After we saw Audi's electric "turbo" on last year's RS 5 TDI concept, we knew it was just a matter of time before it made a return. It resurfaces this year on the 2.5-liter TFSI of the all-new Audi TT clubsport concept car. Developed for Volkswagen's annual Wörthersee event, the clubsport attacks the track with 600 hp and a big, brutal aerodynamics kit.
The Volkswagen Group never misses the opportunity to use its annual Wörthersee GTI-Treffen enthusiast gathering as a platform to appeal to the horsepower-hungry with loud, powerful engine tunes and big, oversized aerodynamics. In the past, it's revealed concepts like the GTI Roadster Vision GT and Polo R WRC.
One of this year's big reveals, the Audi TT clubsport has both a potent, high-tech power plant and a hulking body kit. The 2.5-liter TFSI five-cylinder engine puts out 600 hp (441 kW) and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque with help from its electric "turbo" compressor and conventional turbocharger. That breaks down to an impressive 240 hp and 192 lb-ft per liter, distributed to all four wheel's by Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
"The electric biturbo signifies a new dimension in driving enjoyment; it boosts sprinting ability and torque and enables high peak power," explains Audi board member for technical development Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. "In our TDI engines, we are close to production readiness with this technology. We are now presenting it in a TFSI – here too, we are the first automaker in the world to do this. For our fans at Wörthersee, we have packaged the electric biturbo in a very sporty show car."
The electric compressor cuts the lag that turbochargers reliant on exhaust gas experience. With the ability to rev right up to max rpm, the e-turbo gives the car pep from low engine speeds, allowing the conventional turbo to be designed specifically for high charge pressures. The electric compressor is powered by the 48-volt electrical sub-system that Audi is developing for eventual production. The system stores energy in a small, recuperation-charged lithium-ion battery mounted in the trunk and is wired into the traditional 12-volt system by a DC/DC connection.
Other key elements of the TT clubsport's build include the quattro permanent all-wheel drive with rear axle-mounted multi-plate clutch, coilover suspension, electric lift system, electronic stabilization control, torque vectoring and carbon-ceramic disc brakes.
In terms of styling, Dr. Hackenberg's description of a "sporty show car" reads like an understatement after that massive rear wing catches your eye. "Surly and aggressive" might be a more accurate way of characterizing it.
The concept includes a wide-body kit with a set of exaggerated, vented fenders, helping to puff it out to 6.5 ft (2 m), 5.5 in (14 cm) wider than the production TT. The tracks have also been widened to 68.3 in (174 cm) up front and 68.1 in (173 cm) at the rear. The car rides on 20-in twin-spoke wheels with a bi-color finish.
The wide body kit may make the clubsport look large and heavy, but the car is actually lighter than the standard TT with 2.0-liter TFSI turbo engine. It tips the scales at 3,078 lb (1,396 kg), a modest weight that gives the 600 ponies under the hood free rein to send the car sprinting from 0 to 62 (100 km/h) in 3.6 seconds, on the way to a top speed of over 192 mph (310 km/h). Audi says that the electric turbo helps the car roll 52.5 feet (16 m) in the initial 2.5 seconds, nearly 20 feet (6 m) farther than a comparable TT without electric turbocharging.
The track-targeted look continues inside, where an ultra-high-strength titanium cage adds integrity to the rear cabin. Front race buckets with four-point harnesses, Audi's virtual cockpit, orange and black Alcantara, and carbon fiber trim round out the sporty cabin.
The GTI-Treffen starts today and runs through the 16th. The TT clubsport will be joined there by other wild concept cars from around the VW brand family.