Audi's Shooting Brake concept car, unveiled last week at the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan, may give a hint of what the next version of the TT sports car will look like.
Sources suggest the Shooting Brake will be a third, more passenger oriented model in the TT line-up, joining the coupe and convertible. All three will share styling cues, like the bold grille.
Audi's Shooting Brake concept takes its name from a traditional British station wagon style (used as a base for game bird shooting). It calls the car a convention-challenging, technology-laden design study.
The Shooting Brake draws on styling themes as varied as the A4 DTM racing car campaigning the German Touring Car Championship, the RS Q coupe conceived for the film I, Robot, and the recently launched RS 4 quattro.
It blends hatchback and coupe characteristics in a sports car that dedicates more space than usual to passengers and to practicality.
It is fitted with Audi's new Magnetic Ride adaptive damping system that is designed to allow maximum exploitation of the 250bhp available from the 3.2-litre V6 petrol enginw. The gearbox is a close ratio six-speed manual.
The cabin is said to offer exceptional head and knee room - particularly for rear seat passengers. The load bay has a maximum capacity of 730 litres.
The futuristic interior combines a body-coloured Electric White pearl effect finish for the centre console, door handles and air vent surrounds with a high-tech synthetic material for the instrument panel, roof and door trims.
Its focal point is a new version of the Multi Media Interface operating system (MMI) featuring 3D navigation from a new touch screen monitor on to which occupants can write destinations using the tip of a finger.
The system’s character recognition function enables it to read handwriting in a wide variety of scripts, and to identify characters in the Latin and Japanese alphabets. Destinations and details can also be input via a PDA-style remote control handset.
The clock uses organic light emitting diodes (OLED) that make it substantially easier to read in adverse conditions than a conventional liquid crystal display (LCD), and enable it to show information in both analogue and digital forms.
The transversely mounted 3.2-litre V6 motor develops 250bhp at 6200rpm and 320Nm of peak torque at 2500rpm.
It can catapult the Shooting Brake Concept to 100km/h in 6.0 seconds and to a governed top speed of 250km/h. The brakes are high performance, fade-free ceramic units.
Audi has optimised weight distribution by measures that include mounting the multi-plate clutch for the standard quattro four-wheel drive system at the rear of the car.
Large 19-inch wheels with 245/40 R19 tyres are suspended by a front McPherson strut and four-link rear set-up bolstered by the Audi Magnetic Ride adaptive damping system. It helps to keep the body flat and composed under hard cornering, and replaces conventional damper fluid with a special magnetorheological fluid whose viscosity can be influenced by an electromagnetic field. This effect enables the damping characteristics to be influenced electronically by the application of a voltage to the electromagnets.
The technology enables the Audi Magnetic Ride system to set the correct damping forces for every driving situation, optimising ride comfort and balance. It's governed by computer controlled sensors that determine the prevailing driving conditions in a matter of milliseconds, but the driver can also have input through a choice of two optional driving programs - a sports setting, in which the magnetorheological fluid exhibits high viscosity, or a more comfort-biased option.
* Past station wagon-type sports cars include the Swedish Volvo P1800 estate, the British Reliant Scimitar based on the stylish Ogle 250 GT of the 1960s, and various Shooting Brake conversions of Aston Martins.