Audi will be showing its new Nuvolari quattro concept study, a vision of tomorrow's elegant, powerful Gran Turismo, at this year's Geneva Motor Show. It combines future Audi design philosophy and the progressive technology and dynamic road potential of a high-powered GT.
With the Nuvolari quattro, Audi's designers have created a two-door 2 + 2-seater coupé with classic GT proportions. Its lines are an evolutionary interpretation of the current repertoire of outlines typical of Audi's styling philosophy.
After the debut of the Pikes Peak quattro crossover study at the Detroit Motor Show, the Nuvolari is the second car in 2003 with which Audi shows off the future of the brand: a future notable for systematic emphasis on sporting character, highly advanced technology, unique design and emphasis on exclusiveness.Design and innovative engineering: the exterior
Gran Turismo – the term is synonymous with the ultimate high-performance, road-going long-distance sports car. Time and time again, GTs were among the most fascinating and most beautiful cars of their day. Like no other type of vehicle, a classic GT combines the aura of performance and speed with styling that derives its aesthetic appeal from technology and dynamism rendered visible to the onlooker.
Without a doubt, the Audi Nuvolari quattro, which has a Luna Silver paint finish, is such a car – this becomes clear the very first time you see it. The coupé silhouette of this 2 + 2-seater is dominated by the long engine hood and the roofline dropping smoothly towards the wide rear end. The windows are extremely shallow, emphasising the proportions of the 4.80-metre long,
1.92-metre wide and 1.41-metre high Nuvolari quattro.
The gently curved coupé roof is supported by slim A and C pillars that blend smoothly into the rising shoulders of the body.
Significant features when seen from the side are the heavily contoured, dynamic line in the sill area and the bold, slightly rising shoulder line. The latter starts at the front wheel arch and continues its curve in a wide arch that gradually flattens out. It rises discreetly towards the C pillar and descends just as smoothly behind it, thus creating a light line on the extremely curved side surfaces.
The front and rear overhangs are very short, which, together with the large 9-arm wheels in the circular wheel arches, emphasises the potent, compact body. This effect is added to by the high tail end with its remarkable stylistic uniformity; the two big, oval exhaust tailpipes provide a visual clue to the power this car's engine can provide.
In addition to this formal innovation, the evolutionary integration of current lines and shapes is waiting to be discovered: The geometry of the boot lid and the transition between the bumper and upper rear end are variations on characteristic elements of the latest generation of Audi models.
The lights, which are well wrapped round at the sides of the car, connect the side panels and the rear end and supply a new, distinct visual emphasis.New lines and a striking new face
Walter de'Silva, Head of Design for the Audi brand group, comments: 'The Nuvolari quattro outlines the direction that Audi's exterior and interior design will take. We are aware of our brand's heritage and will continue this success story in evolutionary steps.'
The synthesis of evolution and innovation is also characteristic of the Audi Nuvolari quattro's front end: the rounded shape of the front side panels toward the bumper is a deliberate reference to the lines of the Audi TT – which is, after all, one of the most successful examples of Audi's current styling.
The striking single-frame radiator grille has also evolved from the current design motif and has been arrived at by linking together the two double grille segments of the current Audi generation.
Another new feature are the slightly inclined, low-height main headlight strips on the Nuvolari quattro. They make use of an entirely new technology – super-bright high-performance light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This is where, once again, Audi's typical groundbreaking design principles and its proverbial 'Vorsprung durch Technik' combine.Revolutionary: The LED headlights
LED headlights allow the designer more freedom, since they need less installation space than conventional ones. The cooled high-end lights, 18 on each side, are located much nearer the surface of the cover, which has also been reduced in size, so that the entire front end or the car is more harmonious in its styling.
LED – these three letters not only signify progress for the designers but also offer solid advantages such as longer life and energy consumption ten times lower than that of conventional bulbs.
As if this were not enough, LED technology offers further future potential. In a future development stage, LED headlights will make dynamic cornering beams possible without the need for movable parts in the system. The width and direction of the beam can be specifically adjusted by activating more light elements electronically. More light on a dark night: adaptive LED rear lights with infrared sensors
LEDs are also used for the rear lights, brake lights and flashing turn indicators. The infrared sensors for the rear lights are revolutionary. They identify dirt on the covers and external factors such as spray or fog. The electronic control system increases the brightness steplessly in response to sensor impulses if required by outside conditions. This is an important step towards better visibility and, ultimately, a safer journey in all weather conditions.
The braking lights and flashers benefit additionally from the LED's shorter response time. Whereas it takes conventional bulbs around 200 milliseconds to reach their full brightness, LEDs need less than one millisecond.
At the rear of the car too, LEDs provide the designers with additional styling options, since they require less space.The body
The combination of systematic lightweight design and a highly rigid body is doubly important in high-powered GTs such as the Audi Nuvolari quattro – for the car's performance and also for resistance to vibration, which is a vital precondition for dynamic, comfortable driving.
The decision on how to build the body-in-white was therefore easy: the latest-generation Audi Space Frame proved to be the best concept currently available in both the weight-saving design and rigidity departments.
Like the current A8's frame architecture, the Nuvolari quattro's Audi Space Frame (ASF) consists of a combination of extruded aluminium profiles and cast parts connected tightly together, for a combination of minimum mass and maximum strength.
The proportions of the GT concept study necessitated considerable structural changes compared with the ASF used in the A8 luxury sedan. (concept carz) The best example is the wheelbase of the 2 + 2-seater Nuvolari quattro, which is more than six centimetres shorter. The front end with its characteristically dominant engine hood is longer, the rear end on the other hand looks more compact. The proportions are additionally emphasised by the short front and rear overhangs.
As is typical for a coupé, the doors have frameless windows. All four side windows can be lowered completely. A new opening technology is used: as soon as the keyless-entry transmitter in the key has unlocked the door by means of a signal, a recess opens inwards below the handles, which are normally flush with the body. The handle space is illuminated by an LED.Ambience and ergonomics: the interior
Leather and aluminium: the atmosphere in the Nuvolari quattro's interior consists of a dialogue between organic and highly technical materials. The contrasting Stromboli black and Carrara white leather elements and the cool metal surfaces add structure to the layout of the dash panel, doors, and centre console.
The four individual, heavily contoured seats with integral belts are of typical sports car design and provide ample space for the driver and passengers. The high, substantial centre console, which continued through to the rear of the interior, has also been designed according to the classic GT philosophy: the driver and front passenger will feel themselves to be almost part of the vehicle. The three-point seat belts are attached on the insides of the seats.
As an occupant protection measure, two discreetly installed cameras for the 'out of position' airbag system monitor the front passenger's seat position and vary inflation of the airbag accordingly.
The dash panel, which is covered by a semi-circular hood, combines classic GT architecture and advanced ergonomics. Two large round instrument dials – a speedometer and a rev counter – dominate the central viewing area. The centre console with the MMI display is clearly angled toward the driver.
The high centre console is extremely neat in appearance. At the front are the air-conditioning controls and telephone dialling buttons. The MMI terminal with the central control knob and surrounding function and control keys are located behind it and extremely easy to reach. This ergonomic principle set a new standard when it was introduced in the Audi A8 and was unanimously praised by the trade press.
The tiptronic gearshift lever has one shift gate. If the driver prefers to select gears manually, he or she can do so at shift paddles behind the three-spoke sports steering wheel – as in the Le Mans-winning Audi R8. The shift lever is then only used to select the P, R, and D modes.
Like the pushbutton-operated electro-mechanical parking brake, the gear shift mechanism has no mechanical connections whatsoever. In addition to the particularly tidy centre console which this provides, it opens up new potential uses for the console itself. The one in the Nuvolari can be opened to reveal an additional, easily accessible storage compartment for the driver. There is also storage space for the rear passengers' use in the rear section of the console.
Even the glove compartment is equipped with high-tech features. It is opened by fingerprint recognition ('one touch memory') rather than with a key. A sensor field the size of a stamp consisting of 65,000 electrodes scans the fingerprint and opens the lock after verification against memorised data. The advantage: whenever the owner has to let others drive the car –for example valet parking – valuables can safely be left in the glove compartment.
Surrounding light strips from the instrument panel via the side door trim to the rear are central interior design elements in the Nuvolari quattro. LEDs are again used as the light source; the illuminated surface distributes their light homogenously, lighting without glare. This lighting emphasises the elegant interior ambience while optimising the ergonomic qualities of the night-time design.Luggage travels first class, too
One of the main characteristics of a Gran Turismo is that it is ideal for long-distance travel, which is why the Nuvolari quattro's luggage compartment has a volume of 350 litres – enough even for larger suitcases and travel bags. The materials and workmanship – deep-pile carpet and brushed aluminium – are of the same high quality as in the passenger area.The powertrain
High power output, maximum torque, refinement and a fascinating sound – these are the basic characteristics of a perfect GT engine, with a fascination that lies both in its potent performance and its everyday usability. The 5.0-litre ‘biturbo' V10 has these features plus the ‘bite' that comes from ample torque in all engine speed ranges and a willingness to run up to high speeds that is second to none.
This engine is a new design, capable of mobilising an impressive 441 kilowatts of power (600 bhp). FSI petrol direct injection, the advanced technology that is setting new standards and has already paved the way for historic victories in the 2001 and 2002 Le Mans 24-hour races and the American Le Mans Series, makes a decisive contribution to the engine's performance.
Among the most impressive features of the Audi Nuvolari quattro's ten-cylinder ‘biturbo' FSI engine's are its willingness to rev freely and the vigorous power flow available at all engine speeds. It accelerates the Gran Turismo from 0 to
100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds and on to a maximum speed that has been governed to 250 km/h. The maximum torque of 750 Nm is available at an engine speed as low as 2,000 rpm and remains constant over a broad engine-speed range. All this results in powerful, not to say supreme, forward thrust, the ideal precondition for driving long distances in a sporting style and also when storming up winding mountain passes.quattro permanent four-wheel drive
The Nuvolari quattro transmits the power from its engine to the road via the quattro permanent four-wheel drive layout, which is still unrivalled and provides excellent traction and lateral stability while minimising the effects of the driveline on the self-steering properties. This is a precondition for the car's enormous cornering speeds and high dynamic stability. In other words: it offers maximum levels of both driving pleasure and active safety.The chassis
Driving pleasure was of course one of the main requirements that the Nuvolari's chassis designers were asked to satisfy, because apart from having a powerful engine, GTs are expected to be extremely easy to handle and responsive.
To meet these requirements, the Nuvolari quattro has an aluminium chassis with four-link front and controlled-toe trapezoidal link rear suspension, and both of these concepts lead to enthusiastic cornering ability and high steering precision.
A racing-car brake system with large cross-drilled discs is appropriate to a car of this kind, and can be glimpsed through the 9-arm alloy wheels.
The adaptive air suspension – 4-corner air springs with continuous damping control – is the first system of its kind in a GT that resolves the traditionally conflicting goals of excellent handling and comfortable shock absorption on long journeys.
The lowered ride height at high speeds improves the Nuvolari quattro's aerodynamics. Three pre-defined ground clearance levels are available: normal, with a ground clearance of 100 mm; the 'autobahn' level (from 160 km/h upwards) with a ground clearance of 90 mm and the raised level with a ground clearance of 110 mm, which is ideal for driving on bumpy roads up to a maximum speed of 40 km/h.
Electronic control of the adaptive air suspension allows drivers to adjust the chassis characteristics and thus the driving dynamics to suit their own preferences in three modes – Automatic, Dynamic and Lift. Depending on the selected mode and the actual speed, the system automatically adjusts the damping characteristics and the car's ride height. Body movement efficiently suppressed
In conjunction with the electronically controlled, continuously adaptive damping system, the air suspension provides a combination of highly dynamic driving characteristics and perfect driving comfort. Body acceleration, vertical movement of the four wheels and numerous other parameters such as the actual steering angle or the accelerator and brake pedal positions all influence the optimum degree of damping that is computed for every driving situation.
If there is no need for increased damping, for example when driving straight ahead on good roads, the shock absorber settings remain in the comfort-oriented zone. Specific variation of the damping force at individual wheels eliminates body movements that could detract from the occupants' comfort.
Size 265/720 R 560 PAX wheels (which corresponds to a visible rim diameter of 20.6 inches) improve control of the vehicle in the event of tyre pressure loss and, even with a flat tyre, guarantee mobility for a distance of up to 200 km at a maximum of 80 km/h.Radar-aided adaptive cruise control
As an extension to the standard cruise control, radar-aided adaptive cruise control makes driving much more convenient, by automatically adjusting the speed in relation to a pre-selected distance from the vehicle in front.
This makes driving easier, particularly on long country-road journeys or in nose-to-tail traffic on the 'autobahn' or similar highways.
The system's sensor is nearly invisible behind the radiator grille. It emits a radar beam while the car is in motion, to measure its distance from the vehicle in front. A computer compares this difference with the previous measurement to calculate the increase or decrease in distance and if necessary varies the car's speed by operating the accelerator or brake.Tazio Nuvolari – the legendary racing-car driver from Mantua
This Audi design study has been named for the legendary motor racing star Tazio Nuvolari, the last driver to win a Grand Prix in an Auto Únion car – in Belgrade on September 3, 1939.
Nuvolari was born in Mantua, Italy in 1892 and died in 1953 – 50 years ago on August 11, 2003. He wrote motor-racing history like scarcely anyone else in the first half of the last century. His trademarks were his daring, spectacular driving style and the yellow pullover that he always wore in the car.
This small, slim Italian driver started his career on two wheels: Nuvolari was a motorcyclist until 1926. After numerous victories with other cars, he switched to Auto Únion in 1938 and drove its 12-cylinder Type D mid-engined cars in Grand Prix races and hillclimbs.
He won his first race in 1938 in his home country: he was the first across the finishing line in the Italian Grand Prix held in Monza on September 11, 1938. Only a few weeks later, he won another race in Donington, England.
An event that honours Tazio Nuvolari has been taking place annually for the past twelve years in September: the Gran Premio Nuvolari, a long-distance historic car race covering a distance of approximately 850 kilometres, with the start and finish in Mantua. The main sponsors of this event, in which numerous high-calibre racing cars participate, are AÚDI AG and its Italian importer, Autogerma.
The name Audi has given to its Grand Turismo study pays homage to one of the greatest racing car drivers of all time while bringing together the Audi Nuvolari quattro's progressive technology and the history of the brand with the four intersecting rings, which, on the road and in car races, has always stood for both style and sport.Source - Audi