Audi has unveiled new PB18 e-tron concept at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The newly revealed concept will go in to production to be introduced as a new range-topping electric supercar, which will serve as an eventual replacement for the second-generation R8. The newly revealed PB18 e-tron concept gets the name from Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance itself and is billed as a vision for the “high-performance supercar of tomorrow”.
The Audi PB18 e-tron concept has been created in a joint design and engineering program between the newly established Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California, and Audi Sport in Neckarsulm, Germany. The concept hints towards how the Audi future supercars will look and also hints at the Audi’s plans to adopt the latest in solid-state battery technology in order to radically reduce the weight and improve the packaging of its upcoming e-tron models. To bring the kerb weight less than 1,550kg, the PB18’s body uses aluminium, carbon-fibre and plastic composite materials apart from a four-wheel-drive system. With a length of 4,530 mm, width of 2,000 mm and a height of 1,150 mm, the PB18 e-tron is around 100 mm longer, 60 mm wider and 90 mm lower than the current R8. The concept sports a wheelbase that is 50 mm longer than the existing R8.
Gael Buzyn, head of the Audi Design Loft said, “We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18. That’s why we developed the interior around the ideal driver’s position in the centre. Nevertheless, our aim was to also give the PB18 e-tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver, but also for a potential passenger.”
Talking about the design and styling, the PB18 e-tron concept takes forward the design elements first seen on the Audi Aicon concept that was showcased at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. However, the Aicon concept looks more dramatic with the cab-forward silhouette. The highlights of the newly revealed concept include heavily structured front end featuring a bold hexagon shape grille and large air ducts, as well as thin ‘laser’ headlamps and a prominent splitter designed to direct air evenly across a flat under tray. The large front wheel arches, wide sills and cooling ducts within the leading edge of the rear wheels along with 22-inch wheels, each featuring eight asymmetric spokes meant to resemble turbine inlets, and shod with 275/35 front and 35/30 rear tyres make the concept all decked up for the sportscar enthusiasts. At the rear it offers an adjustable rear spoiler, a full-width light bar and a high-mounted adjustable diffuser that can be adjusted downward to increase downforce.
At the inside, the concept comes with a variable cockpit design that allows the driver’s seat and dashboard to be positioned in two ways – either to the left of the interior, like a typical road car, or in the centre, as in a traditional race car. Providing a hint at the look of a modern-day shooting brake, an extended cockpit has been incorporated raked rear-side windows and a large rear window. However, the adoption of the shooting brake design and lack of complex drivetrain hardware at the rear underscores Audi’s desire for everyday usability, resulting in a 470-litre boot. Also, this all-electric concept was developed under the working title Level Zero however; the model does not feature any of the autonomous driving functions that recent Audi concept cars get for a more straight-forward approach.
Mechanically, the concept comes equipped with three electric motors- one mounted within the front axle delivering 201 bhp and two sited within the rear axle each producing 234 bhp of maximum power. The combined system output is 671 bhp, however with a boost function it can reach up to 764 bhp for brief periods, giving the car a power-to-weight ratio of 509 bhp per tonne. The torque then peaks up to 830 Nm. In comparison, the most powerful R8 variant is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-litre petrol V10 motor that makes 602 bhp and 660 Nm. With the four-wheel-drive traction provides the PB18 e-tron with a theoretical 0-100 kmph time of “scarcely more than two seconds”. Though, Audi hasn't revealed the top speed yet, but it surely has confirmed that the car is good for speeds of more than 300 kmph, depending on range.
Mounted underneath the boot, a liquid-cooled solid-state battery with a capacity of 95 kWh provides energy to the three motors and is claimed to provide a maximum range of up to 500km on the latest WLTP cycle. Audi also claims significant efficiency gains with its newest electric driveline due to the adoption of a new regenerative braking system. Also, similar to the current R8, the cab-forward design of the PB18 e-tron serves to provide it with a centre of gravity located behind the seats.
Audi also claims that the PB18 e-tron’s battery can be fully charged in around 15 minutes with the 800V compatibility, alternatively it can be charged wirelessly via induction as well. Also, the PB18 e-tron uses a suspension system inspired by the R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 racer drawing a link to the motorsport activities, with independent lower and upper transverse control arms, a pushrod system up front and a pull rod arrangement at the rear, while each end is fitted with variable magnetic ride dampers.
Stay tuned to V3cars.com for further updates on the Audi PB18 e-tron concept.