Audi shows A4 allroad, hydrogen fuel cell concept

Audi A4 allroad. Photo credit: Ryan Beene
UPDATED: 1/11/16 3:16 pm ET - adds details

DETROIT -- Audi executives showcased a bit of the brand's near and long term future with two global debuts here at the Detroit auto show. 

Audi revealed the 2017 A4 allroad here in Detroit ahead it its U.S. launch planned for later this year -- one of the 20 vehicles that Audi AG CEO Rupert Stadler said the brand plans to launch globally this year.

Also revealed was a new hydrogen fuel cell concept crossover, dubbed the h-tron Quattro. The concept its Audi's second hydrogen fuel cell vehicle concept but its first to wear an all new body, in this case a sporty small crossover with elements seen on the e-tron Quattro concept shown at the Frankfurt show.

While Audi’s battery-electric powertrains have gotten more attention lately, the h-tron concept shows Audi is also working on fuel cells as part of its push to make clean technologies a larger part of its portfolio over the next five years.

In his remarks, Stadler said the company will launch plug-in hybrids over the next three years in the A6 sedan, A7 sedan and Q8 crossover coming in 2018. Stadler also reiterated Audi’s plans to launch a battery-electric crossover in 2018 based on its e-tron quattro concept shown in Frankfurt in September.

Stadler also said the next generation A8 flagship sedan will be the first vehicle to include Audi's Piloted Drive autonomous technology when it launches in 2017.

Audi sold a record 202,202 vehicles in the U.S. market last year, marking the first time the brand’s sales have surpassed 200,000 sales here.

The h-tron concept suggests Audi is working on hydrogen fuel cells in addition to the battery electric vehicles.

New momentum

Audi looks well positioned to continue that momentum with a loaded schedule of key product launches planned for this year, including the A4 sedan, Q7 midsize crossover, A5 coupe and R8 supercar.

Joining that lineup will be the A4 allroad quattro later this year, which Audi of America CEO Scott Keogh says gets 1.4 inches of additional ground clearance compared to the A4 Avant wagon. It also sports more rugged body cladding and Quattro all-wheel-drive. Under the Allroad’s hood is a 252-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

“It combines, really, two great advancements: off-road qualities of an SUV and the driving comfort of the Audi A4,” Keogh said.

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