Audi Cross Coupe Quattro concept (Q5)

Audi has revealed the Cross Coupe Quattro -- a compact SUV concept believed to be a design preview of the forthcoming Q5. The Cross Coupe follows the recent "crossover coupe" trend, which includes such vehicles as the BMW X6, VW Concept A, and Infiniti EX.

Described as a "compact performance SUV," the Cross Coupe features a four-cylinder inline TDI engine with common-rail fuel injection, providing 204 horsepower. The sporty Audi S tronic dual-clutch gearbox executes gearshifts in a matter of milliseconds. An all-wheel-drive system with a Haldex clutch provides optimal traction.

The concept also previews a number of new technologies, including a fabric folding roof, which is opened and closed electrically. Another innovation is the MMI control panel, which is operated by a touch pad. The monitor of the system employs, for the first time, dual-view technology. The system can produce different images for the driver and front-seat passenger. These images are only visible when viewed from a specific angle.

The concept features Audi's "drive select," which enables owners to select different chassis and suspension settings. The basic setting is "dynamic" mode, which is good for a number of everyday driving conditions. "Sport" mode on the other hand gives the Cross Coupe a firmer, more agressive feel, and quicker shifts from the S tronic gearbox. "Efficiency" mode makes the engine and S tronic gearbox respond more gently to commands from the accelerator pedal and shift paddles.

Q5 connection

Exactly how the Cross Coupe relates to the forthcoming Audi Q5 crossover is not fully known. It appears to be a design preview for the crossover, but some details may change. For example, it's unlikely the production Q5 wil feature a sloping coupe-like roofline. Nearly a year ago, Audi announced it would build the Q5 as a 2008 model, following a 300 million euro investment in the Ingolstadt production facility.

"The Audi Q5 will be an overtly sporty vehicle that will add an important product to the Audi model range. The Audi Q5 will take us a big step closer to vehicle sales of 1.4 million per year, a target that we have set ourselves for 2015," chairman Martin Winterkorn said in May 2006.

Both Mercedes and Land Rover are rumored to be readying "crossover coupes" to rival the BMW X6 and Infiniti EX. A recent report by Germany's Auto Zeitung magazine said Audi would also enter this arena. The magazine said the vehicle would be called Q6, and feature a sloping roofline. Whether the Cross Coupe Concept is a preview of the Q5, Q6, or perhaps a combination of both remains to be seen.