2010 Paris Auto Show
What is it?
Audi E-tron Spyder Concept
What's special about it?
The Audi E-tron Spyder Concept is a further development of the E-tron coupe shown at the Detroit auto show earlier this year. In addition to its obvious lack of a roof, the E-tron Spyder is also slightly bigger than the last concept and features a plug-in hybrid drivetrain in place of the pure electric setup shown earlier.
At 159.9 inches long and 71.3 inches wide, the Spyder is about 5 inches longer and a little more than an inch wider than the Detroit concept. Compared to the current R8, the E-tron is still nearly a foot shorter and a few inches narrower, so the likelihood that it's actually an early look at a smaller R4 sports car still seems feasible.
For power, there's a twin-turbo diesel V6 powering the rear wheels and two electric motors mounted up front to drive only the front wheels. Audi gave no indication how big the diesel engine is, nor how much power the two electric motors generate. There was also no talk of range. Audi did assure us that there's a plug buried in the grille for charging the E-tron's batteries, though, so there's that.
It's somewhat similar to the Porsche 918 concept shown in Geneva last spring. That car also featured a high-powered hybrid setup, although it used a known race engine combined with three electric motors. The Audi's hardware is far less extreme, but it's pretty clear that Volkswagen sees some potential for a performance hybrid sports car.
There are no additional specs listed for the car, so the rest of the E-tron Spyder is pretty much a design exercise. Take the wheels, for instance. They measure 20 inches in diameter and use both aluminum and carbon fiber in their construction. They look like traditional one-piece wheels to us, but Audi insists there are 66 individual components that make up each wheel.
The interior is classic concept car. It's stripped down to the bare essentials and fitted with plenty of electronic gadgetry designed to take the place of traditional controls. There is, of course, Audi's signature MMI controller in the center console but that's about it. The rest of the information about the car is displayed on a small screen in front of the driver. There are no analog gauges and all the climate controls are adjusted through a touch panel above the gauge cluster. It's all very sleek and attractive, yet none of it looks like anything that will make it into a production vehicle.
Don't worry, though. We've seen enough hints from Audi to know that there's a real R4 on the way eventually. It won't have a diesel or a plug-in hybrid system, but will certainly have a few more buttons in the cabin. Still, if it looks anything like this concept, it'll be welcome in our garage.
Edmunds.com says: This E-tron is an interesting-looking evolution of the original coupe. Now if Audi would stop teasing us with these concepts and just give us a real R4 we would really be interested. — Ed Hellwig, Editor