As we get into the final month of 2014, we wanted to wrap up Audi’s news from the L.A. Auto Show. Two stories in particular deserve attention: one for how it looks to the past, and the other for how it looks to the future.
First up is new head designer Marc Lichte’s statement that the quattro project is “still alive.” In addition to being the name of the all-wheel drive system that established Audi as a world rally champion, the Ur-quattro was also the very first model that Audi used to win some of those early championships.
Utilizing a driving technology so effective that it would eventually be banned as an unfair advantage, the Ur-quattro is a legend for design, style, ruthlessness and of course all-wheel drive rally racing. In 2010 Audi showed an RS 5-based quattro concept, and in 2013 it showed a hybrid Sport quattro concept. With the installation of Lichte, some had wondered if the revival of the quattro was still a priority.Sport quattro Concept
Our second story, which could be related, concerns Audi’s plans to challenge Tesla in the electric vehicle segment. Tesla builds high-end electric cars that feel like luxury cars, and has plans for an SUV and entry-level sedan to support its luxury sedan. Audi said in Los Angeles that it is planning an electric luxury sedan with a 280-mile range “around 2017.”
In the past, Audi has also spoken of a desire to make an electric SUV, tentatively titled the Q8. For a vehicle of that size, a plug-in hybrid electric version is definitely possible. Depending on advances in battery technology in the next few years, an entirely electric model could appear, though it is less likely.
Therefore, the future of Audi looks to incorporate new drivetrain technologies through the racing lens that made Audi into what it is. Should be an exciting next couple of years.