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Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid

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On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:55PM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid

We heard plenty of rumors of it coming. We even saw some sketches. And now that Paris is underway, it's officially here; the Audi e-tron Spyder made its debut on the first media day of the Paris Motor Show, giving us one more look at Audi's electric/hybrid family. And it's arguably the sexiest look yet.

The new Spyder looks just like the sketches indicate it would: stylish, exposed, wraparound glass in front and sides providing a cockpit look; sharp, angular side window lines that disappear seamlessly just beyond the doors and an R8-influenced rear-end. The front-end and sides are similar to the R4 e-tron hard-top that Audi showed at the Detroit Auto Show, with a few departures. The slats in the grille extend all the way to the edges and the car loses the vertical slats from the Detroit version. Similarly, the front air intakes have switched from vertical slats to matching horizontal slats. Certain lines also have a little more definition, like the lippy front fenders.

Of course, the biggest departure is out back, where the Spyder loses the boomerang-style LED taillight-dominated rear of former e-trons and replaces it with a new back-end inspired by the R8. The rims are a progressive change reminiscent of a water turbine or fan blades.

The biggest change is not visual, however; Audi uses a new powertrain for its latest e-tron concept: a diesel-electric hybrid. The car features a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine powering the rear wheels, and dual 44-hp electric motors up front. Overall, the powertrain puts out 388 horses. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission handles shifting.

The Spyder's 4.4-second 0 to 62 mph time is impressive, but more impressive is its 621-mile range and 107-mpg claims—kinda makes one wonder why we haven't seen more diesel-electric concepts around. The 9.1-kWh battery can power the car for up to 31 miles at speeds of up to 37 mph.

In contrast, the R4 e-tron in Detroit had an all-electric powertrain based around two rear-mounted electric motors. That car took 5.9 seconds to reach 62 mph and had a range of 155 miles.

It's not clear how much, if any, of the new car will make it into production models, but we'd be surprised not to see a diesel-hybrid powertrain based partly on the concept show up somewhere down the line.

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