As a company whose very motto translates to “Progress through Technology,” Audi is continually, relentlessly evolving. Vorsprung durch Technik is more than just a catchphrase, but a focus on harnessing bleeding edge engineering to redefine what performance means. Most famously, Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive brought game-changing, all-weather capability to the performance and luxury vehicle segment. Now, Audi is setting sustainability as a key goal, offering no-compromises performance without impacting the environment.
Leading the charge are Audi’s e-tron models, with eight models currently on sale and a dozen more to follow over the next three years. These vehicles offer all the capability Audi’s customers have come to expect and more. For example, electronically controlled e-quattro is capable of far quicker power delivery optimization than any quattro system offered previously, adapting in three milliseconds to changing traction.
Prodigious levels of grip in slippery conditions has been a key Audi attribute for decades. It’s why you see so many Audis parked up at your local ski chalet. Those interested in outdoor sports also demand a certain level of performance, and e-tron models also bring the heat, with instant electric torque and huge power in the RS versions. Audi Sport has said that by the end of the decade, all its high-performance models will be electrified. It’s already happening with the 48-volt mild-hybrid systems available in the likes of the 621 hp RS6 Avant.
Hardcore Audi fans will no doubt remember the characterful grumble of that car’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8, but future RS models won’t leave enthusiasts wanting, in the grand scheme of things. The current RS e-tron GT boasts even more horsepower — 637 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque — and it delivers that torque with instantaneous force. The sprint from 0-100 km/h takes just 3.3 seconds, and the luxury sedan has enough seating to share the experience with friends and family. The old-school fixation on engine sound promptly fades into the distance with a first experience of electrified performance at this level.
The RS e-tron GT offers the most performance in an e-tron model, while the spacious Q8 e-tron offers the greatest range — up to 476 km for the aerodynamic Sportback version. Thanks to sophisticated thermal management of its battery pack – mounted low to improve handling with a better centre of gravity — the Q8 is able to maintain its charged state longer. Both vehicles are engineered to minimize downtime when on the move, with charging times as quick as 10%-80% charge in just 31 minutes.
The RS e-tron GT is manufactured in Audi’s Bollinger Hofe factory, and the Q8 e-tron is built in Brussels, both carbon net neutral locations. The company’s ambitious Vorsprung 2030 plan aims to phase out all combustion-engined Audis by 2033, and also to expand the number of carbon net neutral production facilities.
Ambitious goals, but then Audi was never the brand to remain complacent. The automotive landscape is changing rapidly, and those who fail to innovate will be left behind. As a company that has never stopped chasing progress, innovation is nothing new for Audi. Or rather it is a focus on everything new, constantly changing, relentless progress through continuous technological development.