In celebration of the 30th birthday of the Sport quattro, Audi will present what it calls its legitimate successor at the 2013 IAA in Frankfurt, the Audi Sport quattro concept show car.

The Audi Sport quattro concept show car continues, according to Audi, the grand quattro tradition, with a coupe design and plug-in hybrid powertrain providing a total of 700 horsepower.

In Audi’s world, quattro is more than just a technology – quattro is a philosophy. Audi said the term stands for driving safety and sportiness, technical competence and a dynamic approach to life.

Since the debut of the “Ur-quattro” in 1980, Audi has sold more than five million cars with permanent all-wheel drive.

One legendary Audi classic is the Sport quattro, which made its debut at the 1983 IAA and was designed as a homologation model for the World Rally Championship. With 306 horsepower and many technical innovations, it was considered a supercar in its day.

Audi_Sport_quattro_Concept_rearqThe short wheelbase, which transformed the handling, gave the Sport quattro an unmistakable look. The competition car wrote racing history: Walter Röhrl drove it to a convincing victory in the 1987 Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, U.S.A.

In the spirit of this previous performance, the plug-in hybrid drive contributes to make the Audi Sport quattro concept a breathtakingly dynamic coupe. Total system output is 700 hp and torque stands at 590.05 pound-feet. Power is transmitted through a modified eight-speed tiptronic transmission to the quattro powertrain, which features a sport differential on the rear axle.

Audi said that according to the applicable standard, the show car consumes on average 2.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (94.09 US mpg).

The combustion engine known as 4.0 TFSI is a four-liter, twin-turbo V8. It produces by itself 560 hp and 516.29 pound-feet of torque. Cylinder on demand (COD), which deactivates four cylinders under part load, and a start-stop system contribute to the efficiency of the engine.

Located between the 4.0 TFSI gasoline engine and the transmission is a disc-shaped electric motor producing 110 kilowatt and 295.02 pound-feet of torque. Audi revealed it draws its traction energy from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery located in the rear with a capacity of 14.1 kilowatt-hour.

The Audi Sport quattro concept can cover up to 50 kilometers (31.07 miles) on electric power alone, per Audi; an intelligent management system controls the interplay between the two drives as needed, and the driver can choose between various operating modes.

A choice of three modes is available. EV mode is for purely electric driving; Hybrid mode for maximum efficiency and Sport mode for maximum performance.

In EV mode, only the electric motor is active. With a peak electric output of 110 kilowatt and 295.02 lb-ft of torque, electric driving both inside and outside the city is possible. An active accelerator indicates the transition to hybrid operation to the driver so that he/she can consciously control the switch between electric and hybrid vehicle.

In Hybrid mode, environmental and route data are used to compute the optimal use of the electric motor and combustion engine for fuel efficiency and implement this via the operating strategy. If navigation is active, the route is optimized for efficiency. This mode also includes the ability to customize the operating strategy. If the driver wants to retain a certain amount of electric range or to drive certain route segments on electric power, they can use the Hold or Charge function to precisely adjust the charge of the battery even without charging from the power grid.

In Sport mode, the operating strategy sets the drive system for maximum power and performance. The electric boost function supports the combustion engine in all driving situations. The energy management system ensures that the battery always has sufficient charge.

Audi said that when the V8 and the electric motor work together, the Audi Sport quattro concept accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds – much like the powerful Audi rally cars once did. Its top speed is 305 km/h (189.52 mph).

Audi explained the lightweight construction concept also plays a large part in this dynamic performance. The occupant cell combines ultra-high-strength steel panels and cast aluminum structural elements. The doors and fenders are made of aluminum, and the roof, the engine hood and the rear hatch are made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.

The result is a curb weight including the battery pack of 1,850 kilograms (4,078.55 pounds).

With a wheelbase of 2,784 millimeters (109.61 in), it is 4,602 millimeters (181.18 in) long; width stands at 1,964 millimeters (77.32 in), and very low at 1,386 millimeters (54.57 in).

Like the original Audi Sport quattro, the Audi Sport quattro concept was designed in the spirit of racing. For Audi, none of its design solutions are an end unto themselves.

Several of these design solutions are, per Audi, an homage to the quattro models of the early 1980s. These include the angular, flat C-pillars and the rectangular double headlights featuring Audi’s groundbreaking Matrix LED technology, which will be available by the end of this year in the refreshed Audi A8.

Two very flat structures are visible inside the headlight. The wrap-around daytime running lights together with the central low-beam units and the Audi Matrix LED make for a sporty, determined look. The headlights and tail lights are a reinterpretation of lightweight construction. The headlights forsake fascia, exposing the LED heat sinks, while the tail lights reduce glass and housing to a minimum.

The LED high-beam unit of the Audi Matrix LED headlights is comprised of numerous individual diodes. The individual LEDs, which work in tandem with upstream lenses and reflectors, always deliver excellent illumination. They are activated, deactivated or dimmed individually according to the situation. With the number of LEDs, their arrangement and the size and design of the headlights, the new technology offers many fascinating possibilities.