The Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro offers a new dimension in open-top driving among the SUV field: its fabric hood lowers itself to disappear completely behind the rear seats in a spectacularly brief 17 seconds; no B-pillar and no roll-over bar obscure the view of the heavens. And for convertible fans, it offers a new dimension in spaciousness: as an SUV, the Cross Cabriolet quattro provides its occupants with copious headroom, legroom and shoulder width in addition to an off-roader’s typical height and comfortable sitting position. So when cruising along the beachfront, for instance, all four occupants can enjoy the open-air experience to the full.
The longitudinally mounted six-cylinder TDI in the Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro is the brand’s latest diesel engine. With a power output of 240 bhp and 500 Nm of torque, at this stage in its evolution the 3.0 TDI is now more efficient than ever – its average fuel consumption is a mere 7.3 litres of diesel per 100 km. The engine is also equipped with what is currently the most elaborate emissions reduction system developed for a production engine: the ultra-low emission system. This does more than just ensure that the vehicle complies with all current exhaust emissions standards worldwide. It already meets the expected limits of the EU 6 standard, which is only due to be introduced in 2014 – and does so with quattro permanent four-wheel drive and tiptronic transmission.
Spectacular – a term which sums up the visual impact of the Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro painted in „Copper Sunset“, whether the top is up or down. After all, without the hint of a compromise, the concept car combines classic Audi convertible hallmarks, such as the elegant fabric hood and aluminium A-pillar surface, with the undisguised dynamism of a sports car and the masculine presence of a genuine SUV. 4.62 m long, 1.91 m wide and with a wheelbase of 2.81 m: the Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro has the dimensions of a B-segment vehicle. The longitudinally mounted engine and the basic chassis and drivetrain architectures are taken from the inventory of modules used in the current Audi A4 and Audi A5 model lines. The SUV-style height of 1.63 m with the hood closed marks the most significant difference to these relatives of the Cross Cabriolet quattro.
Body stiffness and passive safety measure up to the typical standards of an Audi convertible. This is achieved with reinforcements to the A-pillar, the rear seat cross member and the sill area, in addition to a simple trick that exploits the extra body height of an SUV. The Cross Cabriolet quattro has a double underbody that turns the open profile of a convertible body into a closed structure, producing a major increase in stiffness. This design feature is efficient and economical in equal measure, since it replaces conventional modifications that involve numerous body components and require significantly more material, thus adding more weight. The A-pillar and the top edge of the relatively shallow windscreen have been heavily reinforced to aid roll-over protection. Two roll-over bars, normally lowered out of view, are located behind the rear seats and are preloaded by powerful springs. If the vehicle is in danger of rolling over, the sensor systém releases the spring retaining mechanism, causing the bars to shoot up within milliseconds to provide effective protection together with the A-pillars for the occupants in the interior.
The dominant element of the face-on view is the single-frame radiator grille with polished aluminium longitudinal struts, emphasising its vertical orientation – a clear signal of the concept car’s sporty character. Behind its clear-glass headlight covers, the latest lighting technology can be seen: the Cross Cabriolet quattro is the latest Audi to be equipped with full LED headlights, which also feature the characteristic strip of daytime running lights and the electronically controlled swivelling cornering light. The turn signals, brake lights and tail lights also use fast-reacting LED light units. In addition to the front and rear light units, the exterior mirrors also have integrated turn signals. In the side view, a distinct aspect of current Audi design can be seen in the shoulder line and dynamic line, which divide the vehicle body volume into a clearly defined sporty architecture. An equally characteristic feature is the proportion between the large body surface and shallow window area beneath the soft top’s sweeping roof line – the hallmark of a sports car. Within the pronounced styling of the wheel arches, the large 21-inch wheels with tyres of size 265/35 R21 send out a clear visual message and make an additional contribution to both driving pleasure and safety. The fabric hood, which lowers itself fully automatically in a Z-fold behind the rear seats at the push of a button, is a trademark of all open-top Audi models. It is a stylistic feature that makes the car recognisable as a convertible, even with the hood up, and requires considerably less space in the rear and adds less weight than a complex folding steel roof.
In terms of noise and heat insulation, the Audi A4 Cabriolet’s multi-layer fabric hood has long been found to compare very favourably with a solid roof in everyday use. The underbody guard and metal running boards are classic off-roader features. They have been given a modern interpretation on the Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro. The running boards are integrated into the sills with a seamless transition to the door opening. The underbody guard covers the whole width of the vehicle. The LED front fog lights are integrated into the front section and the rear section accommodates the two exhaust tailpipes on the left and right. Two generously sized doors provide access to the interior in typical convertible style. Thanks to the lack of a B-pillar and the easy entry front seats, rear passengers have no trouble getting in and out. The rear loading solution is a perfect synthesis of convertible design and SUV functionality. When closed, the short stepped boot lid forms a continuation of the fabric hood’s coupé line. When it opens, however, with the assistance of its gas springs, it lifts up high to provide a surprisingly large opening. At the same time, the glass rear window, which is hinged to the fabric hood, automatically lifts up too. The result is an opening to the luggage compartment that matches that of a conventional SUV equipped with an off-roader’s traditional large tailgate. The loading width is 1.16 m and the load-area width is 1.05 m. The Audi Cross Cabriolet quattro thus gives its driver the best of both worlds – the freedom and elegance of a convertible blended with the spaciousness and versatility of an SUV.