WE RECENTLY tested the Audi Prologue in the diamond-studded streets of Rodeo Drive, in Beverly Hills. The experience was slightly nerve-racking: being an invaluable concept car, the large and luxurious four-seat coupé was under armed guard, and onlookers crowded on every street corner.
It was the second of a three-car Prologue family, following an estate (the Avant). Now Audi has revealed the final member: the Prologue allroad.
Revealed at the Shanghai motor show last week, the allroad is a four-wheel-drive version, designed to offer a glimpse of what a large, expensive shooting brake could be like – if Audi put the Prologue, or at least elements of it, into production.
The allroad is by far the most powerful of the Prologue prototypes. Beneath the impossibly low-slung bodywork (which must surely look like every dad’s dream family estate car) is a hybrid powertrain: a 4-litre V8 twin-turbo engine and an electric motor built into the transmission. Together they develop 724bhp, almost as much as Ferrari’s most powerful production car, the F12.
The impossibly low-slung Prologue allroad must surely look like every dad’s dream family estate car
So, although it is perfectly suited to ferrying young children to school, taking the labrador to the woods for a walk or loading up with antiques, this estate car can accelerate at a rate that would make drivers’ eyes water. Standstill to 62mph takes just 3.5 seconds, Audi claims.
However, because it’s a plug-in hybrid with a battery that can be recharged either from the mains electricity supply or by using the combustion engine as a generator, the emissions are meagre: just 56g/km of CO2. It has the potential to return 117mpg, and Audi says it can travel more than 30 miles on battery power alone.
Because of its allroad designation, this car rides higher than the Prologue Avant and coupé. Like other Audi allroads, it has an air suspension system that gives a variable ride height.
Like the previous Prologues, it has four-wheel steering, carbon-ceramic brake discs and fancy seats that automatically adjust themselves according to programmable profiles, even in the back.
The German car maker will not say whether one or all of the Prologue family will go into production. But it is on a mission to expand its line-up to 60 cars by the end of this decade, so perhaps this is more than just a flight of fancy.