The race is well and truly on to find the world’s best hybrid super car. Manufacturers all over the world are slowly unveiling their models. At the very top end of the spectrum, we have LeFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder. These are hybrid supercars that can produce nearly 1000 brake horsepower. That’s nearly as much as a Formula 1 car. When it comes to more affordable hybrid sports cars, the BMW i8 is generally considered the finest.
Until now, perhaps. This week, Audi unveiled its new R8 range. Audi’s first supercar was a wild success and the next generation looks exceptional. However, one model in particular caught our eye: the R8 E-Tron. It’s a hybrid model that looks poised to rival the BMW i8. It may even pave the way for a competitor in the sedan range against the Tesla Model S. Audi originally teased the E-Tron concept six years ago, and today it is finally here.
The Audi R8 was a revolution when it first arrived. Audi have always been respected in the world of executive cars. But, this was their first stab at a super car. Boy, was it good. The R8 was universally adored by car enthusiasts all over the world. The speed and power was balanced perfectly with precision and handling. The R8 is a joy to drive and the next generation looks even better.
Car manufacturers have slowly realised the potential of hybrid engines. What was once thought to be slow and inefficient has proved otherwise. Manufacturers are now using hybrid engines to unlock even more horsepower. With two engines, they can maximise twice the power. In fact, the fastest road car around the Nurburgring is a hybrid car: the Porsche 918 Spyder. The difficulty has been storing enough energy in the battery to be efficient. Audi have built the lithium ion battery themselves and it may just be the best in the world.
It is T-shaped, fitting perfectly around the engine parts and sitting low to the ground. That gives the R8 an impeccable balance and a low center of gravity. It is state of the art and uses fantastic recuperation technology. It uses regenerative braking to capture lost energy and divert it back to the battery. This technology is not uncommon. You’ll find it in top of the range SUVs at Saxton 4×4 and most modern hybrids. But, in the R8, they have made it more sophisticated than ever.
The E-tron’s real selling point is its charge range. Most electric cars have struggled to capitalise with poor battery life. However, Audi claim that the E-Tron will get 276 miles from a single charge. Not only that but it will recharge in as little as two hours. Fear not, there is no compromise on power for this range either. The R8 will produce a fantastic 456bhp.
We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this new R8. Can it really compete with the brilliant BMW i8? As soon as we get our hands on one, we’ll let you know!
The Audi plans to include “synthetic sound” E-Tron in leau of safety concerns about its silent motor. The result is a really neat, futuristic sound like something you would hear from a Star Wars pod racer.