Audi e-tron concept - Click above for high-res image gallery
When introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Audi boasted its all-electric e-tron was fitted with four electric motors producing "230 kW (313 hp) and 4,500 Nm (3,319.03 lb-ft) of torque." While the e-tron's styling may have raised a few eyebrows, we were notably moved by the quoted torque figure – especially when we considered that the twin-turbocharged Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, one of the most powerful vehicles on the road, makes 738 lb-ft in comparison. We were stupefied by the number, and it set off more than a few debates among our group, but Audi made no attempt to clarify...
The team at Automobile Magazine, initially duped like everyone else, has recognized that Audi was quoting torque measured at the wheels, not at the output shaft – the industry standard. Measuring torque at the wheels takes the multiplication effect of the transmission and final drive gears into account. The resulting figures are generally ten-fold of what they would be at the crank (meaning cars like a 3.6-liter Chevrolet Malibu packs a similar 3,115 lb-ft of torque). Audi's e-tron torque figures are not exactly dishonest, but they are using a completely different evaluation without making mention of it in the press release. Long story short, Automobile estimates the e-tron makes about 252 lb-ft of torque. That is a bit less than the Tesla Roadster's 273 lb-ft.