Audi plans to launch a hypercar to rival the likes of the Mercedes Project One and Aston Martin Valkyrie. Although the project was revealed by CEO Rupert Stadler at the Geneva motor show, it is only at an early development stage. If it goes ahead, the hypercar is likely to be launched towards the end of the decade, when Audi has committed to having three electric production cars on sale. The so-called Audi Q6 e-tron SUV will be the first to be launched next autumn, potentially under the e-tron brand name.
Rupert Stadler claims that he's looking forward to what's possible in terms of new technology. The Audi R8 e-tron project was canned just 19 months after being launched in 2016. Conceived to act as a showcase for the German car maker’s battery technology and electrical system know-how, it was powered by two electric motors producing a combined 456bhp and 679lb ft, with a 0-62mph time of just 3.9sec. It is not clear if the car under development will be a pure electric vehicle or use electric power to boost performance from a conventional engine, although Stadler’s comments point towards the former. Only McLaren has so far committed to developing a pure electric hypercar within its Ultimate Series of cars.
Audi previously investigated developing a diesel-electric Audi hypercar linked to its ultra-successful Le Mans efforts. However, that project was canned in 2014 by Audi's technical chief at the time, Ulrich Hackenberg, who said it was “an interesting idea but not a priority”. Talking about the new hypercar in Geneva, Stadler confirmed that they looked at doing a car using Le Mans technology but stepped back, as it was clear there was more to come in terms of performance in the future.