You’re looking at the part-coupe, part-shooting brake concept supercar that Audi is planning to slot into the R8’s boots one day. And you’re not likely to miss it, are you?
The PB18 e-tron, named for its debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, is a two-door supercar with as much as 162bhp and 199lb ft more than the current R8 V10 Plus. That, in case you’re wondering (of course you are), will catapult the four-wheel drive EV to 62mph in ‘scarcely more than two seconds.’ Bye bye, 911 Turbo S… and just about anything else.
It’s also capable of topping 186mph, but only if there’s enough juice in the tank to fuel the thirsty motors. When charge gets low, performance is limited, but hey, it’s all relative. Speaking of the batteries, there’s 95kWh worth of liquid-cooled solid-state goodness tucked away in the muscular sub-1550kg body, built with the extensive use of carbonfibre and posh plastics.
Like the Porsche Taycan, the PB18 uses 800-volt charging electrics, but can work with 400v systems as well. It’s said to offer full recharging in as little as 15 minutes, but there are currently major limiting factors in battery technology that have to manage both heat build-up and network demand, and actual charging speeds could be much, much lower. Wireless induction charging is also an option.
As for driving range, that’s currently pinned at 311 miles according to the tougher WLTP test cycle. The driver will be able to boost that by using the brakes intelligently. Up to moderate braking forces the electric motors become generators and send precious energy back to the battery. Hydraulic carbon discs, measuring a crazy 19 inches across, will only handle heavy braking. We can’t help but think, though, that in road use these heat-sensitive stoppers will always be stone cold…
Two motors sit on the rear axle and one at the front. The latter coughs up 201bhp – more than a MkV VW Golf GTI – while the back pair manage 234bhp each. The beady-eyed reader will have noticed a shortfall between the sum of these three and the claimed 764bhp, and it’s because the full whack comes courtesy of an overboost function. Standard peak output is 671bhp.
Inspired partly by the Le Mans-dominating R18 LMP1 racer, the PB18 shares a similar suspension setup. The driver sits in the centre, and passengers… well, there’s only room for one, and only if the driver chooses to alter the ‘variable cockpit’ layout to make room.
Part of its next-gen interior tech includes a head-up display that can overlay ideal racing lines according to the race track you’re on at the time, giving you the inside track on an unfamiliar circuit just like you can get in racing games. On the road, the HUD can display detailed navigation instructions.
The 4.53-metre speed machine is also 2.0 metres wide and just 1.15m tall. You could probably drive it under plenty of car park barriers, but don’t expect the production version to be so low. Exactly when the PB18 will make production is now the last big unknown…