Archive for the 'Detroit Auto Show' Category
Ford Flex turns heads with its distinctive design – and in 2009, the unique full-size crossover becomes even more noteworthy, thanks to an available twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine.
This all-new engine gives Flex V-8 power and performance feel with the fuel economy of a V-6.
The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 produces an estimated 355 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 350 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. In addition to the power upgrade, the 2010 EcoBoost Flex boasts segment-leading fuel economy among full-size performance crossover vehicles with 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.
The 2010 Flex has unsurpassed fuel economy in the full-size crossover segment with 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, one of a number of new Ford products delivering the best or among the best fuel economy.
“We are committed to delivering fuel economy leadership in every new vehicle,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group president of Global Product Development. “We do this with affordable technology that can be applied to the widest number of vehicles. EcoBoost is an important component of that goal.
“The beauty of EcoBoost is that it enables us to downsize for fuel efficiency, yet boost for power. We’re able to decrease the size of the available engine – such as installing a V-6 versus a V-8 – yet boost the power using turbocharging to deliver similar power and torque of that larger engine.”
The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine requires all-wheel drive and will be available on well-equipped SEL and Limited models of the 2010 Flex, packaged with several high-demand customer features.
“People who drive the Flex want to make a statement, and the new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is very much in keeping with that attitude,” said Ron Heiser, chief engineer of the Ford Flex. “We’re proud and excited to add Ford’s most advanced engine, which is the first V-6 direct-injection twin turbocharged engine produced in North America, to the Flex line.”
The addition of the EcoBoost engine builds on what already is a strong package for Flex.
“We know that there are customers who are looking for the power and performance of a traditional V-8 but are not willing to sacrifice this for fuel economy,” said Kate Pearce, Flex marketing manager. “No one else in this segment offers this level of performance and versatility, and when you wrap it up in Flex’s unique package, we believe that it will offer a compelling buy in the crossover segment.”
The EcoBoost program is part of Ford’s ongoing and wide-ranging initiative to deliver fuel-efficient powertrain systems with power and performance found in larger-displacement engines.
“EcoBoost engines offer more power and better fuel economy,” said Brett Hinds, EcoBoost design manager. “It’s all part of Ford’s strategy to bring adaptable powertrain technology to all kinds of vehicles and all kinds of lifestyles. This technology is affordable and applicable to all gasoline engines.”
Hinds said the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 will handle any tasks Ford Flex drivers ask of it. “The drivability of EcoBoost engines is superior and it just generates a lot more confidence in your Flex – it goes where you want it to go,” he said. “You’re rewarding yourself as a driver.”
The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 also will arrive in the Lincoln MKS and MKT in 2009. Although these are three very different vehicles that serve different needs for customers, the EcoBoost engine can handle the roles seamlessly and effectively. The 2010 EcoBoost V-6 MKT, for example, provides segment-leading fuel economy, exceeding the V-8-powered Audi Q7 by 4 mpg on the highway.
“A key element in our EcoBoost strategy is the efficiency we gain by employing a common control unit across a wide variety of vehicle applications,” said Craig Stephens, EcoBoost powertrain control system manager. “All the driver should notice is the seamless power delivery and terrific fuel economy.”
The key to the EcoBoost system is the harmony between the twin turbochargers and the direct injection fuel system. The turbochargers recover energy from the exhaust that otherwise would’ve been wasted and put it back in the engine to gain efficiency. Simply, the turbocharging system puts more air into the engine for more power. A compressor increases or “boosts” the pressure of the air entering the engine. An intercooler reduces the air temperature before it enters the engine.
The twin parallel turbochargers, which are water cooled and operate simultaneously, combine with a direct-injection fuel system to produce power when the driver pushes down on the gas pedal. The high-pressure fuel pump operates up to 2,175 psi – more than 35 times the norm seen in a conventional V-6 engine. The high-pressure pump is a cam-driven mechanical pump with a single piston and an electronic valve that controls how much fuel is routed into the fuel rails to the injectors.
As demands on the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine are increased, the control system responds to maintain optimal combustion, timing and injection duration.
On each stroke, six individual jets spray fuel directly into the combustion chamber, mixing with the incoming air. “By bringing the fuel injector right into the combustion chamber, there’s no delay from the time you inject the fuel to when it’s used by the engine,” Hinds said.
The fuel injectors are located on the side of the combustion chamber. When the fuel is injected into the cylinder, it evaporates and cools the air that’s been inducted into the cylinder. “Another benefit of our direct injection method is that it cools the air right where you’re going to burn it,” Hinds said. “This action both improves the breathing of the engine and minimizes knocking.”
The direct injection of fuel into the cylinder also helps provide a well-mixed air-fuel charge, increasing engine efficiency. Direct injection provides several benefits in terms of fuel burn and lower emissions.
“Because the fuel is directly introduced into the combustion chamber, you don’t get fuel wetting the combustion wall like with port fuel injection, you don’t saturate the ports and you don’t get droplets that might recombine and add to saturation,” Hinds said. “By injecting fuel directly into the combustion chamber and under high pressure, the fuel can be directed to exactly where we want it to be for a given combustion cycle.”
The spray pattern for the fuel was optimized after extensive modeling work, with the angle of how the fuel is sprayed key to the process.
“The better combustion process is a big advantage of direct injection,” Hinds said. “In a port fuel system, at key off it’s possible to have fuel on the walls of the intake port, which migrates to the top of the valve and puddles. So when you key on, you get that emissions spike. Direct injection is much cleaner from that standpoint.”
Turbo lag virtually eliminated
The simultaneous turbocharger operation paired with the direct-injection system help to virtually eliminate turbo lag, one of the main reasons turbocharger technology was not previously more widely used.
The dual-turbocharger setup has several advantages over previous turbocharging systems, including:
The turbochargers are smaller, resulting in more-compact exhaust manifolds, which don’t generate as much heat
Turbochargers are packaged adjacent to the cylinder block and have improved mounting providing NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) improvements
The dual turbochargers spool up quicker, allowing the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine to reach peak torque faster. The turbochargers spin at approximately 170,000 rpm. By comparison, the redline for the engine is approximately 6,500 rpm
“Our two turbochargers both operate identically over the speed range of the engine – one is responsible for the left bank of the engine and the other is responsible for the right bank,” Hinds said. “Both spin immediately and produce boost, even at low engine speeds.”
The turbochargers are designed for a life cycle of 150,000 miles or 10 years.
“Our testing is far, far more harsh than could be achieved in the real world,” Hinds said. “In an extreme situation, a customer might be able to hit peak power for about 10 seconds – probably not even that much. We test at peak power for hundreds of hours to ensure we can reach our durability and reliability goals.”
The turbochargers are only about the size of an orange, but help provide a big performance advantage to customers. Hinds describes the torque response in terms of linear acceleration – power whenever you need it.
“You get peak torque across a very wide engine speed range,” he said. “It’s available when you pull away from a stoplight or pass someone on a secondary road at a comparatively low speed. You don’t need to wind up the engine to get performance out of it. It’s there all the time.”
Turbocharger “whoosh” is mitigated by electronically controlled anti-surge valves, which proactively relieve the boost in the intake, which can range up to 12 PSI. Precise software calibrations manage the pressures in the intake manifold.
“We control the boost to make sure that customers don’t recognize when the boost is building,” Hinds said. “As the turbochargers spool up, the electronic control system takes over. Our active wastegate control along with the throttle controls the boost and torque levels very precisely and the customer perceives a continuous delivery of torque.”
Extensive durability tests on the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine ensure it will excel in all conditions. Start-up tests, with a wide variety of fuels, were made in conditions ranging from minus 40 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Altitude testing up to 12,000 feet in Colorado also was performed.
“The direct-injection fuel system allows us some real opportunities in terms of optimizing cold start for both emissions and robustness,” Hinds said. “We have multiple injections for each combustion event, and we can essentially tune where those injections should take place to deliver the strongest start possible with the lowest emissions.”
Mated to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine is the 6-speed 6F-55 SelectShift automatic transmission, which is dedicated to the twin-turbocharger engine.
The 6F-55 transmission was developed from the successful 6F-50 transmission to specifically respond to the increased torque demands of the EcoBoost V-6 engine. Upgrades were made to the transmission’s friction material in response to the higher shift energies, and a new torque converter has been optimized for performance and fuel economy.
Additionally, the 6F-55 transmission operates more efficiently. The transmission team was able to reduce the fluid level in the transmission, which in turn reduced weight and drag torque on the system. Upgrades to the transmission’s thermal valve mean the system warms up quicker, reducing gear-spin losses.
“We’ve upgraded the gear sets to handle the increased torque,” said Joe Baum, powertrain team leader. “We’ve also adjusted the final drive ratio and matched the gear ratios to provide the optimum performance and fuel economy.
“Our final drive ratio is 2.73. With a lower final drive ratio, the engine spins lower at highway speeds, which helps save fuel. And with all the torque, the Ford Flex still delivers good low-speed launch performance.”
One harmonious system
Careful powertrain system management ensures the engine, turbochargers and transmission work together harmoniously.
Alongside the new Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder, Lamborghini will present two exclusive, highly individualized super sports cars at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. With a unique, matt-luster paint finish in matt blue and all available special equipment options, this Murciélago LP 640 and Gallardo LP 560-4 demonstrate the virtually limitless possibilities and expert craftsmanship presented through the Ad Personam individualization program by the specialists in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
“Ad Personam offers every Lamborghini customer the opportunity to acquire a completely exclusive vehicle from a unique brand – one that is perfectly in tune with their own lifestyle,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “A super sports car from Lamborghini is always a fundamental expression of the buyer’s personality. And that is why the highest levels of exclusivity are possible, right through to absolute one-of-a-kind Lamborghini vehicles.”
“Think the impossible” is the motto of the Lamborghini individualization program. Ad Personam offers a host of possibilities to bring a highly individual style to the exterior and the interior of a Lamborghini – all the way through to a Lamborghini like no other.
A unique color for a unique design
Both super sports cars presented in Detroit are such highly individualized examples– painted in matt blue, an all-new, powerful blue tone with a matt-luster finish. Dressed like this, the Murciélago and the Gallardo are elegant and refined, yet extremely powerful and dynamic. This is a unique color that fits perfectly to the unique design of a Lamborghini.
The super sports car brand from Sant’Agata Bolognese is the only auto maker to have mastered the difficult and complex craftsmanship required to work with the matt-luster paint finish. Alongside the new matt blue three more colors are permanently available in the Ad Personam program: Nero Nemesis is a matt-luster black, while the matt white is called Bianco Canopus; and Marrone Apus refers to the particularly elegant matt brown finish. In addition, Lamborghini Ad Personam offers its customers complete freedom to choose any color imaginable.
Luxuriously sporty or classically powerful
In their interiors, too, the highly individualized super sports cars presented in Detroit provide a clear example of the possibilities offered by the Ad Personam program. The base color applied to the upholstery of both vehicles is black, with color contrast supplied by fine diamond stitching in the blue of the exterior paintwork. This is applied to the seats, door trim, headliner and the steering wheel. The leather upholstery lends a luxuriously sporty look and feel to the Gallardo LP 560-4.
Furthermore, the Gallardo LP560-4 shows the finest in Nappa leather in color Nero Perseus which clads not only the seats, cockpit and door trim, but also the pillars and headliners. Further accents are provided courtesy of individual elements crafted in carbon fiber. The Callisto wheels are painted in high-gloss black, providing a contrast to the matt blue paint finish.
The Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640 is one of the most fascinating super sports cars of all time, and underscores this in Detroit with a purist interior finished in Alcantara ® with diamond stitching. Not only are the sports seats upholstered in Alcantara ®, but also the entire interior, including doors and headliner. The cockpit surround is finished in carbon fiber. The steering wheel features stitched suede and carbon fiber inlays. The high-gloss black of the Murciélago’s wheels – in Hermera design – also delivers the perfect contrast to the matt blue exterior paintwork.
An inexhaustible range
Ad Personam offers an inexhaustible range possibilities for bringing a completely unique style to the interior and exterior of every Lamborghini. The color and trim designers from Sant’Agata Bolognese have also created exceptionally exclusive equipment offerings for the entire product range. The extended leather finish, for example, enables the allure of the first-class natural product to be raised even further. Only the very finest quality leathers are used. The seats alone offer infinite possibilities through a vast range of color options for leather and Alcantara ®, two-tone contrasts, material mixes, stitching and piping in contrasting colors, as well as the diamond-stitched pattern of the seat squabs, known as Q-citura.
The exceptionally hi-tech carbon fiber material provides a hint of the racetrack, with elements such as the control panel for the air conditioning and the hand brake boasting a carbon fiber finish. Further finishing touches for personalizing the exterior include an extended range of wheel options and brake calipers in yellow and silver.
Within applicable vehicles, Lamborghini can comply with virtually any customer’s desire in vehicle individualization. The boundaries are set, however, by Lamborghini’s own quality demands, which apply to all modifications carried out. When a new Lamborghini exactly meets personal expectations in terms of colors, materials and trim, then aesthetic perfection has been achieved.
Bringing a sunny beach feeling into Cobo Center on a cold day in January, Kia Motors America (KMA) arrives at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit with the Soul’ster open-air concept, a variation of the highly anticipated Soul, arriving at Kia Motors retailers this spring. With young buyers’ budgets in mind, the Soul’ster is an efficient front-drive car based on the production model Soul, recently introduced at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.
“Soul’ster delivers something new, intriguing and relevant to today’s buyers – a fun, affordable convertible for active people who like to share good times with friends,” said Tom Kearns, chief designer, KMA. “Defying categorization and providing utility and practicality, the Soul’ster exhibits distinctive design cues and satisfies multiple consumer needs.”
Stylin’ Soul’r Yellow Design
A two-door concept with roadster roots, the brightly colored Soul’r yellow Soul’ster projects a hip industrial look with screw borders, reminiscent of a rivet design found on a fighter jet. The windshield is shortened for a sportier and hunkered down appearance. A two-piece top enables passengers to expose the front and back seating areas independently, using elbow-grease technology. The roll bar serves a dual purpose and includes a place for the slider tracks, while providing protection not found in traditional convertibles.
With a unique face, Soul’ster has a tough but refined character. The toughness is expressed through details like the anodized skid-pad insert, which matches the fender vents, roll bar header and wheels.
Soul’ster’s attitude incorporates lighting that shines through with an amber glow under the headlamps. The side vents, side-mirror turn signals, unique LED headlamps, fog and tail lamps incorporate blue shades.
The energetic, distinctive look carries from front to rear with dual chrome exhaust and polished aluminum exhaust tips featuring carbon-fiber interior sleeves. The large 19-inch, five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels perfect the Soul’ster’s appearance. Regardless of Soul’ster being viewed from front, back or side, it offers innovative perspectives derived from the original Soul.
Once inside, Soul’ster takes even more progressive variations from Soul beginning with the new four-passenger seating design, a diversion from Soul’s five-passenger arrangement, lending spacious versatility for long summer weekends. The surprisingly flexible Soul’ster provides real seating for two in the front with comfortable seating for two more adults in the back. Fold-flat passenger and rear seats combined with ample headroom make this the perfect car for social outings outdoors and on the beach with friends. Making basic features hot, its crank-up windows are a purposefully key interior design element as are the dashboard-integrated audio speakers.
Adding to the edgy design scheme, the non-floor-mounted cantilevered seats project the illusion of being suspended in space when viewed from the side allowing for increased rear legroom. Storage compartments below each of the fold-flat rear seats, offer room for myriad cargo needs. In addition to the spacious cargo area, dual storage compartments also can be found in the rear and underneath the cargo hold area.
All Revved Up
With young buyers in mind, Soul’ster offers an agile, smooth and spirited ride. As with its Soul cousin, Soul’ster’s can be made available with a myriad of engine choices depending upon each market’s needs. A 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which produces approximately 120 horsepower. For those looking for a little more power, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available with either the five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, producing approximately 140 horsepower. Fuel economy for both engines is estimated at 30 or more miles per gallon. Other markets might choose the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 124 horsepower or a 1.6-liter turbodiesel.
2009 Product Line
Kia Motors America offers a dynamic and diverse product line of 11 vehicles to meet the needs of all lifestyles. The 2009 vehicle line features the functional Rondo CUV and award-winning Sedona minivan along with a wide variety of popular passenger cars, including the refined Amanti full size sedan, purposeful Optima mid size sedan, versatile and compact Spectra and Spectra5, and sporty yet fuel efficient Rio and Rio5 subcompacts. The vehicle line also features the all-new and affordably luxurious Borrego, rugged Sorento and value-packed Sportage SUVs. The Soul will further complement the lineup when it arrives in dealerships this spring.
Audi is unveiling the Sportback concept show car at the 2009 North American International Automobile Show. With systematic refinements to the brand’s characteristic design elements, the five-door model offers a glimpse at the Audi’s future design vocabulary. With its pronounced coupé-like silhouette and large rear hatch, the 4.95 m long (16.24 ft), 1.93 m wide (6.33 ft) and only 1.40 m high (4.59 ft) vehicle is boldly progressive for the luxury class.
The technology of the Audi Sportback concept is markedly futuristic. Power is provided by the world’s cleanest diesel technology: the 3.0-liter V6 TDI clean diesel almost completely eliminates nitrogen oxides. This engine already meets the emissions limits of all 50 U.S. states and the EU6 standard scheduled to take effect in 2014. And numerous measures to ensure top efficiency mean that the Audi Sportback concept is expected to achieve impressive fuel consumption figures of 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (39.87 US mpg).
Driving dynamics in a new guise – the idea
Since its introduction in 2004, the concept of the Sportback has established itself in the compact class. The success of the A3 Sportback has exceeded even the expectations of its makers – far more customers choose the four-door model with the large rear hatch than its three-door sibling.
But it is far more than two additional doors that sets the A3 Sportback apart from the base model. It is characterized by the sporting elegance of a coupe, the versatility of a five-door model, sophisticated technology and pronounced sportiness – driving dynamics in a new guise.
It also offers even more space and variability thanks to a tail end that is a total of 54 millimeters (2.13 in) longer that of the three-door model.
The launch of the first production Sportback marked the second time that Audi started a new trend in the automobile market. The development of the first Avant models in the seventies laid the foundation for a new class of automobiles far beyond the matter-of-fact utility of the classic station wagon. The marked accentuation of a futuristic and dynamic design, high-quality equipment and extreme variability have been the distinguishing features of every Audi Avant from the very beginning.
The Audi Sportback concept show car is now rolling up to the starting line with a dual mission: As suggested by the name, it symbolizes the Sportback principle in its purest form in the combination of elegance, sportiness and variability.
And the show car also signals the company’s determination not to limit Sportback versions to the compact segment. As previously indicated by the Audi A1 Sportback concept – the star of the 2008 Paris Motor Show – the brand with the four rings is going to dramatically expand the number of Sportback models on the market.
The design of the Audi Sportback concept is characterized by an almost monolithic clarity and a vast reduction of the number of lines. The roof, shoulder and sill lines appear to have been drawn with a single stroke. The window strip of the coupé with its four frameless doors was kept pronouncedly flat. Viewed from the side, the softly contoured wheel wells over the 10-spoke, 21-inch wheels reinforce the impression of the precisely defined surfaces of the body.
One feature familiar from the two-door Audi A5 coupé is even more boldly accentuated here: The markedly horizontal shoulder area emphasizes the orientation of the vehicle body to the road. This effect is further reinforced at the front and rear by the broad, flat LED light units. The shape of the almost fragile-looking side mirrors is inspired by the upturned tips – the “winglets” – of modern jet wings.
The show car also offers a new interpretation of the single-frame grille. The decision not to use vertical struts and the low overall height emphasize the sporty basic proportions of the vehicle front. Also particularly striking is the modified outer contour of the single-frame grille as also featured on the A1 Sportback show car. The flattened top edges lower the visual center of gravity and provide a striking look for the front end.
The aerodynamically designed air intakes under the headlights function as air deflectors which guide the required cooling air precisely into an intake duct. They have the stylistic effect of accentuating the impression of width.
The tail of the show car is also evidently related to the A5 coupé. The high top edge of the rear hatch gives rise to a strikingly clear surface below the rear lights.
The low separating edge and the horizontal lines – another characteristic feature – underscore the width and therefore the sporty nature of the Audi Sportback concept. The four tailpipes integrated into the body and an air deflector in the diffuser insert are cues borrowed from the sportscar sector.
The interior design is tidy and downright purist yet elegant at the same time. The large glass roof underscores the width and feeling of spaciousness. In the driver-oriented cockpit, the air vents, instrument cluster and retracting MMI monitor are outlined by a filigree aluminum border.
As with the exterior, the interior is characterized by the emphasis on horizontal lines and large surfaces. Especially the wide center console – stretching from the dashboard to the back – seems to be a pure expression of function.
The flat display of the MMI system is realized as a retractable system in the show car. When the ignition is activated, it extends horizontally from a slot above the central air register before moving in an elegant arc into a vertical, easy-to-read position.
The high quality of the materials and manufacturing-level fit and finish are obvious when looking around the interior of the Audi Sportback concept and when touching the surfaces. The interior trim is almost completely in leather: from the headlining, dashboard, doors and the entire seat upholstery all the way through to the trunk, with the leather stitching underscoring the vehicle’s design language. The large wood trim strips on the instrument panel, center console and doors are machined from oak blockboard and sport a delicate horizontal pattern of light and dark lines.
With its surfaces of piano lacquer and brushed aluminum, the MMI control unit also adds to the exceptional exclusivity of the interior. The attention to detail even extends to the door opener: Its shape is a nearly perfect reflection of the distinctive lines of the small rear side window – giving the interior and exterior formal unity.
Four sporty seats await the driver and passengers. The diamond-shaped stitching of the leather surface is reminiscent of a classic GT tradition. Shoulder, head and leg room are reminiscent of a premium-class touring car. With a volume of 500 liters (17.66 cubic feet), the trunk is generously sized and is also appointed with high-quality materials.
The developers at Audi chose the world’s cleanest diesel technology as the unit best befitting the Audi Sportback concept show car. The six-cylinder 3.0 TDI clean diesel is equipped with a system for the effective reduction of nitrogen oxides. The diesel engine development engineers at Audi have combined an entire package of innovative measures for this latest TDI generation: The piezo common rail system with an injection pressure of 2,000 bar, highly efficient exhaust gas recirculation and optimized turbocharging result in significantly reduced raw engine emissions. One of the highlights are the combustion chamber sensors that enable even more precise regulation of the combustion processes in the engine – this is the first time that such sensors have been installed on any engine in the world, marking yet another Audi innovation.
The status of the new-generation TDI as the definitive clean-running, high-tech diesel is sealed by the downstream exhaust emission control system, which reduces emissions by up to 90 percent. The system uses AdBlue, a biologically degradable, waterborne additive that is injected in small amounts upstream of the DeNOx catalytic converter. In addition to the catalytic converter, the exhaust emission control system comprises the metering module, the AdBlue tank and heated lines, as well as an extensive system of sensors. The additional oxidizing catalytic converter and the highly efficient, regulated diesel particulate filter round off the comprehensive emission control system.
Thanks to their extremely low emission levels, these modern direct-injection diesel engines can be put into service anywhere in the world, even in the U.S. state of California, which has the world’s most stringent emissions limits. Compared with the fleet average of the gasoline engines typically found in the U.S., the TDI boasts a fuel-efficiency advantage of up to 40 percent. The diesel technology thus makes a greater contribution than any other type of engine to reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. Audi will offer this engine in the U.S. and Europe beginning in 2009.
As in the U.S. version of the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI, the V6 also produces 165 kW (225 hp) and 550 Nm (405.66 lb-ft) of torque in the Audi Sportback concept. Power is transferred to the wheels via Audi’s most modern transmission: the new 7-speed tiptronic. The quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system ensures that the torque generated by the powerful TDI is also converted effectively into propulsion and dynamism under any conditions.
Weighing just 1,800 kilograms (3,968.32 lb) and with a drag coefficient of 0.30, the coupe will accelerate from 0 – 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in less than seven seconds and reach a top speed of 245 km/h (152.24 mph).
The Audi Sportback concept’s average fuel economy according to the European ECE standard is only 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (39.87 US mpg), and its CO2 emissions no more than 156 g/km (251.06 g/mile). These sensationally low figures for a large model have been achieved by extensive efficiency-optimizing measures.
For example, this model’s electromechanical power steering only consumes energy when the steering is turned, not when driving in a straight line.
The TDI engine features an innovative temperature management system. When the engine is warming up, part of the coolant flow is diverted – another way to improve efficiency, since it helps the engine to warm up quicker. This means significant practical savings, because many journeys are fairly short. The fuel pump also runs only when there is a demand for fuel, and therefore uses less energy.
The 7-speed S tronic transmission is a very efficient unit with a wide spread of gear ratios. For the first time, it has been equipped with transmission oil heating, so that it reaches its intended operating temperature much earlier and therefore has a lower level of internal friction.
When coasting, the Audi Sportback concept – like the Audi A4 and Audi Q5 production models – recuperates energy. This boosts the output of the alternator and is used to charge the battery. This energy, which in effect costs nothing to recover, is fed back into the vehicle’s electrical system when needed. An automatic start-stop system shuts the TDI engine down to save energy, for instance when waiting at a traffic signal.
And when it is on the move, tires optimized for low roll resistance cut fuel consumption significantly without incurring any disadvantages in the performance area.
The Audi Sportback concept show car took the basic architecture and many components of its suspension from the brand’s latest and most successful model family: the very dynamic A4/A5 model series. The dynamic suspension sets standards here, as well, combining precision and dynamism with high stability and superior poise. The suspension mountings, steering, wheels and brakes have been developed for top performance and numerous aluminum components are used to keep unsprung masses to a minimum.
The new five-link front suspension makes a major contribution to the car’s dynamic character. By moving the differential further forward and the clutch further back, the design engineers were able to reposition the front axle 154 millimeters (6.06 inches) further forward. The result is an optimal distribution of weight between the front and rear axles.
The front suspension is made up of five links per wheel – a support link and a control arm at the bottom and two control arms at the top. The fifth link – the track rod – connects the steering box and the pivot bearing. All these links are made of forged aluminum, ensuring low unsprung masses, ultra-precise wheel control and a high level of crash safety. The anti-roll bar fabricated from a high-strength tube saves additional weight. The backbone of the rear axle is a subframe with high flexural and torsional rigidity.
If sporty handling is to be combined with a high standard of ride comfort, the unsprung masses must be kept as low as possible. Audi has pursued this approach for all the rear-axle components. The upper control arms and the track rods are of forged aluminum. Their high rigidity ensures that toe and camber angles change very little when dynamic forces act on the wheels.
The CDC (continuous damping control) shock absorbers, similar to those that Audi already uses on the luxury Q7 SUV with air suspension, are twin-tube, gas-filled hydraulic units with an additional external valve and connecting pipe. Their operation can be continuously varied.
An electromagnetically energized, proportional-action valve regulates the flow of hydraulic fluid between the inner and outer damper tubes. A smaller flow cross-section makes the damping characteristic firmer, a larger one makes it softer.
The control unit applies adaptive operating characteristics within the mode the driver has chosen via Audi drive select. It adapts to match the driver’s driving style and the road conditions. Even from the comfort mode, the shock absorbers can be switched in an instant to a firm setting if desired, though not to the absolute limit. They are fitted in conjunction with sports suspension springs, which still provide a good level of ride comfort, even off-road.
The control unit selects the optimum damping force for the current driving situation, for instance firmer damping to prevent body roll and pitch when cornering fast or braking, or lower damping force where the surface under the wheels is hard and uneven.
The show car marks the first time that Audi has used electromechanical steering in a car with a longitudinal engine. Its primary advantage is that, unlike conventional power steering systems, it only consumes energy when actually steering. On average, this means a fuel saving of 0.2 liters per 100 kilometers, depending on driving conditions.
The electromechanical steering of the Audi Sportback concept also enables the coupling with the parking steering assistant for fully automatic steering when parallel parking.
The Audi Sportback concept is equipped with ceramic brakes on all four wheels for effective deceleration even under the most demanding conditions. Compared with conventional steel disks, ceramic brakes not only last four times longer, up to 300,000 kilometers (186,411 miles), but also offer high resistance to fading. The significant reduction in weight also leads to advantages in terms of comfort and handling, thanks to reduced unsprung masses.
On the front axle, 380-millimeter (14.96-inch) ceramic disks are fitted in combination with 21-inch wheels. The rear disks have a diameter of 356 millimeters (14.02 inches). The elaborate cooling duct geometry of the ventilated brake disks ensures optimal cooling of the brake disks. Firm grip on the brake disk is guaranteed at the front by 6-piston monobloc aluminum brake calipers, and at the rear by floating-caliper brakes.