2016 Audi R8 E-Tron packs 456 hp and goes on sale this year

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
For the longest time, the Audi R8 E-Tron seemed like such a fantasy, we never really though it'd come to fruition. But it's here, in second-generation R8 form. It's really, actually, finally here.

It looks like a electrified R8, too, with oversized, EV-spec wheels, and a revised front fascia that lends itself well to the more chiseled design of Audi's mid-engine coupe. Thanks to that nice shape and those air-slicing wheels, Audi has achieved a drag coefficient of 0.28 for the R8 E-Tron.

The 92-kWh, T-shaped battery is actually integrated into the center tunnel behind the passenger compartment, so it helps with the car's weight distribution and center of gravity. The two electric motors are mounted at the rear. As for the specs, things look awesome: 456 horsepower, 679 pound-feet of torque, 0-62 in 3.9 seconds, top speed of either 130 or 155 miles per hour, a range of 280 miles and a charging time of less than two hours.

And it's going on sale. Like, for real. Audi's press blast clearly states, "Upon customer request, the R8 E-Tron will be available for order in 2015 as an electrically powered sports car in supreme hand-built quality." Consider us stoked.

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Electrified: Audi R8 e-tron

The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for two more models. Audi has made major engineering developments in its high-performance electric sports car, the R8 e-tron. The latest evolution of the vehicle takes up the multimaterial Audi Space Frame from the new series-production model.

The supporting structure was enhanced by a CFRP rear-section module comprising the luggage compartment. The walls of the CFRP luggage compartment well are corrugated. This way, in the event of a rear-end collision, more energy can be absorbed despite the reduced material weight.

Thanks to targeted modifications to the outer shell and on the wheels, the Audi R8 e‑tron achieves an aerodynamic drag coefficient (cd) value of 0.28. In terms of performance and range, the car enters entirely new dimensions.

The large T-shaped battery is structurally integrated into the center tunnel and behind the occupant cell – optimally positioned in the car. It supports the dynamics of the R8 e-tron with its low center of gravity. Audi produces the high-voltage battery itself, for the first time based on a newly developed lithium-ion technology which was specially conceived for a purely electric vehicle drive. In comparison to the first technology platform, the battery capacity has grown from 49 kWh to approximately 92 kWh. This progress was possible without changing the package.

The R8 e-tron achieves an electric range of 450 kilometers (279.6 mi) instead of a previous 215 kilometers (133.6 mi) with an energy density that has been increased from 84 Wh/kg to 154 Wh/kg and some other modifications to the car. The electrically powered high-performance sports car has the Combined Charging System (CCS) on board, which allows charging with direct and alternating current. Using this system, it is possible to fully charge the battery in significantly less than two hours.

The power is now twice 170 kW and the maximum torque twice 460 Nm (339.3 lb-ft). The R8 e-tron accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds on its way to an electronically restricted top speed of 210 km/h (130.5 mph) or 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Intelligent energy management and an electromechanical brake system enable high energy recuperation rates. Targeted torque vectoring – needs-based distribution of power transmission between the rear wheels – ensures maximum stability and dynamism.

Audi uses the electrical high-performance sports car primarily as a mobile high-tech laboratory. Accordingly, the findings from the R8 e-tron help in creating a vehicle with a sedan character. Upon customer request, the R8 e-tron will be available for order in 2015 as an electrically powered sports car in supreme hand-built quality.

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