The Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept Debuts at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show

Not content to let the forthcoming Tesla Model X have the electric crossover market all to itself, Audi’s E-Tron Quattro concept previews a production model the German company says will go on sale in early 2018.

RELATED: 6 Best Concepts from Frankfurt Motor Show 2015

Audi E-Tron Video:

Audi E-Tron Powered by 3 Electric Motors

Unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, the crossover concept is not merely a clone of the 2016 Q7: it’s a little smaller, with the most notable difference its chopped roofline. If the look suggests an emphasis on performance over practicality, Audi’s specs confirm it: three electric motors (one powering the front wheels, and two out back) provide up to 496 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, good enough for a claimed 4.6-second sprint to 100 km/h. Tesla is promising more performance from its Model X, but Audi has much less to prove than Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

ALSO SEE: 2015 Audi RS7 Video Review

As the Quattro name and the trio of motors suggest, all four wheels are powered, with the two rear motors looked after by a ‘torque control manager’ that splits power between the left and right wheels for “maximum dynamics and stability.”

Aerodynamic and Obviously Fuel-Efficient

Audi says the concept’s sleek look was conceived in the name of aerodynamics, which it says helped its engineers achieve the E-Tron Quattro’s 500-km driving range. Nifty features include electrically-actuated aerodynamic elements on the hood, flanks, and rear end that adjust automatically at speeds over 80 km/h to keep wind resistance to a minimum.

The concept has wireless induction charging capability, as well as the usual wired connection, but Audi’s claim of a full charge in 50 minutes is wishful thinking with current charging technology.

Organic LED lighting plays a major role here, with OLED head- and taillights, and interior displays comprised entirely of these panels, currently used in flatscreen TVs and computer monitors.

Audi is mum on production model pricing, but bet on a six-figure tag when it rolls into showrooms two-and-a-half years from now.

audi e-tron

ALSO SEE: Audi Reviews