Detoit motor show: hits - 1. Audi Sportback

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This Audi Sportback concept car has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show to gauge public reaction to what would be a Mercedes CLS and VW Passat CC rival.

However, your opinions are likely to shape only smaller details on the four-door car, as it is already said to be certain to go into production in late 2010. Still, when it looks this good, who minds?

The car would to be called the A7 and plans are said to be so advanced that Audi is also thought to be preparing a four-door A7 convertible - and a diesel-electric hybrid. An on-sale date of 2011 is being mooted for all these cars.

The concept car is powered by a 222bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine capable of 47.9mpg. It has a top speed of 152mph and a 0-62mph time of under seven seconds.

It is also linked to a stop-start system, which insiders say will start appearing on four cylinder-engined production cars later this year, and then on cars fitted with V-angled engines and cars equipped with semi-automatic gearboxes shortly afterwards.

The Sportback concept also uses a seven-speed S-tronic gearbox, regenerative braking and low-rolling-resistance tyres to improve fuel efficiency.

It also has Continuous Damping Control, as available on the Q7, to improve the ride quality without compromising body control, and carbon ceramic brakes, which aid stopping power, but are likely to be too expensive to make it on to the production car.

Audi also says the Sportback design style will feature extensively in new models, following the success of the A3 Sportback. An A1 Sportback is rumoured to be under production.

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