OFTEN in the forefront of dynamic thinking, Audi has chosen the Consumer Electronics Show to unvil its latest concept, the Laserlight.
And it’s not out of place with lots of new electronic features and packing lots of power – all in a dynamic design shape.
The show takes place from January 6 to 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept is reminiscent of the classic Sport quattro of 1983 while pointing towards the future – with the latest of the brand’s technologies in plug-in hybrid drives, user control and display interfaces and lighting technology.
The coupe, a new evolutionary stage of the Sport quattro concept, painted in the colour Plasma Red, combines the power of the historic Sport quattro with emotional elegance.
In the dual headlights, a typical quattro feature, Audi is demonstrating the future of lighting technology by combining MatrixBeam LED and laser light technologies. Two low-profile trapezoidal elements are visible within the headlights – the outer one generates the low beam light using MatrixBeam LEDs and an aperture mask, while the inner element produces laser light for high-beam functionality.
The powerful laser diodes are significantly smaller than LED diodes; they are only a few microns in diameter. Illuminating the road for a distance of nearly 500 metres, the laser high-beam light has approximately twice the lighting range and three times the luminosity of LED high beam lights.
“The new show car demonstrates technical ‘Vorsprung’ on many levels,” says Prof Dr Ulrich Hackenberg. “On-board this car we have e-tron technology with 700 PS of power and 113mpg fuel economy; laser headlights that leave all previous systems in the dark with its higher performance as well as new display and operating systems with cutting-edge electronic performance. We are showing the future of Audi here.”
The angular, swept-back C pillars of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept car and the blisters above the wings are other design elements reminiscent of the classic Sport quattro. The broad shoulders of the body were reinterpreted and intensively sculpted to convey even greater dynamism. Throughout the car, sharp contours frame muscular surfaces – the interplay between convex and concave curvatures defines the athletic character of the coupe.
The hexagonal single-frame grille also offers an outlook on future design of the performance-focused production models. The lower section is nearly vertical, while the upper follows the contour of the bonnet; the screen insert is a typical solution from car racing. The low grille emphasises the show car’s width. Two large, vertical blades divide each of the large air inlets; their form is repeated in the creases of the bonnet. The splitter, which is made of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP), is shifted far to the front, as on a race car.
The plug-in hybrid drive gives the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept fascinating dynamic performance. Its system output is 700 PS, and its system torque is 800 Nm (590.05 lb-ft). Power flows via a modified eight-speed tiptronic to the quattro drivetrain, which features a sport differential at the rear axle. The show car’s combined fuel consumption, based on the applicable fuel economy standard, is an exemplary 113mpg – which equates to CO2 emissions of just 59 g/km.
The combustion engine is a four-litre V8 with biturbo charging; it produces 560 PS of power and 700 Nm (516.29 lb-ft) of torque. The Cylinder-on-Demand (CoD)system, which deactivates four cylinders under part load and a start-stop system make the sonorous eight-cylinder engine very efficient. Located between the 4.0 TFSI and the transmission is a disc-shaped electric motor that produces 110 kW and 400 Nm (295.02 lb-ft). It draws its drive energy from a lithium-ion battery at the rear, which stores 14.1 kWh of energy – enough for up to 31 miles of all-electric driving. An Audi wallbox that is used for charging provides for optimal energy transfer.
An intelligent management system controls the interplay of engine and motor on demand. The driver can switch between three different modes. In EV mode, just the electric motor operates; its high torque propels the show car with plenty of power – even outside of the city. The active accelerator pedal indicates the transition to Hybrid mode to the driver – by a change in pedal resistance; this is done so that the driver can intentionally influence the mode selection.
The Hybrid mode aims at optimal fuel-savings in the interplay between the TFSI and the electric motor, and environmental and route data are utilised here. The driver can choose the Hold and Charge modes in the MMI to influence the operating strategy, e.g. if the driver wants to ensure that sufficient electrical energy is available for the final miles to the destination. The Audi drive select dynamic vehicle handling system offers even more control options – individual driving profiles are set up for different levels of regenerative braking.
In Sport mode, the operating strategy configures the drive system for maximum power. When the V8 and electric motor are boosting, the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept accelerates from a standstill to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and can reach a top speed of 190 mph.