “It’s still talked about, obviously, but it’s no longer talked about urgently.”

While some have said that the Q4 was to be built off the popular Q5’s architecture, it was always being built as a coupe version of the smaller, MQB-based Q3.

It was slated to share the smaller crossover’s powertrains, right up to the quattro five-cylinder powerhouse with an RS Q4 badge.

The TT models were part of a dream by retired Audi development director Ulrich Hackenberg to create a TT family of models and design language in the Audi brand. With a coupe and convertible already on sale, there was an internal competition to deliver the third model.

While the slinky four-door sedan was the favourite of the engineering and design teams, it was the TT Offroad concept that won the favour of the finance and commercial centres of Audi.

“They are being talked about still, but again, they are not confirmed programmes. Everybody is sure the SUV will be built at some point, but not before 2019,” the source said.

Instead, the company is working feverishly to deliver the e-tron and h-tron concepts with at least the range promised at the Frankfurt and Detroit shows, respectively.

The battery-electric e-tron quattro ( the current working title of the car) has a target price of €60,000 to €65,000 in Germany, putting it in top-end A6 range on cost as well as size. Its production form for 2018 will have five seats, with 500km of range between charges and 370kW of power.

The 800Nm concept usually has 320kW available, but has an overboost function that delivers another 50kW for hard acceleration, like when it is being punched to 100km/h in a claimed 4.6 seconds.

Its top speed has been governed at 210km/h, with Audi insisting it is a precursor to a practical, luxury, guilt-free, environmentally friendly performance SUV it will bring to market in 2018. It will carry its three-motor layout into production, too, with two electric motors on the rear axle and one on the front to be used at low speeds and light acceleration.

It will use the Volkswagen Group’s new alternative fuel architecture, designed to carry batteries or hydrogen tanks instead of petrol or diesel, and has 95kWh of charge capacity.

A new generation of 150kW charger technology will give the e-tron quattro 400km of range from only half an hour of charging and upcoming 800kW chargers promise to shrink that time even further.

The 4.88m liftback is 1.93m wide but only 1.54m high, at least in concept form, and has 615l of luggage capacity.

For the range-anxious, the

h-tron quattro, due a year after the e-tron version, will delivery 600km of range and can be refilled with hydrogen in just four minutes — far less time than it usually takes to drink a petrol-station coffee.

It teases with a 200km/h top speed, a sub-seven second sprint to 100km/h and a consumption figure of about 1kg of hydrogen per 100km. It uses a 90kW electric motor on the front axle and a 140kW version on the rear, delivering 550Nm of torque.

Now we wait for more information to come from the Ingolstadt manufacturer on its plans ahead of the reveal of its Q2 at the Geneva show.

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