Looking ahead as it looks back, the Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept is set to make its world debut next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Essentially a mild variation on the striking Audi Sport Quattro Concept plug-in hybrid revealed last September in Frankfurt, this new Laserlight variant swaps the golden exterior hue seen on the original Sport Quattro Concept for new Plasma Red paint and replaces the already brilliant Audi matrix LED headlamps with an even more capable alternative take that combines the automaker's matrix LED system with laser diodes that dramatically improve the overall illumination profile.
Similar in appearance to the standard low-profile matrix LED headlamps, these upgraded units feature an outer element that generates low-beam light using the existing matrix LED array and an aperture mask but have a new inner element that uses laser diodes to create the even-more-potent high beams. In presenting this new innovation, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of AUDI AG, Technical Development notes the laser diodes are far smaller than conventional LEDs - just a few microns in diameter - but deliver twice the range and three times the luminosity of a LED high beams. In real-world terms, that means they can fire a beam of intense white light nearly 1,640 feet down the road.
While Audi has yet to announce when this cutting-edge Laserlight technology will first appear on a production model, Hackenberg confirmed that it will be used on the automaker's competition cars, including the new 2014 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro prototype that will race at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Like its predecessor, the hybrid powertrain in the Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept consists of a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and supplemental electric motor that still make a combined 691 horsepower and return an impressive 94.1 mpg when run on the considerably more liberal European combined test cycle. Audi says the car's 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack holds sufficient energy to let it travel up to 31 miles in pure EV mode.
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