Leaving no doubt as to its purpose or its future status, Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Audi Board of Management for Technical Development stated flat out in Frankfurt: "Audi will present an all-electric, luxury-class sport SUV in early 2018. The Audi e-tron Quattro Concept provides a concrete foretaste of this." Destined to hit showrooms carrying a Q6 e-tron designation, the mid-size crossover SUV complements its engaging aerodynamic design and user-friendly interior with a high-powered three-motor array and AWD active chassis tuning that gives its sports car-like performance and a per-charge range in excess of 300 miles. 

New style, new technology 

Slotting between the current Q5 and Q7 models, the Audi e-tron Quattro Concept displays the boldest take yet on the automaker's exterior styling themes. Beyond a gracefully arcing roofline, this Audi crossover concept augments its already ultra-clean (0.25 coefficient of drag) bodywork with a selection of electrically actuated aerodynamic elements the hood, side and at the rear that further optimize its wind-cheating potential. The e-tron Quattro Concept also features the first application of Audi's state-of-the-art Matrix laser lighting technology that combines LED and OLED (organic LED) components and is being developed for future production use. OLED technology also appears in the rear lighting units. 

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The use of OLED technology carries over into the cabin of the e-tron Quattro Concept, which features four individual seats and offers 21.7 cu ft of stow space in its cargo bay. Audi's virtual cockpit instrumentation gets its own OLED tweaking and is flanked by a pair of supplemental curved touchscreen displays, one to handle the lights/piloted-driving functions and the other media/navigation. Rear-seat passengers have their own OLED displays in the full-length center console, which also houses an LTE module for Internet access. While the real world might not be ready for piloted driving, Audi has fitted the e-tron Quattro Concept with a full array of radar sensors, a video camera, ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner that integrate data into a central driver assistance controller located in the luggage compartment. 

Sports car spirit with an eco soul

Motivation for the e-tron Quattro Concept comes from three electric motors, one up front and two at the rear axle. Collectively turning out 496 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, they allow this ultra-clean crossover to hit 62 mph in 4.6 seconds and top out at 131 mph. The e-tron Quattro also features an intelligent drive management system and rear torque vectoring as well as Audi Drive Select to complement its sport-tuned adaptive air suspension and dynamic all-wheel steering. 

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Energizing the motor array is a 95kWh lithium-ion battery that's integrated into the floor to help overall balance and lower the center of gravity. This massive pack can let the e-tron Quattro Concept travel over 311 miles on a single charge and gets help on sunny days from a large solar array in the vehicle's roof. Audi's Combined Charging System allows replenishment to be done by plugging into either AC or DC current as well as via inductive charging. A full refill at a 150kW DC fast-charger requires just 50 minutes. 

Audi points out that the e-tron Quattro Concept reflects its feelings about the future of electric mobility, namely that it's sporty, efficient and suitable for everyday use. We're anxious to see how closely its production successor embodies those precepts - and how much it will ultimately cost to live this particular green dream.

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