Audi has decided to put its Pikes Peak concept off-roader, one of the stars of this year’s Detroit Motor Show, into production.

Audi has decided to put its Pikes Peak concept off-roader, one of the stars of this year’s Detroit Motor Show, into production.

CARtoday.com reported in January that Audi had taken its cue from the Porsche Cayenne and rolled out a 357 kW RS6-powered Pikes Peak Quattro concept SUV - capable of a zero to 100 km/h time of five seconds.

The prototype on display in Detroit was four-door 4+2-seater featuring paddle-shift tiptronic transmission, variable-height adaptive air suspension, permanent all-wheel drive and the Audi RS6’s 4,2-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine pumping out 357 kW.

According to reports this week, the Audi’s BMW X5 basher will be launched in late 2005. Insiders say that although the project has yet to be given the final go-ahead and the tooling ordered, it is a certainty for production.

The production version of the big offroader will have three rows of seats, and will be more of an on-road performance machine than its cousin, the Volkswagen Touareg. It will share some components with the VW, most notably its air suspension system, and although it won't use a lightweight aluminium spaceframe like the A8 grand saloon, it will have more aluminium content than the Touareg.

It is unlikely that the 4,2-litre twin turbo V8 engine fitted to the show car will make part of the production lineup, but a 336 kW 48-valve W12 or five-litre V10 powerplant could be on the cards. Less extravagant petrol engines include a 179 kW 3,2-litre FSI 24-valve V6 and a 257 kW 4,2-litre 48-valve V8. Diesel motors will include a 160 kW 24-valve three-litre V6, a 205 kW 32-valve four-litre V8 and possibly a six-litre V12 pumping out 300 kW and 950 N.m of torque.

Audi has not yet decided on a name for the car - it may keep the 'Pikes Peak' label of the show car, or call it A7. While the Pikes Peak will take on BMW's X5, also reports that Audi is developing a smaller cross-over vehicle to compete with the upcoming BMW X3. That car arrives in 2006, and will share its platform with the new A3. The introduction of the crossover and the bigger off-roader will see the current A6 Allroad being phased out.

Original article from Car