Sequels are a pretty hard thing to do, just ask any Hollywood director. But car manufacturers seem to have a good track record, and Audi are one of the best. With each generation their cars become cleverer, sleeker, and more powerful. I guess that’s what happens when you have “Vorsprung durch technik” as your company slogan.
We first saw the Prologue Concept last year at the Los Angeles Motor Show. The Prologue was meant to preview the next generation of big, posh Audis as well as introduce us to a new design language. The first Prologue Concept was a sedan, said to preview the next A6 and A8. Then earlier this year at Geneva we saw the Prologue Avant, and to those familiar with Audi’s naming scheme that meant it was a wagon. Now for the Shanghai Motor Show we have the Prologue Allroad Concept, which undoubtedly previews the next generation A6 Allroad. Interestingly each of the Prologue Concepts have been shown at a different continent, each one an important market for Audi.
Back to the Allroad and it’s basically a jacked up version of the car we saw at Geneva right? Well yes and no. Sure it’s still the same length, it’s been raised by 77mm, and looks pretty much the same except some “off-roady” bits bolted on. But where it differs is under the bonnet. The Prologue Allroad is yet another example of the pretty amazing things car manufacturers can do with hybrid technology these days.
The same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 used in many fast Audis and Bentleys is mated to an electric motor with a 14.1 kWh battery. The total output is a claimed 725 bhp/533kW and 900NM of torque. That’s more than a Lamborghini Aventador and certainly more than any other crossover. There’s no official performance figures yet, except for a claimed 0-100 km/h time of a supercar-rivalling 3.5 seconds. Don’t expect this to be a lightweight track weapon though, it should weigh somewhere in the two-tonne mark.
However, because it is a hybrid it should be capable of saving the last Northern White Rhino. If you thought those performance figures were impressive then how does a claimed fuel economy of 2.5L/100km sound? Some small hatchbacks can’t even get close to that. Yes, in reality no one ever gets closes to these claimed fuel figures but it doesn’t take away from the fact that here we have a two-tonne 4×4 with more power than a Lamborghini, can out accelerate a Ferrari California T, and uses less fuel than a Nissan Micra. Oh and it can run in pure electric mode for up to 55 kilometres too.
The chances of Audi actually putting this powertrain into production are thin. This was purely an experimental exercise to see what they could do with the technology they have. That said the Prologue Allroad does also come with wireless charging, a feature Audi are currently working to put into production. I’m sure many would agree we’d rather see a version of this hybrid set-up in production first. Anyone for a 725bhp/533kW hybrid Allroad RS?