plug-in V6 diesel hybrid
lbs per hp
mph (electronically limited)
(from Audi Press
Release) Audi e-tron Spyder
Audi presents the Audi e-tron Spyder, 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
The Audi e-tron Spyder’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 e-tron Spyder 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.
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 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 open sports car can also drive strictly on electric power and
thus with zero emissions over distances of up to 50 kilometers
(31.07 miles), such as in urban areas. The top speed of 60 km/h
(37.28 mph) is just fine for normal driving.
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.
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.
Due in no small part to the short wheelbase of only 2.43 meters
(7.97 ft) – 22 cm (8.66 in) shorter than that of the R8 – the body
of the e-tron Spyder comes across as extremely stocky.
In an apparent homage to motor sports, the frameless side glass
surfaces taper downward toward the rear. They form a unit with the
windshield, which is strongly bowed and inclined like the visor of a
Another element borrowed from race cars characterizes the hood: the
wide central air inlet, whose curve further accentuates the dynamics
of the car’s front end and provides a visual and functional link to
the Audi R8 LMS customer race car. The carbon application that is
mounted flush in the front and side windows and wraps completely
around the glass testifies to the design and manufacturing expertise
that went into the car.
The front the silhouette of the e-tron Spyder are characterized by a
sharp, sweeping line that immediately identifies the two-seater as
an Audi. The sharply tapered front end lends the Audi e-tron Spyder
show car a distinctly wedge-like basic shape. The trapeze of the
single-frame grille dominates the distinctly wedge-shaped front end
and is flanked by two large air intakes. They serve as cooling
intakes for the electric drive system and also for the TDI engine at
the rear of the vehicle.
Above, the grille merges into the flat strips of the adaptive matrix
beam headlight modules with their three-dimensional clear glass
covers that follow the contour of the functional elements.
All light units use ultra-efficient LED technology. As with the R8
and the e-tron sports car concept cars, the trademark four rings are
located above the single-frame. Beneath the trademark is the
charging station for the batteries. The rings disappear beneath the
front hatch, exposing not just the charging plug but also a display
showing the charge state and a map graphic indicating the current
Another distinctive feature of this show car are the 20-inch wheels,
that take the blade design of the first e-tron show car and refine
it into a three-dimensional turbine design. The wheels combine the
lightweight materials aluminum and carbon into a design that is both
visually pleasing and very effective aerodynamically. The 66
individual components comprising each individual wheel of the e-tron
Spyder are indicative of just how complex they are.
The flanks sport familiar contours in a new form. Unusually sharply
defined edges frame the smooth side surfaces while simultaneously
separating horizontal from vertical areas.
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 pronouncedly
horizontal and more strongly oriented toward the road.
An impression that is also created by the characteristic sills with
a new cut and is picked up by the spoiler and diffuser at the front
and rear of the car. Carbon elements borrow from motor sports to set
special accents here as well. Carbon is also used on the engine
cover in the rear and in license plate and lighting frame, which
also includes the air outlets below the lateral light units.
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 clearly.
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, aluminum and leather. This combination of
materials links the exterior with the interior of the vehicle.
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
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
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 e-tron Spyder 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 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
Besides information about the speed, the revs of the combustion
engine and the electric drive, the central display also provides all
of the key information from the infotainment and navigation systems.
Characteristic for the concept of the Audi e-tron Spyder is the near
total elimination of switches and components such as the ignition.
The climate control unit is located to the right above the steering
wheel. The display provides temperature and ventilation information.
Again drawing inspiration from a smartphone, the system is operated
by means of a touch-sensitive control panel.
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.
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. 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 show car 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.
Peak torque of 650 Newton meters (479.42 lb-ft) 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
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 kilowatt (88 hp) and peak torque of 352 Newton
meters (259.62 lb-ft) 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 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.4 seconds. Top speed
is electronically governed at 250 km/h (155.34 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. 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.
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
300-hp TDI consumes on average just 2.2 liters of diesel per 100
kilometers (106.92 US mpg), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of
only 59 g/km (94.95 g/mile).
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
kilometers (31.07 miles). And with a top speed of up to 60 km/h
(37.28 mph), the e-tron Spyder is also able to move along smartly in
The normal distribution
of the tractive power is clearly biased toward the rear axle in
accordance with the weight distribution of the e-tron Spyder and the
dynamic shift in axle load during acceleration. Similar to with a
pure mid-engine sports car, roughly 75 percent of the torque goes to
the rear and 25 percent to the front. If an axle slips, this balance
can be varied thanks to the central control of the entire drive
system in combination with the ESP. The hybrid vehicle from Audi
thus enjoys all of the advantages of quattro technology.
The combination of the mid-mounted TDI engine and the two electric
motors at the front axle also make it possible to intelligently
control the lateral dynamics of the e-tron.
Similar to what the sport differential does in conventional quattro
vehicles, torque vectoring – the targeted acceleration of individual
wheels – makes the e-tron Spyder even more dynamic while
simultaneously enhancing driving safety. Understeer and oversteer
can be corrected by not only targeted activation of the brakes, but
also by precise increases in power lasting just a few milliseconds.
The concept car remains extremely neutral even under great lateral
acceleration and hustles through corners as if on the proverbial
The chassis has triangular double wishbones at the front axle and a
trapezoidal-link rear suspension made of forged aluminum components
– a geometry that has proven in motorsports to be the optimal
prerequisite for high agility, uncompromising precision and
precisely defined self-steering behavior. A taut setup was chosen
for the springs and shock absorbers, but it is still very
The direct rack-and-pinion steering gives finely differentiated
feedback. Its electromechanical steering boost varies with speed, so
that the e-tron Spyder only has to provide energy while steering,
and not while driving straight ahead.
As befitting its status, the Audi concept car rolls on 20-inch tires
with a new blade design. 245/30 tires up front and 265/30 tires in
the rear provide the necessary grip.