FRANKFURT — I'm writing this on the eve of the Frankfurt show following a big preview of new cars from the VW Group. That gives me the chance to preview what's to come from Porsche, Audi, VW and even Bentley. Remember, this is a far-flung empire that also includes Ducati, Bugatti, Skoda and Seat among its brands.
It's a story in pictures, because they didn't give us much information on the cars. The kicker is that both Audi and Porsche plan to field battery electrics, around 2018. Audi is offering an SUV with quattro all-wheel drive, and Porsche showed a four-seat concept vehicle called the Mission E. Both are said to be capable of 500 kilometers (310 miles) on a charge, though the drivetrains differ.
And both will plug into fast charging that should get them full in 50 minutes. Wireless charging is coming, Audi of America President Scott Keogh told me, confirming that his brand is making a big push to electrify its fleet.
The Mission E uses a pair of electric motors to produce more than 600 horsepower, and it's all-wheel-drive like the Audi. Zero to 62 mph is said to be 3.5 seconds.The enthusiasts are drooling.
The e-tron quattro concept offers Prius-like aerodynamic drag of 0.25, three electric motors (one on the front, and two on the rear axle) and a 370-kilowatt drivetrain (429 horsepower). Zero to 62 mph takes 4.6 seconds, and it will hit 130 mph (electronically limited).
As for charging, the concept offers a few ways to fill up the 95-kWh battery pack. There's the expected SAE Combo/Combined Charging System (CCS) outlet as well as wireless induction charging. Audi says that a 150-kW DC fast charger can fill up the pack in around 50 minutes, but good luck finding a plug that can handle that much power – even in 2018.
VW also showed a new plug-in hybrid concept, the Tiguan GTE. That's got a 214-horsepower hybrid drivetrain, with 1.4-liter gas engine and small electric motor. There's a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, a solar panel on the roof, and a range of up to 621 miles (in good weather).
Oh, and Bentley also showed off the Bentayga SUV. All the big luxury brands are fielding SUVs these days. This one isn't green, but it does make more than 600 horsepower from a 12-cylinder powertrain.
There's much more to come from Frankfurt.