Frankfurt LIVE: Audi Sport quattro concept

The Sport quattro packs a 700-horsepower plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Following months of rumors and speculation, Audi has unveiled the Sport quattro concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The close-to-production plug-in hybrid show car was designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Sport Quattro.

The Sport quattro stretches 181 inches long, 77 inches wide and 54 inches tall, dimensions that make it as long and as tall as an A5 and roughly as wide as an A8. Its overall shape harks back to the original Sport Quattro but it blends in with members of Audi's current lineup thanks to a hexagonal grille with honeycomb inserts, angular headlights that pack the firm's new Matrix Beam technology and rectangular LED tail lamps out back. 21-inch center-locking five-spoke wheels and unpainted carbon fiber trim all around complete the muscular appearance.

With room for up to four passengers and 10.5 cubic feet of cargo, the Sport quattro's interior offers leather-upholstered bucket seats and a remarkably clean and functional dashboard. The cockpit is characterized by a fully digital instrument cluster that provides a variety of vital information about the car and its surroundings, a multi-function flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel and the lack of a color touch screen. Bare carbon fiber visible on the center console and on the door panels hint at the car's lightweight construction.

Under the hood lies a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged TFSI V8 engine that makes 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. It features Audi's cylinder on demand (COD) technology that automatically shuts off four cylinders when they are not needed, and a fuel-saving start-stop system. A disc-shaped 110-kilowatt electric motor mounted between the V8 and the model-specific eight-speed tiptronic transmission gets power from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack located next to the rear axle. The pack is topped up while driving but a full charge is obtainable by plugging the car into a wall-mounted charge box or a public charging station.

The driver can choose between one of three driving modes: EV, Hybrid and Sport. EV mode shuts down the V8 and relies solely on the electric motor, though Audi has not disclosed the car's gasoline-free driving range. Hybrid mode uses both power sources to optimize fuel mileage and Sport mode is designed to provide maximum power and performance.

In Sport mode, the two power sources generate 700 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque, enabling the 4,000-pound Sport quattro to reach 62 mph from a stop in 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 189 mph. In Hybrid mode, the coupe returns up to 94 mpg in a mixed European cycle.

Audi is keeping mum about what the future holds for the Sport quattro concept, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it produced in limited numbers in the near future in order to take on the tamer BMW i8.

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