Audi Takes 805-HP e-Tron GT From Screens to Tracks

Conceived as a virtual race car for the 15th anniversary of the Gran Turismo video game on Sony’s PlayStation 4, Audi has turned the e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo into reality as part of a marketing campaign built around its new e-Tron electric-vehicle sub-brand.

Greg Kable

April 18, 2018

4 Min Read
Oneoff prototype may foreshadow Audi flagship EV
One-off prototype may foreshadow Audi flagship EV.

INGOLSTADT, Germany –  ­­­­­­­­Audi reveals an all-wheel-drive, 805-hp electric-powered super coupe to be deployed as a race taxi at selected Formula E events.

The automaker hints the low-slung 2-door holds clues to a zero-emission flagship being considered as a performance figurehead to sit above its recently confirmed 4-door e-Tron GT in an extended lineup of all-electric production models due out in coming years.

Originally conceived as a virtual race car for the 15th anniversary of the Gran Turismo video game on Sony’s PlayStation 4, Audi has turned the e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo into reality as part of a marketing campaign built around its new e-Tron electric-vehicle sub-brand and participation in the Formula E racing series for EVs.

The decision to build the one-off prototype, constructed at Audi’s pre-production workshop here, makes the e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo the first simulated race car developed for PlayStation’s Gran Turismo video game to be made fully functional, according to Audi.

It also hints at possible plans by Audi to bolster its presence in the luxury coupe ranks with a new performance-based e-Tron model that Ingolstadt insiders suggest could complement the R8 with pure-electric drive.

“With the Audi e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races – in the middle of the world’s metropolises,” says Peter Mertens, head of Audi R&D. “We are also expanding our gathering of valuable experience in extremely demanding conditions.”

Audi so far has confirmed three battery-powered e-Tron models: the e-Tron quattro, e-Tron Sportback and e-Tron GT.

The e-Tron quattro, a Tesla Model X-rivaling SUV, and e-Tron Sportback, a high-riding 5-door liftback, are to be produced at the automaker’s plant in Brussels, Belgium, with the quattro set to go on sale during second-half 2018.

The more exclusive e-Tron GT is set to roll out from a dedicated production line being established at Audi Sport division’s showcase Boellinger Hof factory in Neckarsulm, Germany, with the first customer deliveries planned for 2020.

Backing up claims that the Vision Gran Turismo could see production someday are comments from senior Audi officials indicating it represents more than a mere concept.

“Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are hard to implement, in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels,” Audi design boss Marc Lichte says.

Lichte, who has headed the design team working on Audi’s upcoming range of e-Tron EVs, says the Vision Gran Turismo incorporates many elements of a new Audi design language, including the inverted color-keyed single-frame grille to be featured on new e-Tron models.

Drawing on technology used by the ultra-low-volume R8 e-Tron as well as the three upcoming e-Tron production models, the Vision Gran Turismo is powered by three electric motors –­­­­­ one sited up front providing drive to the front wheels and two at the rear driving the individual rear wheels –­ each making 268 hp.

The three motors provide a combined 805 hp –­ sufficient, according to Audi, to provide the 3,197-lb. (1,450 kg) coupe with a weight-to-power ratio of 3.97 lb. per hp.

The motors used by the new supercar are based on the production unit to be unveiled in the upcoming production version of the e-Tron quattro. Developed in-house at Audi parent company Volkswagen, they are produced at its plant in Kassel, Germany.

No official torque figure for the new Audi prototype has been revealed, though officials from Audi’s pre-production workshop tell WardsAuto the three electric motors deliver more than 737 lb.-ft. (1,000 Nm).

With a specially developed quattro all-wheel-drive system providing variable drive distribution between the front and rear axles as well as the individual rear wheels, the Vision Gran Turismo is claimed to accelerate from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.5 seconds and reach a top speed limited to 140 mph (225 km/h).

By comparison, the 4,057-lb. (1,840-kg) R8 e-Tron, which was revealed in definitive production guise at the 2015 Geneva auto show before being dropped from the lineup after an unspecified production run, employed two electric motors acting on the rear wheels with a  combined 455 hp and 678 lb.-ft. (919 Nm).

The 60-kWh battery used by the Vision Gran Turismo to power its electric motors shares its technology with the lithium-ion to appear in the production version of the e-Tron quattro due out later this year.

Among those Audi has chosen to drive the e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo on the sidelines of Formula E races is former DTM (Deutscher Touringwagen) race driver Rahel Frey and Le Mans victor Dindo Capello. 

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