Audi has put its Quattro concept to work on a couple of motorshow stands -- first at Paris in 2010 and then at this year's Frankfurt show in September -- but now we're seeing indications that the car is slated for production, along with the Nanuk concept.
The boss of Audi in the UK, André Konsbruck, has said the brand will launch a roll-out of top-shelf cars based on the concepts, according to Autocar. "Every concept we show has production possibilities, and these cars are no different," Konsbruck is cited as saying.
"I can see a future where we aim to deliver different, innovative premium cars that people aspire to own, such as these. They will be niche, and they will push our price ceiling, but they deliver on the brand image and build the desirability of the brand as a whole."
He reportedly indicated the Quattro and Nanuk are already being evaluated by customer testing, and a business case is being explored at Audi HQ, but indicates they will be niche -- and expensive -- models if brought to the showroom to help further raise the brand's profile.
"However popular they are, we cannot just build Audi A3s, that's clear," Konsbruck is quoted as saying. "Audi has always done special projects to drive its premium image, and cars like the Quattro and Nanuk could achieve that."
The Quattro concept in Frankfurt showed considerable further development from the one that debuted in Paris three years ago. A new hybrid drivetrain was unveiled that offers combined power outputs of 515kW and peak torque of 800Nm -- coming from the marriage of the 412kW/700Nm four-litre twin-turbo V8 from the RS6 and RS7 to a 110kW/400Nm electric motor powered by a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery.
The drivetrain also features a start-stop system and cylinder deactivation that shuts down four cylinders when load on the engine is decreased. An eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission sends drive to all four wheels through a new generation of Audi's signature quattro all-wheel drive system.
The new technology is markedly heavier, with the latest Quattro weighing in at 1850kg -- 550kg more than the first concept. However, Audi is claiming a 50km range in all-electric mode, and a 0-100km/h time as 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 306km/h.
The Nanuk may be an easier business case, as it's built on VW Group's mid-engine platform - the same one underpinning the R8 sports car and Lamborghini Gallardo. However, it still has features that can't be swept off the VW shelves and into the carryover shopping basket, including the raised suspension and special 400kW/1000Nm V10 turbodiesel engine -- which Audi says gets the Nanuk from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 305km/h.
Watch the Quattro reveal in Frankfurt.
This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott