Last month, Audi surprised us with the announcement of an electric supercar concept. Today during Monterey Car Week, we get our first look at the car, dubbed the PB18 E-Tron, and surprise, surprise, it’s a stunning shooting brake.
Audi might be German, but the PB18 E-Tron concept was designed in America, at the brand’s new Design Loft in Malibu, California. From the rear three-quarter vantage, it reminds us of another shooting brake, the Callaway Corvette Aerowagen, while the full-width taillight recalls the Bugatti Chiron. The two-piece side windows also bring the Lamborghini Countach and Subaru SVX to mind.
Audi says the PB18 has the proportions and cab-forward layout of a mid-engine supercar, but since there’s no engine, there’s more room for driver and cargo. The car has lots of cool aero details, too, including a grille and hood opening that direct air up over the windshield, pocket fender vents front and rear, and a diffuser and spoiler that can be adjusted to provide more downforce. The hood opening is designed to give drivers an unobstructed view of the road ahead, with an OLED screen in the cockpit that displays ideal cornering lines when driving on track.
The driver sits in a floating monocoque that slides side-to-side in the cockpit, moving to the center for track use—allowing ideal outward vision and weight balance—then back to the traditional position for normal driving.
The PB18 E-Tron is all-wheel drive, with one electric motor at the front axle and two at the rear for torque vectoring. Total power output is 670 hp, but Audi says this can rise temporarily to 764 hp in certain scenarios. Torque is a meaty 612 lb-ft, and Audi says 0-62 mph acceleration takes just over 2.0 seconds. The battery is liquid-cooled and solid-state, with an energy capacity of 95kWh. Range is 310 miles, based on European testing procedures.
The body is made from aluminum, carbon fiber and other composites, with total vehicle weight of around 3400 lbs. The suspension design is inspired by the Le Mans-winning Audi R18, with pushrods at the front axle and pullrods at the rear, plus magnetic dampers. As you’d expect from a concept car, the wheels are massive, at 22 inches, and they hide absurdly large 19-inch carbon-ceramic brake discs.
You’d also expect a futuristic electric-car concept to have all sorts of self-driving tech. In this case, you’d be wrong. Audi’s internal code-name for this car was “Level 0,” which is SAE-speak for a car with no autonomous driving features whatsoever. This is a driver’s car, by design.
Of course, you’re probably wondering if Audi will build this. We wonder that too—Audi hasn’t commented on any production-car possibilities with this model. The first mainstream electric Audi, the E-Tron SUV, should arrive next month, while a sporty four-door EV, the E-Tron GT, is set to debut in 2020. We think this high-performance shooting brake would make an excellent addition to that lineup.