14 November 2007

Cabrio grande

Audi's convertible SUV concept lowers the roll-bar of good taste

Audi Cross Cabrio Quattro concept

Audi has introduced a sizeable dose of sun-addled West Coast excess to the LA Auto Show in the shape of the Cross Cabrio Quattro concept.

Essentially, this is the drop-top version of next year's Q5 SUV, and, while it sits on the same platform as the new A4 and A5. it reveals a penchant for chintzy tastelessness that's curiously un-Audi.

The Cross Cabriolet is powered by Audi's three-litre turbodiesel engine, which puts out 240bhp and 369lb ft of torque through an eight-speed auto'. That'll see the cabrio to 60mph in 7.2 seconds on the road, but it should be at least fairly capable off-road thanks to an adjustable ride height and quattro four-wheel drive.

Audi says the Cross Cabrio will boast ultra-low emissions thanks to a nitrous oxide-reducing liquid in the catalyst called AdBlue, which is essentially the same, erm, urine-based technology as found in Merc's Bluetec diesels.

That canvas roof folds down in a mere 17 seconds, revealing an Essex-chic white leather interior.  

You might notice that there are no roll hoops, but fear not - the Cross Cabrio isn't a recipe for decaptitation. Spring-loaded roll hoops lurk behind the front seats, ready to fire out as soon as the car starts to tip. A neat touch, and guaranteed to stop your nosy kids leaning over from the back seat. A roll hoop to the face will soon cut out that sort of behaviour.

Audi is dropping strong hints that the Cross Cabrio could enter production some time after the coupe Q5. The yummy mummies are already forming an orderly queue. 

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