Audi has revealed its upcoming Audi R8 e-tron has lapped the Nurburgring in an impressive 8mins 9sec or just 5sec slower than the company’s conventional 424bhp 4.2-litre V8 powered Audi R8 at the hands of former grand prix driver Marcus Winkelhock during a recent round of testing at the legendary German circuit.
The lap time is described by Audi as a world record for a production car with electric drive.
It beats the 9min1sec mark set by Peugeot with its one-off EX1 concept car back in April. A subsequent attempt by Toyota in an electric powered Radical race car called the TMG EV P001 netted a non-production car Nürburgring lap time of 7mins48sec.
The German car maker also says its Mercedes-Benz SLS E-cell rivaling electric powered two seater will romp to 62mph from standstill in just 4.7sec – just one tenth of a second slower than its more conventional petrol powered sibling, proving the new car, which Audi hints will cost upwards of €200,000 or £160,000, won’t lack for overall performance when sales begin later this year.
Set to get its first public airing in production guise at the Paris motor show in September, the R8 e-tron shares its appearance with the standard R8. But the changes made to accommodate its two rear electric motors and lithium ion battery pack as well as a series of lightweight construction measures and altered suspension are sufficient enough that Audi’s outgoing head of development, Michael Dick, describes it as being all-new.
“Don’t let the styling fool you. The construction, drivetrain and chassis have been completely altered. It is essentially an all-new car – from the ground up, says Dick.
At the heart of the R8 e-tron, which Audi will place into limited production at the end of 2012, is a pair of mid-rear mounted synchronous electric motors – one for each wheel. Developing a total of 376bhp and sturdy 605lb ft of torque, they draw energy from a 550kg lithium ion battery mounted within the middle tunnel and provide direct drive to the rear wheels. In normal every day driving the hi-tech drivetrain is said to provide an overall range over 200km.