Many bold automotive start-ups die without either a bang or a whimper, simply disappearing without ever delivering on their promises.
That’s not the case with E-Legend, the German start-up that two years ago announced its plan for an electric supercar inspired by the 1980s Audi Sport Quattro.
We met the EL1 concept and the team behind it at the 2021 Munich motor show. Since then, work has been continuing steadily in the background, and E-Legend has now built a prototype of the EL1’s carbonfibre structure and four-wheel-drive powertrain – which I got to experience with a breezy but thrilling passenger ride at the Oberschleissheim airfield near Munich recently.
The 2021 concept was an exterior styling model; this prototype is the exact opposite. It’s like seeing the finished car through X-ray glasses.
While designed to be functional, the carbonfibre structure is also impressively well finished up front, the central carbonfibre structure having subframes mounted to each end for the double-wishbone suspension and motors.
E-Legend is planning a series of Group B rally-inspired replicas using the same basic platform. The lower part of the tub will be common to all, while the upper structure and body will be changed.
The wheelbase will be changed for the other cars by varying the distance between the tub and the rear axle, but E-Legend boss Marcus Holzinger confirms that the EL1’s 2445mm will be the shortest – and that’s still 241mm longer than the wheelbase of the Sport Quattro.
Two years ago, we were told the plan was for a triple-motor driveline, with one at the front and two at the rear, driving through a shared differential. That has since been revised, with the prototype now having one motor at each end. The rear one comes from a well-known manufacturer, although the team isn’t yet willing to say which.
System power is unchanged, at 804bhp, with the front motor able to deliver up to 268bhp and the rear one 536bhp. Torque peaks at 774lb ft. Energy comes from a T-shaped 80kWh battery pack that’s fitted between the passenger compartment and extends into the tunnel between the two seats.
E-Legend predicts the finished car will go from 0-62mph in 2.9sec and achieve a 7.5sec 0-124mph time.
The prototype isn’t quite up to delivering those numbers yet, currently making a maximum of 603bhp, according to Günter Riedl, whose Roding company is leading development. (Roding also created the electric powertrain for Wiesmann’s Project Thunderball roadster.)
The test mule also has a fixed 35% front, 65% rear torque split and no form of traction control, plus open differentials at both ends.