Audi Bringing e-tron quattro Concept to Frankfurt
All-Electric SUV Presages Production Audi
The Audi e-tron quattro concept looks like it’s poised to put the hurt on Tesla’s forthcoming Model X, if the company has its way. The SUV, which will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, features an all-electric powertrain, a record-breaking 0.25 coefficient of drag, and a large, lithium-ion battery, all of which endow the e-tron quattro with a range of more than 300 miles.
Although shown merely in sketch form today, Audi says the e-tron quattro will form the basis of an upcoming production SUV, scheduled for 2018. Based on the second-generation MLB platform (shared with the new Audi Q7), the e-tron quattro is longer than a Q5, lending some credence to the rumors that Audi would produce a BMW X6-fighting rakish SUV. An all-electric powertrain would certainly set the Audi apart from its X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe competition, as both of those vehicles are only offered with internal-combustion motors (for now).
The e-tron quattro (which will likely be renamed Q6 or Q8 for production) will have very attractive styling, with a low-slung appearance that hunkers down over the large wheels. The look isn’t unlike that of a high-powered Pikes Peak rally car or an upsized Range Rover Evoque, and Audi’s three-motor setup provides four-wheel quattro traction. The floor-mounted battery keeps the center of gravity low to help driving dynamics, as it does on the Tesla Model S sedan. It also opens up trunk and passenger space, making room for four passengers under the flat-topped roof.
Tesla’s experience with its dual-motor all-wheel-drive sedans (and upcoming Model X crossover) have proved that four-wheel grip can actually help with efficiency and range, and Audi is following suit with its most recent e-tron concept. The “electrified quattro” features one motor for each rear wheel and one motor shared among the front wheels, providing quick response and efficient traction.
The e-tron quattro will debut in the metal next month in Frankfurt, and Audi will likely announce more detailed production intent later this year.