Audi may have just stolen the thunder of everyone trying to compete with Tesla.
Currently, the Tesla Model S offers a combination of functionality, range, and performance that makes it the one to beat when it comes to production electric cars.
Everyone from BMW to Apple is working on new electric-vehicle technologies, with the hopes of rivaling Tesla.
But then there’s the 2016 Audi R8 e-tron.
Set to debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the second-generation R8 will come in an electric version.
And if EVs still aren’t you’re thing, but Audis are, the new R8 will also be available with two different, yet still massively powerful, V10 engines.
But it’s he e-tron that’s the most significant. Armed with a 92kWh t-shaped lithium-ion battery pack, the Audi is capable of delivering 280 miles of electric range.
That immediately puts the R8 e-tron in a class occupied only by the Model S — a car that has pretty much had the luxury EV market to itself.
The electric Audi can sprint from 0-62 mph in just 3.9 seconds and hit an artificially restricted top speed of 155.3 mph. Audi claims that the battery can be charged in “significantly less than two-hours.”
These numbers match up favourably to the high-performance version Model S range of 270 miles and 0-60-in-3.2-seconds acceleration time. Granted, the two-seat Audi is more of a director competitor to Tesla’s discontinued Roadster, in terms of passenger capacity and its sporting nature, than it is the four-door Model S. That said, the numbers do match up favourably against the Model S.
Even more significant is the role the R8 e-tron will play in Audi’s future plans. According to the Ingolstadt-based car maker, the e-tron supercar will be used as a “mobile high-tech laboratory.” The lessons learned from the electric R8 will be put to good use in the development of the Audi’s forthcoming rival to the Model S sedan.
That’s right. The R8 e-tron is just the beginning of Audi’s electric revolution. Stay tuned. There’s definitely more to come.
As for the good old fashioned internal combustion R8s, Audi is offering a pair of naturally aspirated 5.2 liter V10 engines: one with 540 horsepower, the other with 610. The 540 hp R8 V10 is capable of a 0-62 mph run in just 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 200 mph. The 610hp variant, creatively christened the “R8 V10 Plus,” is capable of a Tesla P85D-esque 3.2 second run from 0-62 mph, with a top speed of 205 mph.
All three version of the R8 will be built on a brand-new platform shared with the Lamborghini Huracan.
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