Audi e-tron Spyder Concept, 2010
Audi presents the Audi e-tron Spyder Concept, the study of an open sports car, at the fall 2010's largest auto show. The show car, with plug-in hybrid drive, is 4.06 meters (13.32 ft) long, 1.81 meters (5.94 ft) wide and only 1.11 meters (3.64 ft) high. The two-seater is equipped with a 221-kW (300-hp) twin-turbo V6 TDI at the rear axle and two electric motors producing a total of 64 kW at the front axle.
The Audi e-tron Spyder Concept's low total weight of only around 1,450 kilograms (3,196.70 lb) combined with the high-torque TDI and the two electric motors results in respectable performance. The car accelerates to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 4.4 seconds, and top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h (155.34 mph).
The Audi e-tron Spyder Concept can combine the powerful torque of its TDI - the diesel engine generates 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft) and the total of 352 Nm (259.62 lb-ft) of its two electric motors during acceleration in a process known as "boosting."
The intelligent distribution of power allows for optimal dynamics in every situation. The targeted application of power to the front wheels improves longitudinal dynamics while also improving lateral dynamics when cornering. This is because torque vectoring - the as-needed distribution of torque between the left and right wheels of the two axles - enables an exhilarating degree of driving precision and excellent agility.
The combination of a highly efficient TDI and electric drive also provides for excellent fuel economy and amazingly low emissions. The Audi e-tron Spyder Concept requires on average just 2.2l diesel/100 km (106.92 US mpg), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 59 g/km (94.95 g/mile). A range of more than 1,000 kilometers is possible with the 50-liter (13.21 US gallons) tank.
The Audi e-tron Spyder Concept features what is without a doubt the most advanced and simultaneously the most consistent evolution of the current Audi design language, while also providing initial hints at the design language of future Audi sports cars. It reinterprets the most important design elements that already characterized the previous e-tron concept vehicles. This also ensures the necessary formal differentiation to the purely electric-powered Audi e-tron shown at the 2010 Detroit Motor Show.
1.81 meters (5.94 ft) wide, just 4.06 meters (13.32 ft) long and only 1.11 meters (3.64 ft) in height: these are the classic proportions of an open, high-performance sports car. Compared to the coupé concept car in Detroit, the length and width have increased by 13 cm (5.12 in) and 3 cm (1.18 in), respectively, to underscore the sporty aspiration of the design. This further enhanced the powerful and compact overall appearance that characterizes both vehicles and links them to the sportiest production Audi, the R8.
Visual and functional references to the fundamental concept of lightweight construction characterize the purist interior design. They establish a connection between proven Audi genes and new formal hallmarks. Typical for the Audi design idiom is the reduction of the architecture, controls and information output to the essentials in favor of a tidy overall impression.
The slim dash has a curve that extends laterally into the door panels. With no need to allow for a transmission, shifter and cardan tunnel, the designers again took advantage of the opportunity to create a particularly slim and lightweight center tunnel and convex, arching center console for the Audi e-tron Spyder Concept with hybrid drive. The only control element other than that of the MMI is the flush-mounted selector lever for the automatic transmission, which extends upward from the tunnel when the vehicle is started.
The cockpit of the Audi e-tron Spyder Concept is also oriented toward the driver - a further characteristic Audi trait. Instead of the classic instrument cluster, the concept car is equipped with a large, display with integrated MMI functions and flanked by two round dials. The MMI can be controlled via a touch-sensitive control panel on the steering wheel - an element inspired by modern smartphones. It can also be controlled via the MMI control unit (MMI touch) on the center console. The steering wheel itself is clearly flattened off at both the top and bottom, in a clear reference to motor sport. Speed is displayed in digital form only. The dial instrument with information about the drive system can be chosen via the menu item "Drive."
The equally racing-inspired lightweight bucket seats combine excellent lateral support with comfort. Contrasting colors and stitching delineate the various zones of the interior. The colors and the high-quality materials combine elegance and sportiness.
Systematic lightweight construction is a crucial prerequisite for efficiency and range, while also being the primary foundation for exhilarating driving dynamics. The Audi development engineers drew on the core competence of the company for the Audi e-tron Spyder Concept. The body structure is based on Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology and was realized as a hybrid construction, with the hood and numerous aerodynamic components made of carbon.
In ASF technology, the body's supporting structure is made of extruded aluminum sections and die-castings. Aluminum panels are incorporated into this skeleton to form a positive connection and perform a load-bearing role. Each individual component of the ASF space frame is optimized for its specific task by the use of widely differing shapes and cross-sections, combining maximum stability with minimal weight. Despite the complex drive system layout with two electric motors and their respective drive systems plus the TDI engine, the Audi e-tron Spyder Concept only weighs around 1,450 kilograms (3,196.70 lb).
Engines and transmissions
Audi has long proven the perfect synthesis between a highly advanced sports car and TDI technology. With the TT, Audi become one of the first manufacturers anywhere in the world to successfully bring a diesel sports car to market, a decade after the Audi Cabriolet paved the way for diesel engines in this segment. And the Audi R8 TDI Le Mans concept car was the first supercar to be fitted with a twelve-cylinder diesel engine with 500 hp and 1,000 Newton meters (737.56 lb-ft) of torque.
The Audi e-tron Spyder also draws on this recipe for success - albeit in a revolutionary new combination. This marks the first use of a new generation of the six-cylinder, 3.0 TDI that breathes through two turbochargers and produces 221 kW (300 hp). That is another 50 hp more than the previous stage, which debuted a few months ago in the new Audi A8.
The drive's characteristic is even more exciting than the abstract numbers. Thanks in no small part to the fact that the peak torque of the electric motors is available immediately, the Audi e-tron Spyder Concept accelerates with catapult-like thrust. Short passing maneuvers on interurban roads can be pulled off as spurts that are every bit as relaxed as they are fun, even without having to downshift.
The noise level of the low-revving TDI is typically low. The six-cylinder unit behind the occupants issues a sonorously sporty growl under load, but never becomes loud. A surprising effect also present in the Le Mans-winning Audi R10 and R15 race cars, which are also powered by TDI engines.