Even before Audi uses the R-18 E-tron Quattro's laser-light technology in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the German carmaker is unveiling the system publicly in the Sport Quattro Laserlight concept at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show scheduled from January 6 to 10 in Las Vegas, USA.
The car's dual headlights, a typical Quattro feature, demonstrate the future of lighting technology "by combining matrix LED and laser-light technologies." Two low-profile trapezoidal elements are visible within the headlights, with the outer one generating a low-beam light using matrix LEDs and an aperture mask, and the inner element producing laser light for high-beam functionality.
According to Audi, the lighting technology makes use of powerful laser diodes that are significantly smaller than LED diodes. Illuminating the road for a distance of nearly 500m, the laser high-beam light supposedly has twice the lighting range and three times the luminosity of LED high-beam lights.
An evolutionary stage of the classic Sport Quattro of 1983, the coupe's body proportions give it a sporty balance with its short overhangs, a width of 1,964mm and a height of just 1,386mm. Other design elements of the car that hark back to the classic Sport Quattro are the angular, swept-back C-pillars, the blisters above the fenders, and the swept-back glass cabin.
Carbon-fiber reinforced polymers are also plentiful in the Sport Quattro Laserlight concept, like the splitter which is located far to the front like on a race car, the diffuser which extends upward significantly, and the taillights which are backed by a black CFRP panel.
A 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine powers the Sport Quattro Laserlight concept, with an output of 560hp and a torque of 700Nm. With its cylinder-on-demand system, the car can run on four cylinders under partial load, while a start/stop system also makes the V8 very fuel-efficient. An electric motor situated between the 4.0-liter engine and the eight-speed transmission produces 148hp and 400Nm, and provides enough energy to run "for up to 50km of all-electric driving."