The Audi e-tron Spyder is diesel-electric plug-in hybrid sports car in contrast to the all-electric e-tron Concept which was shown a year ago at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show and the smaller all-electric e-tron Concept which Audi showed at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year.
The Audi e-tron Spyder comes in at 1.81 meters (71 inches), 4.06 meters (160 inches) long and only about 1.11 meters (44 inches) high. That’s slightly larger than the second version of the hardtop e-tron that was shown in Detroit.
The open-top vehicle features frameless side glass that tapers down toward the rear. The windshield combines with the side glass to emulate the profile of a racing helmet’s visor.
The shoulder line frames the lines of the strongly contoured wheel wells even more distinctly than in the Audi R8 and combines them with the upper edge of the vehicle body. Particularly when viewed from the back, the e-tron Spyder appears even more strongly oriented toward the road.
The concept car wears 20-inch wheels with a similar look to the coupe concept, but transformed into a three-dimensional turbine design. The rims are made of lightweight aluminum and carbon and are comprised of 66 individual components.
The Audi e-tron Spyder marks the first use of a new generation of the six-cylinder, 3.0 TDI that breathes through two turbochargers and produces 300PS, a 50PS increase on the previous stage, which debuted a few months ago in the new Audi A8.
Peak torque of 650 Newton meters is unusually high, even in the sports car segment. The mid-mounted, longitudinal 3.0 TDI engine drives the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Another innovation is the coupling of the TDI with the electric drive of the front axle. Two asynchronous electric motors with a total output of 64 kilowatts (88 hp) and peak torque of 352 Newton meters combine with the 3.0 TDI to give the Audi e-tron Spyder the performance of a high-performance sports car. It accelerates from 0 to 100km/h (0 to 62mph) in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h (155 mph).
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 e-tron Spyder accelerates with catapult-like thrust.
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.
The benefits of this special form of hybrid drive – the coupling of a high-torque, high-efficiency TDI engine with the electric motors – are by no means limited to the dynamic potential of the Audi e-tron Spyder, however. The open two-seater also sets new standards in its class for fuel consumption and environmental characteristics. The 300PS TDI enables the e-tron Spyder to cover 2.2 L/100km (128.4mpg UK or 107 mpg U.S.), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of only 59 g/km.
The full-hybrid Audi e-tron Spyder has also mastered the discipline of zero-emission driving. In residential and other urban areas, the driver can activate the electric drive by itself. The 9.1-kwH battery at the front of the car has enough power for up to 50 km (31.07 miles). And with a top speed of up to 60km/h 37.28 miles, the e-tron Spyder is also able to move along smartly in city traffic.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]