Preview - Audi Pikes Peak quattro.

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 14, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Peak Performer? Audi crosses over to the burgeoning SUV segment.

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    By MARK VAUGHN
    (00:01 April 14, 2003)

    This assignment ran us through the full gamut of emotions.

    First we got the call that Audi wanted us to drive a new concept car called the Pikes Peak quattro. Well, hot diggity, we thought. Audi took overall wins at Pikes Peak in 1985, ’86 and ’87 in those ultra-racy quattros with all the wings front and rear, and all that altitude-beating turbocharged horsepower. If Audi was going to make something new and call it the Pikes Peak quattro, it promised to be scary good four-wheel fun. We pictured pendulum turns and gravel spewing and started digging through the closet for the Nomex booties.

    Then they said this concept was actually a crossover vehicle with seating for six. We maintained a professional demeanor. Crossovers are what the market is demanding. Audi is aiming for 180,000 sales in the United States within three years and, along with the A3 next year and a doubling of A8 sales, a crossover will help hit that goal. Blah, blah, blah. We gave up on the booties.

    Then they said it shares components with the Porsche Cayenne platform. Hope sprung. “Well okay, then,” we said. Maximizing platform investment is important to carmakers in these economically challenging times, so naturally all the engineering that went into Porsche’s Cayenne and Volkswagen’s Touareg would be better spent if it was spread around as far as Audi. And, we thought, there are other performance-oriented SUV crossovers like the Infiniti FX45 and BMW X5 that are fun enough. You could even take them through turns quickly and with no small degree of glee. So yeah, bring on that Audi Pikes Peak quattro, we’ll make it squeal.

    They took us to a remote desert canyon road northeast of Palm Springs, where we stood looking at the Pikes Peak quattro. Then they said we couldn’t drive it, only look at it and ride in it—at 30 mph or less. It was at that point that the emotional roller coaster stopped.

    It's not just a new Audi crossover SUV. The Pikes Peak also points to a new direction in Audi styling, particularly that grille.

    Well, it certainly looked like a crossover SUV. Which is to say big—huge. It’s 10 inches longer than the Cayenne/ Touareg and almost 15 inches longer than the X5. At 4850 pounds it’s lighter than the Cayenne, and Audi said a production version would weigh even less. It looked a little like a Ford Expedition that had been to a spa. This was no allroad.

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    It had formidable SUV ground clearance (11 inches maximum); bodywork with appropriate “serious off-roader” flanges, flaps and trim (and a toothy grille set in a front end that portends Audis to come); and general proportions, shape and size somewhere between a minivan you might own now and the station wagon your parents hauled you around in back in the 1960s (or ’70s, ’40s or whenever).

    Audi’s specs make it look ready to kick the sitzplatz of any competitor. It’s powered by a 500-hp twin-turbocharged V8 that uses the same FSI (stratified fuel injection) system as the last Le Mans-winning Audi race cars. The 465 lb-ft of torque is available from 2000 rpm and Audi lists 0 to 60 mph at 4.7 seconds and top speed at an electronically limited 155 mph. It’s an engine spec sheet that would make Ed Begley Jr. cry.

    A slightly lesser engine, without the direct injection, powers the Audi RS6 (AW, July 15, 2002) and makes 450 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Since the Pikes Peak is just a show car (first seen at Detroit in January), this one may not actually match the spec sheet. Audi doesn’t want to flog this particular car because any powertrain must be thoroughly engineered before absorbing that much oomph. However, a production version of this drivetrain could hit the 500 hp and 465 lb-ft mark.

    All the horsepower is routed through a new six-speed automatic with Tiptronic made by Aisin.

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    Six speeds are nothing new; neither are Tiptronic shifters. The innovation on this one is that Audi saved space on the center console by eliminating the manually operated part of the shifter gate: If you want to shift Tiptronically you don’t move the lever down on the console, you flip the little paddles on the steering wheel—left for up and right for down. This allows more space on the console for the drink holders we Americans adore (“Enough for a Big Wendy, ja?” said project leader Josef Maier).

    After the transmission, that 465 lb-ft goes through all that Audi quattro stuff. In this case that means a Torsen center differential like the one in the A8. The locking front, center and rear diffs are from the Touareg. Any production powertrain would likely have a Torsen center differential and electronically locking front and rear diffs.

    Tires are 295/770R-560 run-flat prototypes with laser-cut profiles (Michelin run-flats display tread width, tire diameter and wheel diameter in millimeters). That 560 means the wheels are about 22 inches. Suspension is a five-link in the rear and double-wishbone in the front.

    The Pikes Peak’s adaptive air suspension is from the A8. The ride height adjusts to four different settings. At higher speeds the suspension automatically lowers.

    The Pikes Peak is packed with comfort, electronic, convenience and safety items, some of which might make it to production and some of which are just there for show. For instance, the door handles unlock when the key fob gets near them, a system seen on Corvettes and Mercedes already. But on the Pikes Peak, when you or your hand are 10 to 15 inches away, the door handle senses it and automatically swings up and away from the side of the car for your hand to grab.

    The Multi-Media Interface was developed by Audi and is in place in the new A8. It’s different from the systems in BMWs, Mercedes and even the one used by Volkswagen. It’s a little easier to use than the BMW or the Mercedes system (either that or we’re getting used to these things). This one accesses four different main menus for 32 total functions, from ride height, entertainment and air conditioning to navigation and a full-screen view provided by the two rear video cameras. Two cameras aimed forward search for the lane markers and warn the driver if the car is wandering, though this Lane Departure Warning System was not working on the car when we were in it. Still more cameras are aimed at the two people in the front seats, tracking their posture and adjusting the airbag deployment accordingly. An adaptive cruise control system uses forward-facing radar to maintain a safe following distance from cars ahead of it and gets back on the throttle when those cars finally pull out of the way. There are even laser beams where you’d expect needles to be on the speedo and tach.

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    Other things we liked inside: Both the second- and third-row seats fold flat via either seatback-mounted electrical switches or buttons in the rear hatch (convenient for grocery- and cargo-stuffing). Inside the rear hatch is another set of brake lights in case you are hauling lumber with the tailgate in the raised position.

    The sunroof is near-cabrio-litic, about an acre and a half of glass by our measure (31 square feet by Audi’s), and it added to the aviary sense of volume inside the car. Seats were comfortable enough, but the rear electrically folded seats were a little slow. When folded flat, the material on the backs of the seats had a rough burlap finish with aluminum skid bars for sliding luggage over.

    How did it all feel on the road?

    Our ride in the Pikes Peak quattro was, indeed, at under 30 mph. Project leader Maier drove. It was hard to tell that the engine made 500 hp. The door handles sometimes stayed flipped up. And the body squeaked like a tortured weasel over every little bump (“We paid not attention to the noise,” said Maier). All of which is entirely forgivable in a one-off concept car. Audi will easily get all that attended to in the production version.

    While the Pikes Peak quattro shares componentry with the Cayenne and Touareg, it was not otherwise developed by either Porsche or Volkswagen. All the work on the concept car was done by Audi in about six months. Audi has not announced the Pikes Peak will go into production, but we heard the decision to build something similar was already made before it made its debut at the Detroit show.

    It will come out in 2004 as a 2005 model. It will most likely get an Audi alpha-numeric name. We’re hoping they’ll save the name Pikes Peak for a rally car. And we’re hoping we’ll get to drive that one when it comes out.

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    ON SALE: 2004
    POWERTRAIN: 4.2-liter, 500-hp, 465-lb-ft twin-turbo V8; awd, six-speed automatic
    CURB WEIGHT: 4850 pounds
    0-60 MPH: 4.7 seconds (mfr.)

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  2. ibewill

    ibewill New Member

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  3. monkeybutt

    monkeybutt NOT full of shit...

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    holy fuck. holy fuck. ho.....ly......fu......ck.


    that might be the car to convince me to buy a goddamn suv crossover. :cool: if only the quality issues of vw don't hinder it's sales or rep (which it probably already does), i'd throw down some cash for that.
     
  4. moses

    moses OMGWTFBBQ

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    Not digging the front right now, but teh back end = :drool:

    I heart audi
     
  5. mucky

    mucky .

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    Audi's new "shield grill" is :greddy:.
     
  6. NeonWally

    NeonWally Guest

    Ugliest Audi of all tome, bar none :ugh: :wtc: Audi, what have you done?
     
  7. JustGod

    JustGod New Member

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    "Pikes Peak" :(
     
  8. POONTANG

    POONTANG skeet skeet

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    that car gives me a semi
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It looks too much like the Infiniti FX...
     
  10. i like it. very :cool: concept.
     
  11. FryingPan

    FryingPan Certified Thread Killer

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    Looks like a pissed off Touraeg. That's not a bad thing either.
     
  12. bioyuki

    bioyuki Ich habe Angst

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    First Nissan now Audi with the fugly front grilles? :ugh:

    Cool concept though, the skin needs some work though. How cool would it be if Audi managed to get the DSG to take 500lb/ft of torque and put it in that thing :o.
     
  13. kaldurak

    kaldurak Gimme some sugar baby.

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    I'd hit it.
     
  14. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    I think I saw that car in Starship Troopers. That is one fu**ing ugly ass car. :ugh2:
     
  15. T-T

    T-T Born Into Retirement

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    I believe this'll do ;)

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    Lord, you make it too easy.

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  16. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    Agreed....not the most attractive design in the world but still ten times better than that thing.
     
  17. addifan

    addifan Guest

    When I saw that in autoweek I was sad. I think the exterior is ugly!
     
  18. AsianRage

    AsianRage Know about Media Ventures?

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    LORD! THAT"S HAWT!!!! :bowdown::bowdown::bowdown::bowdown::bowdown:
     
  19. elysium

    elysium Guest

     
  20. MB300E87

    MB300E87 Active Member

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    nuvolari rules. i want that car
     

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