Audi Crosslane Coupe points at the future of German soft-roaders

Justin Hyde

The money shot at the Audi presentation of the Paris Motor Show clearly belonged to the world premiere of Audi's Crosslane Coupe concept, though the only conceptual part of the car is a trick plug-in hybrid drive train. The rest of it showcases design trends that are going to start showing up in Audi products soon, and will be fully implemented within three years. The Crosslane's interior, in particular, represents a huge design step forward for Audi, whose previous SUV offerings have been a touch bland.

With its angular "tornado-like" lines, wild mustard-yellow leather, and brushed-steel triangular features, the Crosslane is as avant-garde looking as a Berlin coffeeshop. The innovations of the Crosslane, which include a beautiful sloping leather dashboard and stylish knobs for the audio and AC systems, are simultaneously forward-looking and a throwback to a simpler, more driver-focused time. The lead interior designer for the concept says "we wanted to change our language back to Bauhaus and get back to the intentionality of sophisticated surfaces," which is an extremely German way of saying it.

Underneath that skin lies a combination of a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors and a lithium battery pack. With only 177 hp and a 0-to-62 mph time of 8.2 seconds, the Crosslane wouldn't be fast, but its efficient as heck, returning 214 mpg. Audi says the Crosslane Coupe concept even has a system that will post photos and videos taken through the car's electronics systems to Twitter or Facebook. Some concepts are meant to be shared.

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