Audi has released a few more details about its upcoming e-tron SUV, including confirmation that it will be offered with optional “virtual” side mirrors (presumably only in markets in which they have been deemed legal).
The Ingolstadt-based automaker says its Audi e-tron prototype has already recorded more than 1 000 hours on a test rig in “the world’s quietest vehicle wind tunnel” in an attempt to perfect the electric vehicle’s efficiency in readiness for the series production model.
The result, says Audi, is a drag coefficient of just 0,28 (which would make the e-tron the slipperiest SUV out there), helping it achieve a claimed range of more than 400 km on the new WLTP cycle.
The optional virtual side mirrors are far narrower than standard items, reducing the vehicle’s width by 150 mm and, thanks to their shape, cutting drag (and wind noise, according to Audi).
So, how do they work? Well, each of their flat supports integrates a small camera. The resulting captured images appear on OLED displays in the transition between the instrument panel and door. Audi says the virtual mirrors can be adapted for various driving situations, including motorway driving, turning and parking.
The standard adaptive air suspension also contributes to a reduction in drag, automatically lowering the body by up to an additional 26 mm at speeds above 120 km/h. The underbody of the SUV is fully enclosed, while a controllable cool-air inlet up front also helps to lower drag.
In addition, the side air inlets at the front of the vehicle incorporate additional ducts, which channel air past the outside of the aerodynamically optimised 19-inch alloys. The 255/55 tyres, says Audi, boast ultra-low rolling resistance, with even their sidewalls adding to the aerodynamic design since the lettering is indented rather than raised.
Audi is expected to reveal the production version of the e-tron at the end of August 2018.