Audi showcased its e-tron Spyder concept the day before winning this year's 79th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The diesel-electric plug-in hybrid roadster was first shown to the public at the 2010 Paris Auto Show but was brought out again for the demonstration drive called “Le Mans vers le futur”, an event showcasing new drive technologies. Also showcased at the event was the upcoming Q5 Hybrid, which should reach showrooms before the close of 2011.
The e-tron Spyder concept features a 300 horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged diesel V-6 driving the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch tansmission, while the front wheels are driven by two asynchronous electric motors giving an extra 87 horses and more importantly, 260 pound-feet of torque. The combination allows the concept to do 31 miles in estimated electric-only travel (limited to less than 37 mph), and have a quick 4.4 second run to 62 mph; the units can run concurrently or alone.
Normally, 75 percent of the power is to the rear wheels with the remaining percentage driving the front. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, with a range estimated at 620 miles.
The 3,197 pound e-tron Spyder was kept as svelte as possible for a hybrid with notoriously heavy battery stacks by using space-frame construction and lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber. Audi says weight distribution is 50-50 and that the setup will allow for spirited driving while still being "very comfortable". Audi claims an estimated 106.92 mpg for the European combined cycle.
Perhaps best of all is the fact that the car is dead sexy; in my opinion the hottest-looking hybrid since the Cadillac Converj. The sooner that manufacturers realize more of us are likely to purchase hybrids if they all don't seem like rolling appliances, we all will.