Audi e-tron quattro stars in Frankfurt (images, video)

Audi has no intention of letting the Tesla Model X be the only electric, long range SUV on the market. Unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show this week, the Audi e-tron quattro concept is slinky, sexy and svelte. With a claimed range of 311 miles in the European test cycle, it can storm to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds, thanks to three electric motors with a combined output of nearly 400 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque.

One electric motor powers the front wheels, while each rear wheel has its own motor. This arrangement allows for precise torque vectoring to provide just the right amount of power under all driving conditions. The concept should be in showrooms in early 2018, Audi says. The car will have a 95 kWh battery mounted low in the chassis for excellent handling. Charging at up to 150 kW will be possible using a CSS charger. A full recharge should take 50 minutes using the high power system. Wireless charging will also be an option.

The adaptive air suspension features controlled damping and lowers the body at higher speeds to reduce drag. The car will have excellent low and high speed handling, thanks to dynamic steering of the front wheels combined with a separate steering system for the rear wheels. Depending on speed and the driving situation, the rears can steer either opposite to or in the same direction as the front wheels.

“Audi will present an all-electric, luxury-class sport SUV in early 2018. The Audi e-tron quattro concept provides a concrete foretaste of this,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Audi board of management for technical development. “It combines driving pleasure with great range, an expressive design and excellent comfort.”

With its squared off hatchback configuration, the Audi e-tron quattro may offer more carrying capacity than the Tesla Model X with its steeply sloping rear roof – an important consideration for SUV shoppers. No prices for the new car have been offered by Audi as of yet.