Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Goes From Virtual Reality to Real-Life Car

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【Summary】What started off as a simple concept for the Vision Gran Turismo program is now coming to life to act as a race taxi for Formula E.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 27, 2018 9:00 AM PT
Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Goes From Virtual Reality to Real-Life Car

Any video game enthusiast that has spent some time playing one of Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo racing video games knows what a "Vision Gran Turismo" is. Back in 2013, Polyphony Digital entered into a partnership with numerous automakers, including General Motors, BMW, Audi, Alfa Romeo, and Nissan, to bring bespoke concepts for Play Station owners to pilot virtually around a track. 

From Virtual Reality To A Real Racetrack 

The program brought about some incredible machines, that designers and automakers couldn't resist bringing to life. The latest example of a concept that was specifically built for the video game, but has now been brought to life is the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo. The best part of the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is that it will be used in an actual racing setting — as the taxi vehicle in Formula E. 

After coming out with the virtual product, Audi and its brilliant designers took the time to make a real-life, drivable version of the concept. While the vehicle won't do any racing of its own, the car will be a way for Audi's Formula E personnel to get around the track. That's not as enjoyable as what virtual racers will be able to do in the vehicle, but it's better than nothing. 

Other automakers have made Vision Gran Turismo concepts for the racing game, but none have actually made real-life variants that have been used in some form of motorsport application. The vehicle also shares a similar look to vehicles with real motorsport pedigree with an enormous rear spoiler, a wide, hunkered down look, and vents throughout the entire body. 

The design may seem a little outrageous, but Audi apparently knew that it wanted to make a functional vehicle from the get-go. 

"Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are only hard to implement in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels. Our aim was a fully functional car," said Audi's chief designer Marc Lichte. "This car incorporates numerous elements of our new design language such as the inverted single frame in the vehicle's color that will be typical for our new e-tron models."

Blistering Performance From An Electric Powertrain

With its incredible looks, you'd expect the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo to have a punchy powertrain and it doesn't disappoint on that front either. While Audi isn't giving all of the concept's specs away, the vehicle does have three electric motors power the front and rear axles. All together, they produce 805 horsepower. That's good for a zero-to-60-mph time of just 2.5 seconds. It also has a 50-50 weight distribution and a curb weight of 3,197 pounds. Those two items are things that automakers are having trouble with when it comes to EVs. 

Only Audi officials will have access to the vehicle in the real world, but players have access to two variants of the car. One is the machine that we described above and looks like the one you see here, while the other is a hybrid version that has a black grille. That vehicle features a 3.4-liter turbocharged V6 powertrain that makes a combined 1,274 hp. Isn't the virtual world amazing? 

For individuals with a Play Station and a copy of Gran Turismo, the cars are available in-game as of writing. For everyone else, we had our first chance to spot the real-life vehicle on April 14 during the Formula E Rome GP. The vehicle will most likely find its way to the race in Paris on April 28, though, if you missed it the first time.

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