Had author Thomas Wolfe lived until the 1980s, he may have been inclined to write a sequel to his classic novel “You Can’t Go Home Again” called “You Can’t Go Group B Again.” It could have served as a story with a moral for automakers like Renault, Peugeot, and Audi, who frequently evoke the imagery of rally racing’s exhilaratingly deranged Group B era. Case in point: Audi’s Sport Quattro concept, appearing at this year’s Frankfurt auto show.
But the real show-stopping details are under the hood, where Audi’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 pairs with an electric motor to deliver a total of 700 horsepower. The gasoline engine contributes 560 of those, as well as 516 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor is rated for nearly 150 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. Instead of a dual-clutch transmission, Audi has fitted the Sport Quattro concept with a version of its ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic; the powertrain features a sport differential in the rear. Top speed is estimated at more than 190 mph, and the Euro-standard 0-to-62 run is pegged at 3.7 seconds.
Now for the discomfort of reality. The V-8 features cylinder deactivation and an engine stop-start system for fuel savings. A lithium-ion battery stores enough juice for a fully charged Sport Quattro to operate in electric mode for up to 31 miles, but the driver can choose when and for how long to operate under electric power alone. With the battery pack and electric motor adding to the Sport Quattro’s mass, Audi says the total weight stands at 4079 pounds.
Was it necessary to build the Sport Quattro as a plug-in hybrid? Audi would say that the Sport Quattro concept stays true to the philosophy of the original Sport Quattro S1, the psycho rally car. That car used the most advanced technology available at the time—some of it relatively unproven—to deliver the highest performance possible. So what’s the problem?
Thanks to: Car and Driver