As Porsche looks to compete against the Tesla Model S saloon car, Audi is preparing to take on the upcoming Model X sports utility vehicle. Revealed at the Frankfurt motor show, the Audi E-Tron Quattro is a large SUV which has an all-electric range of over 310 miles and will go on sale in early 2018.
Powered by three electric motors - one at the front and a pair at the back to drive each rear wheel independently - the E-Tron Quattro has a 95kWh output, slightly higher than the top-of-the-range Tesla Model S P90D.
Producing 429 horsepower (or 496 briefly, thanks to a boost function) and 590lb/ft of torque, the Audi reaches 62mph (100kph) in 4.6 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 130mph. Range stands at "more than 310 miles", about the same as most Teslas.
Audi says a full recharge takes around 50 minutes - also similar to the Tesla - and the car copies most other all-electric vehicles by placing its heavy battery pack in the floor, lowering the centre of gravity and improving handling. "Audi will present an all-electric, luxury-class sport SUV in early 2018. The Audi E-Tron Quattro concept provides a concrete foretaste of this," said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, from Audi's board for Technical Development. "It combines driving pleasure with great range, an expressive design and excellent comfort."
Similar to the Porsche Mission E, another all-electric car announced at Frankfurt, the Audi E-Tron Quattro has wireless charging. Unique to the Audi is a system which guides the car into a charging bay and parks it right above the induction charging plate, which is embedded in the floor. A large solar panel on the roof helps to top up the battery when driving on sunny days.
Cameras replace mirrors - and touch screens are everywhere
Ever the staple requirement of a futuristic concept car, the E-Tron Quattro replaces standard wing mirrors with cameras and screens, making the exterior more aerodynamic, improving efficiency and range. Also improving aero efficiency and range are a number of electronically controlled elements on the bonnet, sides and rear end which move to direct air around the car as efficiently as possible at speeds of 50mph and above.
Inside, there is seating for four and a large amount of luggage space. As with the Porsche Mission E, all dials, instruments and infotainment screens used OLED panels. A pair of glass touch screens flank the central instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, with a larger touch display in the centre console housing media and navigation controls; contoured touch surfaces also appear on the spokes of the steering wheel. Rear passengers have their own central OLED screen between the two front seats for media and entertainment, all of which is provided over the car's own 4G connection.
Audi has not revealed how much the E-Tron Quattro - or cars based on this prototype - will cost, but the assumption is that they will not be cheap. The Model X, which is coming to the UK soon, is set to cost between £50,000 and £90,000 depending on the model and optional extras chosen.