One of the real live wires at the 2010
Paris Motor Show will undoubtedly be the Audi e-tron Spyder, a two-seat
open sports car study with plug-in hybrid drive capable of delivering
128mpg economy and 59g/km emissions from its 300PS twin-turbo V6 TDI
engine and twin electric motors.
The Audi e-tron Spyder’s low total
weight of only around 1,450 kilograms, combined with the high-torque TDI
and the two electric motors results in impressive performance. The car
accelerates to 62mph in just 4.4 seconds, and top speed is
electronically governed at 155mph.
The e-tron Spyder can combine the
powerful 650Nm torque output of its TDI engine with the 352 Nm developed
by its two electric motors during acceleration in a process known as
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 ‘on demand’ distribution of torque between the left and
right wheels of the two axles – enables an exhilarating degree of
driving precision and excellent agility.
Thanks also to its low weight, short
wheelbase and perfect 50:50 weight distribution for dynamic handling,
the Audi e-tron Spyder has all the drivability of a go-kart – good on
bends and neutral right up to the very high handling limit.
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 can cover up to
128.4mpg, corresponding to CO2 emissions of 59 g/km. A range
of more than 621 miles is possible with the 50-litre tank.
The open sports car can also drive
strictly on electric power and thus with zero emissions over distances
of up to 31.07 miles and at speeds of up to 37.28mph – an obvious
benefit in urban areas.
The Audi e-tron Spyder 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.
The contrast of materials is
reminiscent of a race car. The essential functional elements of the
chassis and the vehicle body are done in carbon, while the body as a
cover sports a classic paint finish. This illustrates the formal
"shell-and-core" principle that defines the e-tron Spyder particularly
Thanks to an opening in the hood, even
the longitudinal TDI mid-engine is a visible technological element
surrounded by matt and glossy carbon surfaces, aluminium and leather.
This combination of materials links the exterior with the interior of
Behind the seats are two cowls that
gradually taper toward the rear and also flank the opening for the TDI
engine and the implied cooling fins of the engine cover. They also
contain the normally hidden rollover bars, which like in the production
R8 Spyder shoot up within milliseconds and lock into place in the event
of an emergency.
Engine and transmission
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 metres 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
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 62mph in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is electronically governed at
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
128.4mpg, 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 31.07 miles. And with a top speed of up to 37.28 miles, the e-tron
Spyder is also able to move along smartly in city traffic.