lb-ft @ 2000-(x) rpm
hp per liter
mph (electronically limited)
(from Audi Press
Release) Audi will be showing its new Nuvolari quattro
concept study, a vision of tomorrow’s elegant, powerful Gran Turismo,
at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. It combines future Audi
design philosophy and the progressive technology and dynamic road
potential of a high-powered GT.
With the Nuvolari quattro, Audi’s designers have created a two-door
2 + 2-seater coupé with classic GT proportions. Its lines are an
evolutionary interpretation of the current repertoire of outlines
typical of Audi’s styling philosophy.
After the debut of the Pikes Peak quattro crossover study at the
Detroit Motor Show, the Nuvolari is the second car in 2003 with
which Audi shows off the future of the brand: a future notable for
systematic emphasis on sporting character, highly advanced
technology, unique design and emphasis on exclusiveness.
Design and innovative engineering:
Gran Turismo – the term
is synonymous with the ultimate high-performance, road-going
long-distance sports car. Time and time again, GTs were among the
most fascinating and most beautiful cars of their day. Like no other
type of vehicle, a classic GT combines the aura of performance and
speed with styling that derives its aesthetic appeal from technology
and dynamism rendered visible to the onlooker.
Without a doubt, the Audi Nuvolari quattro, which has a Luna Silver
paint finish, is such a car – this becomes clear the very first time
you see it. The coupé silhouette of this 2 + 2-seater is dominated
by the long engine hood and the roofline dropping smoothly towards
the wide rear end. The windows are extremely shallow, emphasising
the proportions of the 4.80-metre long,
1.92-metre wide and 1.41-metre high Nuvolari quattro.
The gently curved coupé roof is supported by slim A and C pillars
that blend smoothly into the rising shoulders of the body.
Significant features when seen from the side are the heavily
contoured, dynamic line in the sill area and the bold, slightly
rising shoulder line. The latter starts at the front wheel arch and
continues its curve in a wide arch that gradually flattens out. It
rises discreetly towards the C pillar and descends just as smoothly
behind it, thus creating a light line on the extremely curved side
The front and rear overhangs are very short, which, together with
the large 9-arm wheels in the circular wheel arches, emphasises the
potent, compact body. This effect is added to by the high tail end
with its remarkable stylistic uniformity; the two big, oval exhaust
tailpipes provide a visual clue to the power this car’s engine can
In addition to this formal innovation, the evolutionary integration
of current lines and shapes is waiting to be discovered: The
geometry of the boot lid and the transition between the bumper and
upper rear end are variations on characteristic elements of the
latest generation of Audi models.
The lights, which are well wrapped round at the sides of the car,
connect the side panels and the rear end and supply a new, distinct
New lines and a striking new face
Walter de’Silva, Head of
Design for the Audi brand group, comments: “The Nuvolari quattro
outlines the direction that Audi’s exterior and interior design will
take. We are aware of our brand’s heritage and will continue this
success story in evolutionary steps.”
The synthesis of evolution and innovation is also characteristic of
the Audi Nuvolari quattro’s front end: the rounded shape of the
front side panels toward the bumper is a deliberate reference to the
lines of the Audi TT – which is, after all, one of the most
successful examples of Audi’s current styling.
The striking single-frame radiator grille has also evolved from the
current design motif and has been arrived at by linking together the
two double grille segments of the current Audi generation.
Another new feature are the slightly inclined, low-height main
headlight strips on the Nuvolari quattro. They make use of an
entirely new technology – super-bright high-performance
light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This is where, once again, Audi’s
typical groundbreaking design principles and its proverbial
“Vorsprung durch Technik” combine.
Revolutionary: The LED headlights
LED headlights allow the
designer more freedom, since they need less installation space than
conventional ones. The cooled high-end lights, 18 on each side, are
located much nearer the surface of the cover, which has also been
reduced in size, so that the entire front end or the car is more
harmonious in its styling.
LED – these three letters not only signify progress for the
designers but also offer solid advantages such as longer life and
energy consumption ten times lower than that of conventional bulbs.
As if this were not enough, LED technology offers further future
potential. In a future development stage, LED headlights will make
dynamic cornering beams possible without the need for movable parts
in the system. The width and direction of the beam can be
specifically adjusted by activating more light elements
More light on a dark night: adaptive LED rear lights with infrared
LEDs are also used for the rear lights, brake lights and flashing
turn indicators. The infrared sensors for the rear lights are
revolutionary. They identify dirt on the covers and external factors
such as spray or fog. The electronic control system increases the
brightness steplessly in response to sensor impulses if required by
outside conditions. This is an important step towards better
visibility and, ultimately, a safer journey in all weather
The braking lights and flashers benefit additionally from the LED’s
shorter response time. Whereas it takes conventional bulbs around
200 milliseconds to reach their full brightness, LEDs need less than
At the rear of the car too, LEDs provide the designers with
additional styling options, since they require less space.
The combination of
systematic lightweight design and a highly rigid body is doubly
important in high-powered GTs such as the Audi Nuvolari quattro –
for the car’s performance and also for resistance to vibration,
which is a vital precondition for dynamic, comfortable driving.
The decision on how to build the body-in-white was therefore easy:
the latest-generation Audi Space Frame proved to be the best concept
currently available in both the weight-saving design and rigidity
Like the current A8’s frame architecture, the Nuvolari quattro’s
Audi Space Frame (ASF) consists of a combination of extruded
aluminium profiles and cast parts connected tightly together, for a
combination of minimum mass and maximum strength.
The proportions of the GT concept study necessitated considerable
structural changes compared with the ASF used in the A8 luxury
sedan. The best example is the wheelbase of the 2 + 2-seater
Nuvolari quattro, which is more than six centimetres shorter. The
front end with its characteristically dominant engine hood is
longer, the rear end on the other hand looks more compact. The
proportions are additionally emphasised by the short front and rear
As is typical for a coupé, the doors have frameless windows. All
four side windows can be lowered completely. A new opening
technology is used: as soon as the keyless-entry transmitter in the
key has unlocked the door by means of a signal, a recess opens
inwards below the handles, which are normally flush with the body.
The handle space is illuminated by an LED.
Ambience and ergonomics: the
Leather and aluminium:
the atmosphere in the Nuvolari quattro’s interior consists of a
dialogue between organic and highly technical materials. The
contrasting Stromboli black and Carrara white leather elements and
the cool metal surfaces add structure to the layout of the dash
panel, doors, and centre console.
The four individual, heavily contoured seats with integral belts are
of typical sports car design and provide ample space for the driver
and passengers. The high, substantial centre console, which
continued through to the rear of the interior, has also been
designed according to the classic GT philosophy: the driver and
front passenger will feel themselves to be almost part of the
vehicle. The three-point seat belts are attached on the insides of
As an occupant protection measure, two discreetly installed cameras
for the “out of position” airbag system monitor the front
passenger’s seat position and vary inflation of the airbag
The dash panel, which is covered by a semi-circular hood, combines
classic GT architecture and advanced ergonomics. Two large round
instrument dials – a speedometer and a rev counter – dominate the
central viewing area. The centre console with the MMI display is
clearly angled toward the driver.
The high centre console is extremely neat in appearance. At the
front are the air-conditioning controls and telephone dialling
buttons. The MMI terminal with the central control knob and
surrounding function and control keys are located behind it and
extremely easy to reach. This ergonomic principle set a new standard
when it was introduced in the Audi A8 and was unanimously praised by
the trade press.
The tiptronic gearshift lever has one shift gate. If the driver
prefers to select gears manually, he or she can do so at shift
paddles behind the three-spoke sports steering wheel – as in the Le
Mans-winning Audi R8. The shift lever is then only used to select
the P, R, and D modes.
Like the pushbutton-operated electro-mechanical parking brake, the
gear shift mechanism has no mechanical connections whatsoever. In
addition to the particularly tidy centre console which this
provides, it opens up new potential uses for the console itself. The
one in the Nuvolari can be opened to reveal an additional, easily
accessible storage compartment for the driver. There is also storage
space for the rear passengers’ use in the rear section of the
Even the glove compartment is equipped with high-tech features. It
is opened by fingerprint recognition (“one touch memory”) rather
than with a key. A sensor field the size of a stamp consisting of
65,000 electrodes scans the fingerprint and opens the lock after
verification against memorised data. The advantage: whenever the
owner has to let others drive the car –for example valet parking –
valuables can safely be left in the glove compartment.
Surrounding light strips from the instrument panel via the side door
trim to the rear are central interior design elements in the
Nuvolari quattro. LEDs are again used as the light source; the
illuminated surface distributes their light homogenously, lighting
without glare. This lighting emphasises the elegant interior
ambience while optimising the ergonomic qualities of the night-time
Luggage travels first class, too
One of the main
characteristics of a Gran Turismo is that it is ideal for
long-distance travel, which is why the Nuvolari quattro’s luggage
compartment has a volume of 350 litres – enough even for larger
suitcases and travel bags. The materials and workmanship – deep-pile
carpet and brushed aluminium – are of the same high quality as in
the passenger area.
High power output,
maximum torque, refinement and a fascinating sound – these are the
basic characteristics of a perfect GT engine, with a fascination
that lies both in its potent performance and its everyday usability.
The 5.0-litre ‘biturbo’ V10 has these features plus the ‘bite’ that
comes from ample torque in all engine speed ranges and a willingness
to run up to high speeds that is second to none.
This engine is a new design, capable of mobilising an impressive 441
kilowatts of power (600 bhp). FSI petrol direct injection, the
advanced technology that is setting new standards and has already
paved the way for historic victories in the 2001 and 2002 Le Mans
24-hour races and the American Le Mans Series, makes a decisive
contribution to the engine’s performance.
Among the most impressive features of the Audi Nuvolari quattro’s
ten-cylinder ‘biturbo’ FSI engine’s are its willingness to rev
freely and the vigorous power flow available at all engine speeds.
It accelerates the Gran Turismo from 0 to
100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds and on to a maximum speed that has been
governed to 250 km/h. The maximum torque of 750 Nm is available at
an engine speed as low as 2,000 rpm and remains constant over a
broad engine-speed range. All this results in powerful, not to say
supreme, forward thrust, the ideal precondition for driving long
distances in a sporting style and also when storming up winding
quattro permanent four-wheel drive
The Nuvolari quattro
transmits the power from its engine to the road via the quattro
permanent four-wheel drive layout, which is still unrivalled and
provides excellent traction and lateral stability while minimising
the effects of the driveline on the self-steering properties. This
is a precondition for the car’s enormous cornering speeds and high
dynamic stability. In other words: it offers maximum levels of both
driving pleasure and active safety.
Driving pleasure was of
course one of the main requirements that the Nuvolari’s chassis
designers were asked to satisfy, because apart from having a
powerful engine, GTs are expected to be extremely easy to handle and
To meet these requirements, the Nuvolari quattro has an aluminium
chassis with four-link front and controlled-toe trapezoidal link
rear suspension, and both of these concepts lead to enthusiastic
cornering ability and high steering precision.
A racing-car brake system with large cross-drilled discs is
appropriate to a car of this kind, and can be glimpsed through the
9-arm alloy wheels.
The adaptive air suspension – 4-corner air springs with continuous
damping control – is the first system of its kind in a GT that
resolves the traditionally conflicting goals of excellent handling
and comfortable shock absorption on long journeys.
The lowered ride height at high speeds improves the Nuvolari
quattro’s aerodynamics. Three pre-defined ground clearance levels
are available: normal, with a ground clearance of 100 mm; the
“autobahn” level (from 160 km/h upwards) with a ground clearance of
90 mm and the raised level with a ground clearance of 110 mm, which
is ideal for driving on bumpy roads up to a maximum speed of 40
Electronic control of the adaptive air suspension allows drivers to
adjust the chassis characteristics and thus the driving dynamics to
suit their own preferences in three modes – Automatic, Dynamic and
Lift. Depending on the selected mode and the actual speed, the
system automatically adjusts the damping characteristics and the
car’s ride height.
Body movement efficiently
In conjunction with the
electronically controlled, continuously adaptive damping system, the
air suspension provides a combination of highly dynamic driving
characteristics and perfect driving comfort. Body acceleration,
vertical movement of the four wheels and numerous other parameters
such as the actual steering angle or the accelerator and brake pedal
positions all influence the optimum degree of damping that is
computed for every driving situation.
If there is no need for increased damping, for example when driving
straight ahead on good roads, the shock absorber settings remain in
the comfort-oriented zone. Specific variation of the damping force
at individual wheels eliminates body movements that could detract
from the occupants’ comfort.
Size 265/720 R 560 PAX wheels (which corresponds to a visible rim
diameter of 20.6 inches) improve control of the vehicle in the event
of tyre pressure loss and, even with a flat tyre, guarantee mobility
for a distance of up to 200 km at a maximum of 80 km/h.
Radar-aided adaptive cruise
As an extension to the
standard cruise control, radar-aided adaptive cruise control makes
driving much more convenient, by automatically adjusting the speed
in relation to a pre-selected distance from the vehicle in front.
This makes driving easier, particularly on long country-road
journeys or in nose-to-tail traffic on the “autobahn” or similar
The system’s sensor is nearly invisible behind the radiator grille.
It emits a radar beam while the car is in motion, to measure its
distance from the vehicle in front. A computer compares this
difference with the previous measurement to calculate the increase
or decrease in distance and if necessary varies the car’s speed by
operating the accelerator or brake.
Tazio Nuvolari – the legendary
racing-car driver from Mantua
This Audi design study
has been named for the legendary motor racing star Tazio Nuvolari,
the last driver to win a Grand Prix in an Auto Union car – in
Belgrade on September 3, 1939.
Nuvolari was born in Mantua, Italy in 1892 and died in 1953 – 50
years ago on August 11, 2003. He wrote motor-racing history like
scarcely anyone else in the first half of the last century. His
trademarks were his daring, spectacular driving style and the yellow
pullover that he always wore in the car.
This small, slim Italian driver started his career on two wheels:
Nuvolari was a motorcyclist until 1926. After numerous victories
with other cars, he switched to Auto Union in 1938 and drove its
12-cylinder Type D mid-engined cars in Grand Prix races and
He won his first race in 1938 in his home country: he was the first
across the finishing line in the Italian Grand Prix held in Monza on
September 11, 1938. Only a few weeks later, he won another race in
An event that honours Tazio Nuvolari has been taking place annually
for the past twelve years in September: the Gran Premio Nuvolari, a
long-distance historic car race covering a distance of approximately
850 kilometres, with the start and finish in Mantua. The main
sponsors of this event, in which numerous high-calibre racing cars
participate, are AUDI AG and its Italian importer, Autogerma.
The name Audi has given to its Grand Turismo study pays homage to
one of the greatest racing car drivers of all time while bringing
together the Audi Nuvolari quattro’s progressive technology and the
history of the brand with the four intersecting rings, which, on the
road and in car races, has always stood for both style and sport.