Audi may have abandoned endurance racing and retired its R18 race car, but it’s still hooked on developing motorsport technology. The PB18 e-Tron, which was just unveiled at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, is proof of that. It’s described as “a radical vision for the high-performance sports car of tomorrow” and looks unlike any other Audi out there.
The radical design becomes more visible on the sides due to the flat and wide stance
While it looks a bit like the R8 thanks to its sleek headlamps and short nose, the PB18 is far more aggressive. The usual Singleframe grille was replaced with a bigger opening, while the side vents are downright massive. The thin, carbon-fiber splitter is a clear sign that this concept could compete for a new Nurburgring record.
The radical design becomes more visible on the sides due to the flat and wide stance. Also, the heavily raked windshield that extends close to the nose gives the car a space shuttle appearance. There are massive 22-inch wheels inspired by turbines, massive vents in the rear fenders, and, weirdly enough for a car developed in the aerodynamic tunnel, a shooting brake-style roof. The rear is equally intriguing, with the tailgate, the taillights, and the some of the fascia built in the same V-shape element. A huge opening separates the fascia from the bumper, which includes an aggressive diffuser.
The driver’s seat can be moved from the traditional left-hand drive position to the center of the cockpit
While the exterior is pretty wild, the cabin is actually very close to a modern production car. There aren’t any futuristic design cues and tech, and the instrument cluster is almost as basic as a race car’s. Surprisingly enough, there’s no semi of fully autonomous technology.
However, there’s one cool feature to discuss. The driver’s seat can be moved from the traditional left-hand drive position to the center of the cockpit. This can be achieved thanks to a seat and cockpit that are integrated into an inner monocoque shell that can be slid laterally. When there’s no need for a passenger seat, the monocoque can be positioned in the center of the interior as in a Formula One car, which is considered to be the perfect location for the racetrack. The car also features a by-wire design of the steering and pedals, allowing them to be moved accordingly. It’s just like in the McLaren F1, but only cooler.
To keep things fancy, which is a bit strange for a track-oriented car, Audi designed an exclusive luggage set customized to fit the cargo space in the back.
The motors deliver up to 150 kW to the front axle and 350 kW to the rear, while maximum output is 500 kW, with a temporary boost of up to 570 kW.
While there’s no autonomous drive to talk about, the PB18 e-Tron is a fully electric car. Audi dropped three electric motors under the shell, one up front and two in the rear. The motors deliver up to 150 kW to the front axle and 350 kW to the rear, while maximum output is 500 kW, with a temporary boost of up to 570 kW. That’s an impressive 764 horsepower. Torque is rated at 612 pound-feet, which is a bit less than I expected given the output. The PB18 e-Tron is astoundingly fast though, needing “scarcely more” than two seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start. That’s almost as fast as Audi’s LMP1 prototype. The 95 kWh battery is big enough to provide 310 miles of range per charge. Not bad for a supercar.