Frankfurt auto show: Audi kicks off show with Nanuk Quattro concept

Nanuk concept brings avalanche of praise for Audi

Audi’s new Nanuk Quattro Concept

Audi’s new Nanuk Quattro Concept


Audi is bidding, once again, to make the landmark Frankfurt motor show its own personal stomping ground. We had been warned in advance of the appearance of the Sport Quattro 690bhp hybrid sports coupe, the production A3 Cabriolet and a facelifted A8 luxury saloon, but the Nanuk Quattro is both unexpected and rather exciting.

Clearly drawing on the Italdeisgn Parcour concept that was shown at Geneva (and rather ignominiously crashed at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed) the Nanuk Quattro is a mix of mid-engined supercar and Dakar Rally Raid 4x4. It’s powered by a 5.0-litre V10 turbo diesel (newly designed and not related to the similar engine that used to do service in the VW Touareg) which develops a claimed 536bhp and 1,000Nm of torque. It powers all four wheels through a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox. Audi claims some pretty serious performance figures, including a 3.8sec 0-100kmh run and just 7.8-litres per 100km fuel consumption. Of course, motor show car claims are not delivered under oath...

The ground clearance is adjustable through three height levels and there is rear-whel steering which Audi says has the same effect at low speeds as would shortening the wheelbase by 100mm. The car is supposed to be equally at home on tarmac, sand and (of course, given the name) snow.

There probably isn’t much chance of the Nanuk making it into production as it stands, but it’s clearly the direction Audi is thinking in for the replacement R8 sports car. Giorgetto Giugiaro was heavily involved in the design (Audi owns Giugiaro’s Italdesign studio) and his influence can be clearly seen in the sharp edges and the hooded headlights - very Alfa Romeo Brera. Actually, those headlights are probably the neatest design detail - four rings of LEDs mimicking the Audi badge.

So while the next R8 will probably not share the Nanuk’s off-roading prowess, or its adjustable ride height, you can probably pretty safely expect to see similarities to this concept in both the styling and drivetrain departments.