Special Coverage

Greater LA Auto Show

LOS ANGELES – The Audi Cross Cabriolet concept car, unveiled here at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, hints at the design of a cross/utility vehicle destined for market in 2008, executives say.

“It’s not close to production, it just gives an idea of what the Q5 will look like,” Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America Inc. executive vice president, tells Ward’s on the show floor.

The 5-seat Audi Q5 will slot below the Q7.

Audi says the concept combines the “genes” of a dynamic soft-top convertible with the roominess of an SUV. Its fabric roof can be lowered in 17 seconds, Audi says, while its interior affords ample height, width and legroom.

It also provides plenty of ground clearance. An electric ride-height adjustment raises and lowers the vehicle’s body by 1.6 ins. (40 mm) at the touch of a button.

Audi’s signature Quattro permanent 4-wheel-drive system, an underbody guard and metal running boards round out the SUV-style features.

For added safety, the concept features two active roll bars behind the rear seats, which are activated within milliseconds should the vehicle’s onboard sensors detect a rollover situation.

The car is powered by a 3.0L V-6 TDI engine that produces 240 hp and 369 lb.-ft. (500 Nm) of torque, which sips diesel fuel at the miserly rate of 32 mpg (7.3L/ 100 km).

The ultra-low emission powertrain has a new common-rail system with piezo injectors operating at 29,000 psi (2,000 bar). It also features high-efficiency exhaust gas recirculation.

The engine gives a nod to Audi’s diesel technologies, which will enable it to bring clean direct-injection diesel engines to all 50 states beginning next year.

Inside, engineers included a unique “airscarf” function, which utilizes air vents on the head restraints to compensate for air turbulence around the occupant’s neck while open-air driving.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler says the German auto maker’s U.S. designers handled the design of the car. They made an “American statement, even a California statement,” he says.

Still, he adds: “It’s pure Audi, a real Audi.”

bpope@wardsauto.com