WOLFSBURG, APRIL 10 — It used to be that driving video games put drivers behind the virtual wheels of car that were on the roads and race tracks around the world, giving them the chance to drive things like Formula 1 cars they'd never be able to get close to in real life.
That's now being turned on its head as Audi has just unveiled its new e-tron Vision Gran Turismo. It's a fully functioning coupe designed to be a marketing spearhead for its e-tron electric car brand and Formula E involvement, but which started off its life as an imaginary model in the “Gran Turismo” video game on Sony's PlayStation 4.
In its virtual form the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo was originally conceived to celebrate the "Gran Turismo" game's 15th anniversary in 2013, but now it's been turned into a reality by Audi to be part of a marketing campaign built around its new e-tron electric car sub-brand.
The specification sheet certainly reads like something from a video game because powering this new four-wheel drive supercar is 805 bhp of all-electric power. The car is set to be deployed as a race taxi at selected upcoming Formula E events, and it's said to hint at the low-slung two-door styling of a potential zero-emission flagship being considered by Audi.
If it goes ahead, it would sit in the range as a performance figurehead above the company's recently confirmed four-door e-tron GT in an expanding line-up of electric-only production models due to be launched for sale in the coming years.
At the moment this remains a one-off prototype that has been constructed at Audi's pre-production workshop in Ingolstadt, but it will be used to provide selected customers and guests of the company with high-speed passenger rides during Formula E race weekends, which get underway in Rome, Italy on April 14.
Peter Mertens, the head of Audi R&D, says of the car: “With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races – in the middle of the world's metropolises. We are expanding our gathering of valuable experience also in extremely demanding conditions.” — AFP-Relaxnews