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Audi planning electric Tesla Model S rival?

A9 e-tron model predicted to be an electric range-topper for Audi.

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Reports suggest Audi has approved production of a new electric saloon to rival the Tesla Model S.

The car, predicted to be called the A9 e-tron, will be a four-wheel-drive four-door electric vehicle (EV) comparable in size to a current A8 and the range topper for the brand’s e-tron range.

Speaking to Autocar magazine, Audi head Ruper Stadler says that the brand will have three EVs in its line-up by 2020 and by 2025 a quarter of the Audi line-up will be EVs.

The A9 will be developed alongside the forthcoming Q6 e-tron SUV, the two sharing much of their technology and built on a platform developed from that of the e-tron quattro concept unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

This car has three electric motors, one at the front and two at the rear, powered by a lithium-ion battery pack integrated into the floor, and currently produces 320kW (435hp) boostable to 270kW (503hp) and 800Nm of torque.

Both the Q6 and A9 e-tron models are expected to follow a similar drivetrain format.

Industry reports say that the A9 e-tron will be capable of 131mph and produce a 0-62mph time of 131mph. Its range is said to be up to 500km between charges.

Further technology on the car will include significant advances in autonomous driving capability – increasing to what has been dubbed ‘level 4’. The new A8 due in 2017 is predicted to include level 3 automation that will allow it to control itself at up to 37mph on motorways. Level 4 is said to take the technology off the motorway.

The quattro e-tron concept of 2015 previews Audi's future electric range-topper.
The quattro e-tron concept of 2015 previews Audi’s future electric range-topper.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.