Audi’s new lightweight super-coupé moves a step closer to production in 2013

Audi’s radical new Quattro coupé is poised to be given the green light for limited production, according to company sources.

A single engineering prototype, based on an S5, has been built by Audi’s Quattro division. It will be sampled by members of the Audi board before the project gets the official go-ahead.

However, insiders say the Quattro now looks a certainty for launch in 2013. The lightweight, 402bhp, all-wheel-drive coupé will be based on a version of Audi’s aluminium spaceframe chassis, while its body will make extensive use of carbonfibre-reinforced plastics.

The Quattro Concept was first shown at last year’s Paris show, ostensibly as a celebration of 30 years of quattro-driven Audis, and journalists were given a taster drive of a working mock-up of the car last winter.

However, engineers at Quattro GmbH have now built a fully engineered version of the coupé, taking it to close to its final form before series production. While this prototype looks like a standard S5 coupé, it is built around an aluminium spaceframe and uses aluminium body panels. However, the bonnet and bootlid are made from carbonfibre-reinforced plastics.

Audi engineers have told Autocar that this prototype weighs 300kg less than the RS5, despite using basically the same drivetrain and running gear.

However, in its final form there will be further weight-saving measures, including a 150mm reduction in the wheelbase and a lighter interior, including seats made from forged composites and possibly dash mouldings made from hemp.

The upshot is that the production version of the Quattro should weigh as little as 1300kg, at least 225kg lighter than the R8 sports car.

Hilton Holloway

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