Audi concept for CES 2014 mounts dual lasers

Audi issued a press release about its Quattro Laserlight concept, to be shown at CES 2014, which will uses lasers for its headlights and a powerful plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight concept car
Audi announced it would bring this new concept car to CES 2014. Audi

To highlight new technical development, including laser headlights, a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, and new cabin layout ideas, Audi will show off the Quattro Laserlight concept car during CES 2014.

This new concept is an evolution of the Audi Quattro concept , shown at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, and the Sport Quattro concept unveiled at last year's Frankfurt auto show. The body lines are similar to the previous concepts, but the new car shows off Audi's latest high-tech development.

For its namesake innovation, the Quattro Laserlight relies on laser diodes for its high-beam headlights. Audi says these diodes, while smaller than LEDs, throw light twice as far and three times as brightly. BMW announced it was working on similar laser headlight technology some years ago. The low beams will use standard LED automotive headlights.

Audi intends to use the laser headlights on its LeMans entry, the 2014 R18 E-tron Quattro.

As in the Sport Quattro, the new concept will use a plug-in hybrid drivetrain based on a 4-liter V-8 with twin turbochargers, good for 560 horsepower. An electric motor between transmission and engine mixes in its 110 kilowatts, for total system output of 700 horsepower.

Audi estimates fuel economy at 94 mpg when taking into account the car's 30-plus miles of pure electric range and cylinder deactivation technology. Yet the Quattro Laserlight also hits 62 mph in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed rated at 190 mph.

At last year's LA Auto Show, Audi showed off its production plug-in hybrid, the A3 E-tron Hatchback .

The cabin shows some innovations likely to hit future production vehicles. Audi mounts the engine start and Drive Select buttons on the steering wheel. Drive Select is an Audi feature that lets drivers select between comfort and sport settings.

The instrument cluster does away with analog gauges in favor of an LED panel powered by an Nvidia Tegra processor. Nvidia, a close partner with Audi, has demonstrated many concept virtual instrument clusters, but Audi has yet to use one on the road.

The center LCD is a mere narrow strip, rather than the large display featured in newer vehicles. The design suggests that Audi would put more information, such as turn-by-turn navigation and audio, in front of the driver, on the instrument panel or a head-up display.

The evolution of this Quattro concept suggests Audi is simply using it as a show car to demonstrate new technologies, and it will not see a production version.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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