Attendees at this week’s 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show will witness a showdown between Germany’s luxury automakers, but while this is to be expected considering it’s a German event, the row between the automakers will center on their respective visions for future ecological motoring rather than the traditional horsepower wars.

While we have already seen Mercedes-Benz's and BMW’s offerings in the form of the respective electric SLS AMG and Vision EfficientDynamics concept cars, we now have our first look at Audi’s Frankfurt highlight--the 2009 R8 e-Tron.

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

Attendees at this week’s 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show will witness a showdown between Germany’s luxury automakers, but while this is to be expected considering it’s a German event, the row between the automakers will center on their respective visions for future ecological motoring rather than the traditional horsepower wars.

While we have already seen Mercedes-Benz's and BMW’s offerings in the form of the respective electric SLS AMG and Vision EfficientDynamics concept cars, we now have official details for Audi’s Frankfurt highlight--the 2009 R8 E-Tron.

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

In the past couple of weeks Audi has teased us with a special website and some trailer videos all featuring a central theme of electrical power and now we can clearly see why.

Four motors--two each at the front and rear axles--drive the wheels, making the concept car a true quattro all-wheel drive. Producing 313 horsepower and 3,319.03 pound-feet of torque, the two-seater accelerates from 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds, and from 37-75 mph in 4.1 seconds. The top speed is limited 124.27 mph, as the amount of energy required by the electric motors increases disproportionately to speed.

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

An array of lithium-ion batteries provides an energy content of 42.4 kilowatt hours to enable a range of approximately 154 miles.

The E-Tron is able to freely distribute the powerful torque of its four electric motors to the wheels as required. This so-called torque vectoring allows for impressive dynamics and handling ability. Further improving handling is the location of the battery directly behind the passenger cabin for an optimal center of gravity and axle load distribution.

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

2009 Audi R8 e-Tron Concept

Furthermore, Audi has taken a new approach to many of the technical modules. A heat pump is used to efficiently warm up and heat the interior. The drive system, the power electronics and the battery are all controlled by an innovative thermal management system that is a crucial component for achieving the car’s range without compromising its high level of interior comfort. Lastly, networking the vehicle electronics with the surroundings, which is referred to as car-to-x communication, opens new dimensions for the optimization of efficiency, safety and convenience.

Obvious differences to the standard R8 sports car on which it’s based include the concealed bodywork, a unique grille, a custom interior, new LED headlights and a special red paint scheme.