Just over a year has passed since Audi first showed the e-tron Concept to the world at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. This year at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, Audi has unveiled a roofless version known as the e-tron Spyder. But the differences between the two concepts are far more substantial.
Unlike the all-electric e-tron, the e-tron Spyder is a complex diesel-electric plug-in hybrid. The internal combustion engine is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter diesel V-6 that makes 300 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. The mid-mounted engine drives just the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The front wheels, meanwhile, are driven by a pair of electric motors with a combined output of 88 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.
Performance-wise, the e-tron Spyder can accelerate from 0-62 mph in a claimed 4.4 seconds. More impressively, Audi claims that the 3200-lb car achieves a stunning fuel economy figure of 107 mpg and a range of over 621 miles from its 13.2 gallon tank. It is also capable of operating in full-electric mode for 31 miles at speeds of up to 37 mph thanks to its front-mounted 9.1-kWh battery.
Because it has motors for both axles, the e-tron Spyder operates as an all-wheel drive vehicle, with 25% of torque going to the front wheels and 75% to the rear wheels in normal operating conditions.
The e-tron Spyder rides on a 95.7-inch wheelbase, which is 8.7 inches shorter than that of the R8. At 159.8 inches long, 71.3 inches wide, and 43.7 inches tall, it's slightly larger than the second version of the hardtop e-tron that was shown in January at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show but still considerably smaller than an Audi TT.
Design-wise, the e-tron Spyder is similar to the Detroit car, but with a more aggressive look thanks to its crisper lines and new fascias. The front fascia has larger, bolder-looking grille elements, while the rear end is completely different.
Though nobody is quite sure yet if the rumored R5 that these e-tron concepts may preview is actually real, some of the hybrid elements of the e-tron Spyder are likely to end up in production models that Audi is currently working on.