High power output, maximum torque, refinement and a fascinating sound - these are the basic characteristics of a perfect GT engine, with a fascination that lies both in its potent performance and its everyday usability. The 5.0-litre `biturbo' V10 has these features plus the `bite' that comes from ample torque in all engine speed ranges and a willingness to run up to high speeds that is second to none.
This engine is a new design, capable of mobilising an impressive 441 kilowatts of power (600 bhp). FSI petrol direct injection, the advanced technology that is setting new standards and has already paved the way for historic victories in the 2001 and 2002 Le Mans 24-hour races and the American Le Mans Series, makes a decisive contribution to the engine's performance.
Among the most impressive features of the Audi Nuvolari quattro's ten-cylinder `biturbo' FSI engine's are its willingness to rev freely and the vigorous power flow available at all engine speeds. It accelerates the Gran Turismo from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds and on to a maximum speed that has been governed to 250 km/h. The maximum torque of 750 Nm is available at an engine speed as low as 2,000 rpm and remains constant over a broad engine-speed range. All this results in powerful, not to say supreme, forward thrust, the ideal precondition for driving long distances in a sporting style and also when storming up winding mountain passes.
quattro permanent four-wheel drive
The Nuvolari quattro transmits the power from its engine to the road via the quattro permanent four-wheel drive layout, which is still unrivalled and provides excellent traction and lateral stability while minimising the effects of the driveline on the self-steering properties. This is a precondition for the car's enormous cornering speeds and high dynamic stability. In other words: it offers maximum levels of both driving pleasure and active safety.
Driving pleasure was of course one of the main requirements that the Nuvolari's chassis designers were asked to satisfy, because apart from having a powerful engine, GTs are expected to be extremely easy to handle and responsive.
To meet these requirements, the Nuvolari quattro has an aluminium chassis with four-link front and controlled-toe trapezoidal link rear suspension, and both of these concepts lead to enthusiastic cornering ability and high steering precision. A racing-car brake system with large cross-drilled discs is appropriate to a car of this kind, and can be glimpsed through the 9-arm alloy wheels.
The adaptive air suspension - 4-corner air springs with continuous damping control - is the first system of its kind in a GT that resolves the traditionally conflicting goals of excellent handling and comfortable shock absorption on long journeys.
The lowered ride height at high speeds improves the Nuvolari quattro's aerodynamics. Three pre-defined ground clearance levels are available: normal, with a ground clearance of 100 mm; the "autobahn" level (from 160 km/h upwards) with a ground clearance of 90 mm and the raised level with a ground clearance of 110 mm, which is ideal for driving on bumpy roads up to a maximum speed of 40 km/h.
Electronic control of the adaptive air suspension allows drivers to adjust the chassis characteristics and thus the driving dynamics to suit their own preferences in three modes - Automatic, Dynamic and Lift. Depending on the selected mode and the actual speed, the system automatically adjusts the damping characteristics and the car's ride height.
Body movement efficiently suppressed
In conjunction with the electronically controlled, continuously adaptive damping system, the air suspension provides a combination of highly dynamic driving characteristics and perfect driving comfort. Body acceleration, vertical movement of the four wheels and numerous other parameters such as the actual steering angle or the accelerator and brake pedal positions all influence the optimum degree of damping that is computed for every driving situation.
If there is no need for increased damping, for example when driving straight ahead on good roads, the shock absorber settings remain in the comfort-oriented zone. Specific variation of the damping force at individual wheels eliminates body movements that could detract from the occupants' comfort.
Size 265/720 R 560 PAX wheels (which corresponds to a visible rim diameter of 20.6 inches) improve control of the vehicle in the event of tyre pressure loss and, even with a flat tyre, guarantee mobility for a distance of up to 200 km at a maximum of 80 km/h.
Radar-aided adaptive cruise control
As an extension to the standard cruise control, radar-aided adaptive cruise control makes driving much more convenient, by automatically adjusting the speed in relation to a pre-selected distance from the vehicle in front.
This makes driving easier, particularly on long country-road journeys or in nose-to-tail traffic on the "autobahn" or similar highways.
The system's sensor is nearly invisible behind the radiator grille. It emits a radar beam while the car is in motion, to measure its distance from the vehicle in front. A computer compares this difference with the previous measurement to calculate the increase or decrease in distance and if necessary varies the car's speed by operating the accelerator or brake.