Audi gets sporty with Q3 inflatable camper and 525-hp A3 concept
By C.C. Weiss
May 31, 2014
Heimplanet makes some of the most interesting inflatable tents on the market, including the three-person Cave and two-person Wedge. Its latest tent may be its most interesting of all. The model is designed to hook up directly to the Audi Q3, offering a lightweight car-camping solution.
We spent a few days covering hardcore, off-road camper gear at the Overland Expo earlier this month. Audi has a lighter, simpler design in mind for adventure camping. It is showing the "Q3 camping tent" on a special outdoor version of the crossover at this weekend's VW Wörthersee event in Austria. The inflatable tent joins a kayak rack in giving the car a sporty edge.
"With an output of 130 kW (177 hp), the Q3 2.0 TDI makes no secret of its sportiness, yet feels at home on any kind of road thanks to such standard equipment as an electromechanical parking brake and the hill-start assist," Audi explains of its decision to use the Q3 as the base car.
Heimplanet designed the inflatable tent to fit the Q3. The tent can be secured to the open rear hatch of the car, creating an extended car/tent space, or set up as a freestanding unit. Audi says that it takes about seven minutes to set up from bag to fully inflated tent. The tent's structure can stand up to 43.5 mph (70 km/h) winds.
Some observers are comparing the tent to the one on the notorious Pontiac Aztec, but we've seen a few car-tent designs more recently. The Tipoo tent is a car-affixed tent that expands the sleeping capacity of the Yatoo camper-in-a-box system, while the Habitent makes a camper out of an unlikely base vehicle: the Toyota Prius.
The Q3 camper is one of several concepts that Audi is showing at Wörthersee. The headliner is the A3 clubsport quattro concept. Based on the S3 sedan, the car's 2.5-liter five-cylinder TFSI engine is cranked up to 525 hp – that's 211.7 hp per liter, 6.4 lb (2.9 kg)/hp. A series of modifications, including a larger turbocharger, modified intercooler and redesigned intake and exhaust systems, contribute to the power boost, which also comes with 443 lb-ft of torque available between 2,300 and 6,000 rpm. The A3 clubsport quattro shoots to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.6 seconds before reaching a top speed over 192 mph (310 km/h). A launch control system and electronic stabilization help drivers effectively hone all that output.
The quattro AWD system has been fortified to handle the increased amounts of torque of the clubsport engine tune. The multi-plate clutch on the rear axle is designed to divert part of the torque from the front to rear when the driver is engaged in quick cornering.
The car rides on McPherson front and four-link rear suspension. Retuned, driver-adjustable suspension settings lower the A3 clubsport quattro by 10 mm (.4 in) and package extra taut springs and dampers, adding to the car's sporty ride.
When it's time to bring the 525 ponies to rest, the A3 clubsport quattro relies on the four carbon fiber-ceramic disc brakes peeking out from behind the 21-in wheels rolled in 275/25 R21 tires. The concept also has an air brake system that deploys at higher speeds. The rear spoiler flips to near-vertical position to assist the disc brakes, with Audi claiming that the system decreases stopping distance by close to 40 feet (12 m) when used at 155 mph (250 km/h).
"The Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept shows our car and tuning fans at the Wörthersee just how much sporty potential there is in the A3 family and in our top‑of‑the‑line engines such as the 2.5 TFSI," explains Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development. "We have pushed the limits in every respect with this show car: power, dynamics, sound, design."
It may be based directly on the S3 sedan, but the A3 clubsport quattro distinguishes itself with some subtly altered body work. Audi has added straight side "blisters" above the front and rear wheels, broadening the car's shoulders. The Magnetic Blue body is complemented by a CFRP-underlined, matte-aluminum-framed grille, CFRP side sill trims, a round metal fuel door and smaller side mirrors. Aerodynamic treatments include the aforementioned active rear spoiler, a rear diffuser and a front splitter.
The clubsport quattro's four-person interior has bolstered front racing seats with gray piping and Sepang Blue contrast stitching. The headlining and pillars are dressed in Alcantara, and details include brushed aluminum inlays, stainless steel pedals and customized badging. The car features Audi's MMI navigation plus system.
In addition to the camper Q3 and A3 clubsport quattro, Audi is showing several previously revealed production models and concepts, along with a few other cars highlighting accessories. The greater Wörthersee event also includes several interesting Volkswagen car and truck debuts that we'll be looking at in the near future.
You can watch the Audi A3 clubsport quattro trailer below.