Saturday, August 17, 2013

Audi teases a hybrid you'd actually want to own

Let's get this out of the way -- the Prius is not cool. You're not a better person for driving one. It's a dull, staid, annoyingly underwhelming car. That it's a hybrid, and seemingly carries the green flag for all of motoring, is even more irritating, given the mediocrity of the car itself. Flying in the face of vehicles such as the Tesla Model S, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, which offer truly green motoring (though the Volt admittedly uses a petrol engine to get maximum range from its electric motor), the Prius is not a car you should own. Hybrids, though? They can be cool. They can be desirable. They can be this.
This is a tease in the teasiest sense of the word -- Audi have unveiled a hybrid concept entirely in sketch form. Those sketches, though, paint a picture of a truly exciting, muscular sports car. Set to debut at the Frankfurt motor show, the Quattro Sport E-Tron Concept (catchy, right?) is expected to feature a twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor bolted on somewhere for good measure to boost power up to that magical 700-horses figure. As for its green credentials? It manages a measly 21.7 miles on electricity alone, but that's not really what the electric engine is here for.
Taking notes from the Lexus school of hybrid motoring, the engine is used purely to boost the car's speed and power, without the usual hit to fuel economy and emissions that come from installing a bigger, higher-tuned engine. According to motoring magazine Auto Zeitung, the Quattro should top 205mph, and reach 62mph in under 4 seconds. A Prius this isn't.
Expect more details, and shots of the vehicle in the metal, when it debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.