Audi Raises Its Profile With Nanuk Quattro Concept


Recycling has become something of a buzz word among the environmentally conscious, and that's even filtered down to cars, which are being made more and more of recycled and recyclable materials. But this is another kind of automotive recycling — one that's far more exciting.

At the Geneva Motor Show this past March, the ItalDesign Giugiaro studio (which the Volkswagen Group acquired back in 2010) showed up with a wild concept called the Parcour. It was based on a Lamborghini Gallardo, but took a wildly different approach: rather than a low-slung sportscar, the Parcour took the form of a high-riding sports crossover, the likes of which we had never seen before. ItalDesign built a few of them, and they sure grabbed attention, but that was about the end of it. Or so we thought, until the Frankfurt Motor Show last month when Audi gave it a new lease on life. 

The German automaker put its four-ring emblem on the nose, replaced the pushrods with an adaptive air suspension, swapped out the Gallardo's 5.2-liter V10 gasoline engine for a 5.0-liter twin-turbo diesel V10 and called it the Nanuk Quattro. With a solid 544 horsepower on tap and a monstrous 738 pound-feet of torque, Audi says the Nanuk will rocket from 0-62 miles per hour in less than four seconds, all the while returning up to 30 miles per gallon.

The result, said Audi in its press release at the Frankfurt show, is “a dynamic sculpture on large wheels that opens a new chapter in the Audi design language.”

Unfortunately, as sharply as the Nanuk (and the Parcour that preceded it) catch the eye, the latest intel from the automotive industry suggests that the vehicle stands little chance of production. Which is a bit of a shame, because in the cookie-cutter market of automobiles out there, this type of original thinking could be just what Audi needs to raise the stakes.