Audi’s R8 e-tron Sets a ‘Ring Record
by Zack Klapman
Fit Audi e-tron is go, and is go quote fast. It has set the record for fastest electric production vehicle around the Nordschleife. The only other lap time I could find of an electric was the Toyota EV P001, but since that weighs 2,100lbs and is a race car, it does not count. So the e-tron reigns king, but even though it’s in a class of it’s own, literally, that does not mean it’s slow. Like Cartman entering the special Olympics, you’d be foolish to think it’s lap time of 8:09.099 is slow.
That is faster than a Audi S5, 1997 Viper GTS, and E60 BMW M5. It’s tied with Audi’s own RS4 (2006) and not that far behind a CLK63 Black Series (8:02) and V-8 R8. And the e-tron’s wings were clipped; it had a speed limiter set at 155MPH. 604 ft-lbs of instant torque no doubt yanked it out of corners like opening the emergency door at 35,000 feet, but that limiter definitely added some seconds on the big straights.
Like when Porsche announced the 918 Spyder, the development of electric cars like the e-tron keep the razor away from my wrists. Gasoline prices may rise but thankfully there will cars aimed at driving, not merely transportation. Audi Board Member Michael Dick said, “To us, electric mobility has never been about sacrifice, but rather is about emotion, sportiness and driving pleasure.” Sure it’s great PR, but the lap time means this car’s ability through corners is legit. Electric karting is still damn fun, so this should be too.
But this car brought me back to Chris Harris and Mike Spinelli’s conversation yesterday, “Is technology making cars worse?” The e-tron has instant torque, AWD and vectoring everywhere, but what does it feel like? With no engine note, no presumable imperfections in handling (besides the 3,900lb curb weight), seamless power and no shifting, I can’t help wonder if it will feel even less like a car and more like, say, a simulator?