Last September, Audi showed off its e-tron electric car concept at the Frankfurt auto show. The company brought another e-tron to Detroit, this one lighter weight but only having two-wheel-drive. This second generation e-tron is powered by a lithium ion battery just in front of the rear wheels, accounting for 880 pounds of the car's 2,976 pounds of total weight.
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Air intakes in front of the car are normally closed, but open up when cooling is needed for the battery and converter. The e-tron uses LED lights all-around, with very innovative adaptive front lights. The lighting pattern dynamically changes depending on weather conditions and oncoming traffic. There are no separate fog lights, as the headlights change the projection shape automatically in foggy conditions. The headlights also use the navigation system to know when a turn is coming up, focusing into the curve before the driver steers.
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Unlike the e-tron shown in Frankfurt, the Detroit show car only has two motors, powering each rear wheel. Torque is vectored from wheel to wheel dynamically to correct understeer and oversteer while cornering. These motors give the car only 204 horsepower but 1,955 pound-feet of torque, resulting in acceleration to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds.
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Where the earlier e-tron looked like an R8, this new version has the style and dimensions closer to the TT. With its lithium ion battery pack, Audi estimates a range of 155 miles.
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In the cabin, Audi experimented with using a minimum number of buttons and knobs. Most cabin tech functions are controlled by the MMI knob on the console, and displayed in the instrument cluster LCD. With flattened bottom and top on the steering wheel, it suggests a sport design.
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The drive selector and the MMI knob mounted on the center console recede when the car is turned off, continuing the theme of keeping a clean cabin design.
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