Hands down one of the most spectacular concept cars to ever carry the fabled Four Rings, the Audi Avus Quattro is making a rare appearance on video. Originally unveiled in 1991 at the Tokyo Motor Show, the low-slung supercar gets the walkaround treatment to show off its hand-beaten aluminum and polished body without a lick of paint. It predated the Audi Space Frame from 1993, a concept that went on to preview the original A8 launched a year later.
The swoopy coupe was named after a race track located near Berlin and shares the Avus moniker with the 1930s Type C from the Auto Union days. Those body panels we mentioned were extremely thin and helped Audi's engineers to keep weight down to an impressively low 1,250 kilograms (2,755 pounds). The shiny 20-inch wheels along with the tires represented about half of the vehicle's height and there was a roof-mounted NACA-style duct.
1991 Audi Avus Quattro concept
As seen in the video, the Avus Quattro with its three differentials, triple exhaust tips, and rear-wheel steering can't move under its own power. Although it was envisioned with a massive W12 making a little over 500 horsepower, that was just a dummy 6.0-liter engine carved from wood and plastic. Audi did the math and projected a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in three seconds and a top speed of 210 mph (334 km/h).
Audi had no intention to put the supercar with its top-mounted side mirrors into production. Rumor has it that didn't stop a few wealthy individuals to try and convince the Ingolstadt-based automaker to build the Avus for as much as $12 million apiece. Ultimately, it didn't happen.
Just imagine for a second driving around in a W12-powered car with a gated six-speed manual gearbox. As the name of the concept indicates, it was engineered with Quattro all-wheel drive and weighed about as much as today's Volkswagen Golf. Speaking of which, the compact hatchback also got the W12 treatment for that wild 650-horsepower GTI concept from 2007.