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Detroit Auto Show: Audi Intros Pikes Peak Quattro

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Detroit January 6, 2003; This impressive study for an Audi that is typical in its suitability for several market segments, takes its name from Pikes Peak, a mountain some 4,300 meters (14,110 feet) high that rises abruptly out of the Colorado Plain of the Rocky Mountains. It can be seen from many miles away and is also called "America's Mountain".

It is a gathering place for automobile enthusiasts on account of the "Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race". Every year in June, up to 160 fearless drivers tackle this 12.4 mile (almost 21 kilometer) long run, which has straights on which 125 mph (200 km/h) can be reached but also 156 corners with loose stone surfaces, unprotected by any form of crash barrier.

Three victories have made the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race part of the successful history of Audi Motorsport. In 1985 it was won by Michele Mouton, the first woman driver ever to win a world championship rally. A year later, the legendary American race driver Bobby Unser proved to be unbeatable, and in 1987 Walter Röhrl in the Audi Sport quattro S1 scored a much-admired overall victory by conquering the Peak in the new record time of 10:47.85 minutes.

The qualities possessed by the Audi Pikes Peak quattro exhibit definite parallels with the world of rallying, that high-speed sport mostly conducted on loose-surfaced roads and tracks. However, the Audi Pikes Peak quattro for 2003 is considerably more versatile than the Audi Sport quattro that was so successful 15 years ago.

The Audi Pikes Peak quattro is a crossover model. It possesses typical qualities from a number of different automobile categories. From the luxury sport sedan it adopts dynamism and comfort, but its off-road competence comes from its variable-height adaptive air suspension and quattro driveline. This is not all: the Audi Pikes Peak quattro is equally convincing with its innovative seating concept with variable elements as used in luxury vans.

PAX wheels of size 295/770 R 560 A (equivalent to a visible wheel diameter of 20.6 inches) help to keep the vehicle controllable if there is a sudden loss of tire pressure. Their 'run-flat' construction means that mobility is maintained if a tire failure should occur, and the vehicle can be driven for up to 125 miles (200 kilometers) at speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h).

The harmony of the overall concept adopted for the interior creates strong links with the sporty, emotive exterior styling. With fine materials and flawless workmanship, the interior provides a new and most agreeable travel experience. Matt-brushed aluminum and Japanese "Tamo" ashwood trim elements give it sporty and technical, but also natural, welcoming accents. A glass roof offers the occupants a panoramic view and a sense of space and light.

Dynamic but visually restrained, the fascia is framed and supported visually by the doors.

The clear outlines featured in the driver's area are emphasized by a raised center console that adds to the dignified, sporty impression created by the entire interior. A novel type of display using 3D laser optics makes the instruments brilliantly legible even when vision is otherwise poor.

The multifunctional leather-covered sport steering wheel is of three-spoke design, with tiptronic transmission shift paddles behind it. The driver can select the chosen gear without having to take a hand off the steering wheel.

For optimized occupant protection, two neatly housed additional "out of position" cameras identify the front passenger's seated position and modify triggering of the airbag appropriately.

The gear shift gate and the Audi-MMI unit (Multi Media Interface) are located conveniently and ergonomically for the driver.

All the centrally located controls have polished aluminum surrounds and clear-glass covers to add visual impact to the interior.

The front center console is arranged like a bridge from the fascia to the rear end of the front seats. Between the individual second-row seats there is a second, retractable center console that emphasizes the functional character of the Audi Pikes Peak quattro. It contains controls for the infotainment electronics and another cold-store compartment, shelf space and cup holders.

The caribou beige decor chosen for the interior harmonizes well with the green color of various elements. The boldly contoured seats, for example, are upholstered in high-quality caribou-color nappa leather, the backs of the seat shells with Yukon green leather.

Reaching a strong conclusion: rear-end design

For easy loading, the tailgate of the Audi Pikes Peak quattro extends into the rear side panels; it is opened and closed electrically by remote control. Hand baggage can be placed in the load area through the rear window, which opens separately.

The twin pairs of exhaust tailpipes integrated into the rear bumper add visual harmony and deliver an agreeable, impressive sound.

Eight-cylinder, 500 hp engine with twin turbochargers and direct gasoline injection

Well known from the Audi RS 6, the V8 engine with twin turbochargers has been further developed and now has a power output of 500 hp. A decisive factor in this power hike is the advanced FSI direct gasoline injection principle, which indicated that new standards were about to be set when it was used on the competition cars that scored historic victories in the 2001 and 2002 Le Mans 24-Hour races and in the American Le Mans Series. Powerful FSI engines are already in production for the Audi A2 and A4 models.

In the Audi Pikes Peak quattro the eight-cylinder twin-turbo FSI engine is notable for its free revving and vigorous pulling power at all engine speeds. It accelerates the Audi Pikes Peak quattro from 0 to 100 km/h in only 5.0 seconds (0 - 60 mph in 4.7 sec) and takes it on to a governed top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Its maximum torque of 630 Newton-meters is available from as low an engine speed as 2000 rpm upwards and remains constant over a broad speed range. This supreme, massive pulling power is ideal for fast cross-country driving and for negotiating off-road sections of the journey.

Adaptive air suspension

A special feature of the Audi Pikes Peak quattro is its variable-height adaptive air suspension. This Audi system makes the Pikes Peak quattro into a most impressive all-rounder. Ample ground clearance - up to 11 inches (280 millimeters) for crossing rough terrain - can be preselected at the MMI; at high speeds, the body can be lowered so that its center of gravity is lower and its aerodynamics are optimized.

As road speed increases, the suspension is lowered and the shock absorber settings varied automatically, so that optimum dynamic stability is assured.

Audi is systematically exploring new paths

The concept chosen for the Audi Pikes Peak quattro unites the most varied demands that can be made of an automobile: it is a sedan with abundant sporty style, suitable for serious travel purposes, it is powerful off-road transport and it is a stimulating leisure vehicle with a versatile interior layout for passengers and loads.

The Pikes Peak quattro is further evidence of Audi's proverbial technological lead as expressed in its slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik". Audi is systematically exploring new paths: quattro, TDI, FSI and Audi Space Frame are just some of the examples of its pioneering technical achievements.

When developing new vehicle concepts, Audi deliberately goes beyond conventional limits. Short-lived fashion trends are not the objective - Audi's aim is to establish new milestones. The Audi Pikes Peak quattro is yet another example of this.

2003-01-06 Please quote if You use this news article!