The 2000 Paris motorshow saw the introduction of Audi’s first full off-road concept. The Steppenwolf has the Audi Quattro 4wd system and a changeable roof. Power comes from a V6 engine and fitted with a 6 speed manual gearbox.
The Steppenwolf is about the size of an Audi A3, but it is based on the next-generation VW Golf platform. It’s powered by a transversely-mounted 3.2-litre 225 bhp V6 (good for the 0-60 mph dash in under eight seconds, by the way) and uses the Quattro all-wheel drive system of the TT, featuring a Haldex clutch to distribute torque between the front and rear axles.
That the Steppenwolf is an off-roader is made very obvious by its huge 19-inch wheels and their chunky rubber, generous ground clearance, a sump guard and the grey protective finish around its perimeter. Like the allroad, the Steppenwolf has air suspension, this allowing the ride height to be raised by as much as 60mm for serious boulder-skirting, and to be lowered on the motorway for cleaner aerodynamics.
The interior is notable for the huge transmission tunnel that divides it, turning the Steppenwolf irresolutely into a four-seater, and the richness of an interior finish that uses plenty of aluminium, leather (even for the floor) and rubber. The dash is basically a TT’s, but there is a sat nav system bang in the middle, which is just what you need for a vehicle capable of plunging you deep into the wilderness. Other highlights include a removable (and leave it in the garage) carbon-fibre hardtop, a soft-top for inclement weather, a slide-out drawer at the rear for the spare wheel, and similar compartment at the front for a winch.