Audi presents its ”Steppenwolf” project - The all-rounder
Premiere in Paris: at the Mondial de l’Automobil 2000 (28 September to 15 October) Audi will be presenting a study for on-road and demanding off-road use. Following the successful launch of the Audi allroad quattro, this concept vehicle now shows how the Audi development engineers visualise a high-performance all-rounder for the compact class. And it embodies a study which represents the consistent evolution of contemporary Audi design.
But that’s not all: the ”Steppenwolf” project – as this three-door four-seater is known – also provides evidence of the kind of ”Vorsprung durch Technik” which has long since become synonymous with the name Audi.
This study for the compact class also makes use of Audi’s quattro expertise and experience with the height-adjustable air suspension. The engineers had set themselves the following goal: the ”Steppenwolf” project should be able to master rough terrain in extreme conditions just as effortlessly as high-speed driving. It should feel equally at home in the outback as on the motorway.
The free-revving 3.2-litre V6 engine developing 165 kW (225 bhp) allows acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in under eight seconds. Its top speed is well over 230 km/h. Its peak torque of 320 Nm is available across a wide speed range.
The quattro permanent four-wheel drive system ensures maximum traction and excellent directional stability in all conditions and in all types of terrain. The electronically controlled Haldex clutch distributes power between the front and rear wheels.
If the front wheels slip, part of the torque is put to the road smoothly via the rear wheels as required. In addition, the Electronic Differential Lock EDL distributes torque between the wheels on one axle. And the Electronic Stability Program ESP helps the driver remain in control if confronted with potentially critical driving situations at the limit.
One of the special features of the ”Steppenwolf” project is its 4-level air suspension with an adjustment range of 60 millimetres. This groundbreaking Audi system qualifies the compact three-door model as an all-rounder in a class of its own: ample ground clearance of up to 223 millimetres for difficult terrain is just as feasible as a low centre of gravity and optimum aerodynamics at high speed.
Audi development engineers have come up with an innovative solution for the parking brake, which acts on the rear brake discs. An electronically controlled electrohydraulic system performs the function of the conventional, manually activated handbrake.
The body of the ”Steppenwolf” project interprets contemporary Audi design in its own new way. Sports character and elegance, functionality and geometric precision are its most important traits. Wide, clearly contoured lines and large, pure surfaces combine to produce an architecture in which calm and tension are equally present. No superfluous swage lines or curves upset this visual clarity. Function and form become one, aerodynamics and aesthetics come together to produce an unmistakable synthesis.
The ”Steppenwolf” is an all-rounder. Just like its legendary ancestors, the Audi quattro and Sport quattro, it offers the technology of a full-blooded sports car – on both asphalt and gravel tracks. It unites the indisputable authenticity of a driving machine with the advanced elegance of Audi design. A car that extends horizons, whose potential allows experiences beyond the realms of apparent possibility. A precision tool for the way through even uncertain terrain.