Date: Sunday, December 02, 2007 @ 15:34:28 GMT
Author: audioc
Topic: Audi Press Releases
Sun-drenched Los Angeles and snow-carpeted alpine Bavaria provided the inspiration for the Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro concept car, which made its debut on Press Day at the 2007 L.A Auto Show. Powered by the world’s cleanest diesel engine, and combining the sun worshipping potential of a classic cabriolet with the mountain-scaling agility of a quattro-equipped ‘off-roader’, the Cross Cabriolet quattro could form the basis of a future SUV model from Audi.

Deriving its fundamental chassis and drivetrain architecture from the modules used by the A5 coupe and new A4 saloon, and covering a similar ‘footprint’ on the road, the 4.62-metre long Cross Cabriolet quattro is powered by an even more efficient version of the 3.0-litre, 240PS V6 TDI engine incorporating a new ultra low emission system. Mounted longitudinally, the world’s cleanest diesel unit combines the benefits of state-of-the-art common rail injection with piezo crystal technology, exhaust gas recirculation and an exhaust after-treatment system. Using a special AdBlue additive, this new system reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90 per cent.

Clean bill of health – even in California

The result is an engine which will satisfy stringent emissions limits all over the world, even in especially rigorously controlled U.S states such as California, New York and Vermont, and which will share its technology with other units in the range from 2008 onwards. This initiative will help Audi to meet its pledge to effect a 20 per cent reduction in C02 emissions across its fleet by 2012.

As the Cross Cabriolet quattro ably demonstrates, the ultra low emission technology demands no sacrifices in performance. Through an eight-speed automatic transmission with a new lever design incorporating a gear selector ‘control wheel’, the SUV study translates 240PS and a healthy 500Nm of torque into a 0-62mph acceleration time of 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 149mph, without ruling out the potential to cover over 38mpg.

When cruising the strip, the Cross Cabriolet quattro ensures that the drinks in its heatable and coolable cup holders remain as unshaken as possible through the use of Continuous Damping Control variable shock absorbers first seen in the Q7 SUV, complementing ultra-modern five-link front and transverse link rear suspension similar to the set-up in the A4 and A5.

The Audi drive select adaptive technology that has just become available in the new A4 enables the driver of the Cross Cabriolet quattro to adjust shock absorber settings to suit the prevailing road conditions at the touch of a button, or to leave the system to adapt automatically. Under braking and in fast corners, it has a firming influence, enhancing the performance of the sports chassis which, like the configuration in the A4 and A5, is more finely balanced than ever thanks to an elongated wheelbase achieved by repositioning the front axle 154mm further forwards.

In the Cross Cabriolet quattro, the Audi drive select system automatically defaults to the ‘dynamic’ mode, which places equal emphasis on handling composure and comfort. When the ‘sport’ mode is selected, a more overtly performance and handling-biased program comes into play, with shock absorbers set to maximum firmness, throttle response further sharpened and transmission shift points moved higher up the rev range.

By contrast, the ‘efficiency’ setting majors on smooth, economical progress that brings fuel savings of well over 20 per cent compared with ‘dynamic’ mode. Here, the engine and transmission responses are moderated, the air conditioning system is automatically switched off and the parameters of the adaptive cruise control system are adjusted in favour of minimal fuel consumption. Route information gathered from the system is taken into account in determining braking distances.

Variable ride height

When the going gets tougher, the Audi drive select system automatically softens the shock absorber settings, and the electric ride height adjustment system comes into play. Capable of varying the body’s height in relation to its 21-inch wheels by up to 40mm at the touch of a button, it works by means of electric motors under each wheel’s spring plate that raise or lower the body. They do so in record time, requiring a maximum of four seconds to reach any pre-selected ride height.

In customary Audi fashion, the various ride control functions are underpinned by quattro four-wheel-drive in its latest form, which directs up to 40 per cent of drive to the front wheels and up to 60 per cent to the rear in normal conditions for the most rewarding drive possible. Manoeuvres on rough terrain are aided by the mechanical locking centre differential, which can divert up to 65 per cent of power to the front and 85 per cent to the rear when traction is in danger of being compromised.

The Cross Cabriolet quattro is not only exceptionally controllable in the rough, but also impressively rigid thanks to its innovative two-layer double floor structure, which provides the soft-top with the solid foundations of a fixed head car and eliminates the need for conventional stiffening measures that add weight.

The body’s robustness has obvious benefits on tarmac too, making cruising with the space-efficient, lightweight powered soft top stowed neatly behind the rear seats a pleasantly refined experience. During open-air cruising, even the draughts around passengers’ necks are quelled by special air vents mounted on the head restraints which compensate for turbulence.

Satellite navigation with help from Google Earth

From the four individual ‘White Stone’ leather-upholstered seats the occupants of the Cross Cabriolet quattro enjoy a quota of space that is currently unmatched by any convertible, even with the roof closed. Angled towards the driver is a high-tech dashboard containing a development of the familiar Multi Media Interface (MMI) system with futuristic satellite navigation technology using photorealistic 3D maps from Google Earth. Through internet connection, the system not only provides ‘bird’s eye’ mapping that is vastly more detailed, but also eliminates the need for manual entry of a navigation destination. The driver can simply click on an image in the Google Earth user interface and be directed to the identified destination.

The list of technological innovations also includes a Bang & Olufsen sound system with internet radio, which provides access to the many radio stations broadcasting online. Tracks played by these stations can be ‘judged’ by the user, who can give a positive or negative verdict on each at the touch of a button. This helps the system to build a picture of their preferences and to offer a bespoke play list incorporating only the tracks that match them. The internet-based system also enables CD cover illustrations and track and artist background information to be displayed.

When conversation is more important than music, the Cross Cabriolet quattro also offers an intercom facility which removes the need for raised voices, particularly when the roof is lowered. Four microphones pick up the speakers’ voices and relay them at a subtly amplified level via the audio system. Background noise is filtered out to give the most natural voice reproduction possible.

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