Audi has teased a number of new vehicles it plans to reveal at the Frankfurt motor show this week, including a pair of autonomous concepts, a rear-wheel drive version of its R8 supercar and the new-generation RS4 Avant.
The company has confirmed it will unveil two concept vehicles with Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous systems, the former being an SUV coupe design study and the latter a futuristic D-segment (upper-large) model (pictured above) with no conventional driver controls and an all-electric range of between 700 and 800 kilometres on a single charge - Audi says it has been designed primarily for longer journeys.
Back to the Level 4-capable SUV concept, though. In its release, Audi says the 4.9-metre-long SUV coupe is based on the Audi e-tron Sportback concept (above), featuring three electric motors and a combined power output of 370kW.
Audi's autonomous SUV show car will also feature connected vehicle technology, in addition to Audi's artificial intelligence (AI) systems to reduce the driver's workload.
The company says the driver "gains more time, more safety, more efficiency and more customisation", and thanks to the new central driver assistance controller - named zFAS - that generates an image of the vehicle's surroundings by fusing data from the array of sensors, the concept will be capable of taking over driver tasks at up to 130km/h and automatically change lanes.
Meanwhile, the Level 5 concept previews a future where occupants of the vehicle no longer have to concentrate on road traffic. The vehicle, which is yet unnamed, will showcase various ideas for future connectivity, communication and operation.
Powered by four electric motors, the new concept car has a range of between 700 and 800 kilometres, making it ideal for longer-distance journeys, while the exterior and interior designs are described by the German marque as "spectacular and groundbreaking".
Above: 2018 Audi RS4 prototype
In addition to the pair of autonomous-capable concept cars, Audi will also reveal two series-production performance models under its Audi Sport sub-brand.
While it doesn't mention the RS4 name, the company's release confirms the "fourth-generation of the high-performance Avant" since the original RS2, meaning we can expect the new A4 Avant to get the full-fat RennSport treatment.
In saying that, it appears the 'B9' Audi A4 will follow the previous-generation in being a wagon-only affair, with no mention of an RS-branded sedan.
While unconfirmed, it's logical to expect that the new RS4 will be powered by the same 331kW/600Nm 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 as the related RS5 coupe, which should see the performance wagon's 0-100km/h figure drop to around the 4.0-second mark - for reference, the RS5 manages the benchmark sprint in just 3.9 seconds.
It's also reasonable to assume the RS4 will be equipped with the same eight-speed automatic transmission as its RS5 cousin, and it's pretty much a given that quattro all-wheel drive will be included too.
The second Audi Sport reveal will be a new 'R' car that is "a limited special model with rear-wheel drive". Audi doesn't go into much detail, but it's almost certain that it is a rear-wheel-driven version of the company's R8 supercar (above).
Over the weekend Audi Sport teased the new model in a short clip on its Instagram page (below), which saw the vehicle do a couple of doughnuts through the frame.
The lack of a spoiler at the rear leads us to believe that the special model will be based on the 'standard' 397kW/540Nm R8 V10, rather than the all-out 449kW/560Nm R8 V10 Plus - which features a fixed rear wing.
If that proves to be the case, it follows a similar trend to its close relative, the Lamborghini Huracan - which is offered in less-powerful rear-wheel drive form to complement the all-wheel drive flagship.
Finally, Audi has confirmed it will reveal the new A4 Avant g-tron, a variant that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for our coverage of the Frankfurt motor show.
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