As the automotive landscape evolves and manufacturers continue to operate from a cleaner, eco-friendly design perspective, it almost feels impossible to keep up with the number of electric cars being teased on the daily. Unlike most whips, however, Audi’s latest addition to its E-tron family — a 370kW electric marvel with innovative lighting technology — is not something you happen upon every day.
Set to be unleashed for the first time at this week’s Shanghai Motor Show, the crossover “coupe” combines classic Audi cues with an array of trendsetting details, and the end product is jaw-droppingly futuristic. Microcosmic of that approach is the light-up badge, which sees the German company follow in the footsteps of Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz by illuminating its iconic insignia.
When it comes to LEDs, however, the rings are just the tip of the iceberg. Minuscule Digital Matrix projectors at the front and rear literally make their mark on the road ahead for what Audi claims turns “light into a versatile, dynamic channel of communication with the surroundings,” while laser projectors can cast signs, numbers, or letters on the road surface, thus enabling graphic communication with the outside world. In other words, this is like a real life Knight Rider.
Accordingly, such an ultra-modern approach means there’s no place for old-century relics like wing mirrors. Instead, the Sportback uses small cameras, which not only offer improved airflow and reduced wind noise, but also eliminate the blind spot of the physical mirror. The images relayed by the cameras can be viewed on displays in the door trims as well as touch-sensitive screens below the central display and center console.
Unlike other tech-heavy concepts, the Sportback could never be accused of being all bite and no bark; its three engines capable of up to 370kW of combined output and 800 Nm of torque. That means the car can hit 62.1 mph in just 4.5 seconds, with a limited top speed of 130.5 mph.
A production version of Audi’s e-tron Quattro concept is slated to hit the market in 2018, with the Sportback following the year after.
“Our Audi e-tron will be starting out in 2018 – the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback – an emotional coupé version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance.”
Look out for further information on the Sportback as it emerges.