2016 Audi R18 E-tron Quattro

Road worthy.

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After a lengthy run as winner of the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours cross-country race, held each year in France, Audi has been supplanted by Porsche recently. In a determined bid to reclaim the prestigious tile, the Audi Sport team has reinvented its R18 high performance vehicle, until 2016 based on the prototype R15. This car looks worthy of Formula One, but for Le Mans, endurance and reliability are as important as performance. So, the more practical applications of what Audi learns from its R18 will find their way into the cars at local dealerships sooner rather than later.

The R15 had won in 2010, the Audi R18 TDI in 2011, the R18 E-tron Quattro in 2012, 2013, and 2014, losing to the Porsche 919 hybrid in 2015. Hence the back-to-the-drawing-board approach for the 2016 racing year, and the result of basically an entirely new R18. The Audi R8 Coupe, the World Car Awards 2016 World Performance car, illustrates how relatively straight a line it is from the super power and performance of the prototypes to actual street cars. The new R18 will not be an exception to the rule.

Aerodynamics is valorized over aesthetics, but this is still an entrancing car to look at; a narrower nose and wider front are just the beginning. It has a V6 turbodiesel, hybrid boost engine, capable of delivering slightly over 1,000 horsepower. Le Mans and other high profile endurance races around the world are mandating increasingly lower fuel consumption numbers for entrants. This means automotive companies, and their engineers and designers, are under constant pressure to improve their intake numbers while maintaining (or increasing) performance. It appears with the 2016 Audi R18, all systems are a profound go.

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April 8, 2016