|ďCrossoverĒ can mean just about anything in the automotive industry. But with the Crosslane Coupe Concept, introduced here on Thursday, Audi shoehorned a remarkable number of referents into what was already something of a catch-all notion.
The Crosslane is a coupe, a convertible, a high-riding compact S.U.V., and, for good measure, a dual-mode plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid. Throw in features like a movable trunk and removable rear seats, and you have the makings of a walk-on in the next ďTransformersĒ film.
Audi says the hybrid powertrain is capable of fuel economy in excess of 200 miles per gallon, partly because of a lightweight, carbon-fiber-infused chassis and body structure. Audi said total vehicle weight was kept to 3,064 pounds, rather svelte among crossovers, by using an exotic mix of aluminum, carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer and fiberglass-reinforced polymer to create the conceptís space frame.
Looking like a potential challenger to the Land Rover Evoque, the Crosslane is powered by an equally exotic mélange of technologies. The hybrid system combines a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine, rated at 130 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, with two electric motors. The larger of the electric units produces the equivalent of 116 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and provides the only source of motive power up to 34 miles per hour. The smaller adds 68 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque and brings in an assist from the 3-cylinder engine at speeds up to 81 m.p.h. Above that, to its top speed at 113 m.p.h., the engine completely takes over.
For all those numbers, total system power averages out to a relatively lackluster 177 horsepower, Audi asserts. Still, the company says its Crosslane will sprint from a stop to 62 m.p.h. in a respectable 8.6 seconds.
The electric motor package uses a 17.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and has a range of around 53 miles in gas-free E.V. mode, Audi said.
Ergonomically, the Crosslane has a movable trunk space, which can be pushed forward to allow easy access from inside of the cabin, or it can be moved backward to open up space for two rear seats. The concept has a removable targalike top that, when stowed, serves as a cover for the cargo space.
Whether a vehicle like the Crosslane could find its way into the Audi lineup is debatable. But as automakers adjust to more stringent fuel-economy standards worldwide, the prospects of a hybrid system like this finding its way there are far stronger.