Audi pre­pares EVs for bat­tle

Automobile - - New And Future Cars -

AUDI RE­CENTLY ROLLED OUT THE A3 Sport­back e-tron plug-in hy­brid, and prior to that the mil­lion-dol­lar R8 e-tron. Soon, though, we will see its first true at­tempts to storm the gates of Tesla with two new elec­tric ve­hi­cles: an SUV ten­ta­tively called the e-tron Qu­at­tro, and the e-tron GT, a swoopy four-door that will use the same VW Group J1 plat­form as the com­ing Porsche Tay­can.

The e-tron GT fea­tures elec­tric mo­tors at the front and rear, though it’s pos­si­ble a cheaper sin­gle-motor ver­sion will also ap­pear. Ex­pect to­tal sys­tem power to be 400-450 hp and to­tal range in the 300mile ball­park. Per­for­mance should be about 4.5 sec­onds to 60 mph. It will, we think, hit the streets in 2021, just af­ter the Qu­at­tro SUV, with pric­ing likely to start around $70,000.

Mean­while, we just drove the 2019 A6 and found it plenty ca­pa­ble and re­lax­ing. Set to ar­rive later this year at around $55,000 for the base model, the heav­ily re­vised A6 is now avail­able with all of Audi’s lat­est tech, in­clud­ing its hap­tic feed­back cen­ter stack ve­hi­cle con­trols and Vir­tual Cock­pit. Power comes from a 3.0-liter turbo V-6 with 340 horses mated to a seven-speed dual clutch—aug­mented by Audi’s 48-volt mild hy­brid setup.

Audi also has an­other cross­over de­signed for an­other niche we didn’t know ex­isted—the all-new 2019 Q8, which like the A6 should be avail­able around the end of 2018. The five-seater is roughly Q7-sized and is a bit more rugged. It fea­tures more of a slop­ing rear roofline and an up­dated, shal­lower ver­sion of Audi’s sig­na­ture grille with ver­ti­cal strakes. As with the A6, all of Audi’s lat­est pow­er­train (3.0-liter turbo V-6, 48-volt mild hy­brid) and in­te­rior tech will be avail­able for the Q8, and a plug-in ver­sion will ar­rive at some point.

On the high-per­for­mance end of the spec­trum are the new 2018 Audi Sport RS 5 Coupe and 2019 RS 5 Sport­back, both pow­ered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 444 horse­power mated to an eight­speed au­to­matic, along with a rear-bi­ased, RS-tuned Qu­at­tro sys­tem and an Audi Sport rear dif­fer­en­tial. This is solid stuff, as we learned ear­lier this year dur­ing our drive of the RS 5 Coupe, which starts in the low $70,000 range. The Sport­back will be here by the end of 2018. AM

e-tron GT

A3 Sport­back e-tron


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