There is some new competition brewing for Tesla Model S now that Audi has cleared for production the new Audi A9. That said, the new A9 is not expected to be ready before the end of the decade, which gives ample time for Tesla to further build on its expertise and come up with perhaps a successor to the Model S.
In the meantime, Autocar that first broke the news stated the A9 will be a pure-electric car and will be powered by no less than three asynchronous motors. Audi's R&D head, Stefan Knirsch said the advantage with asynchronous motors is that they have the same power output as their synchronous counterpart but at higher revs, and hence leads to better efficiency.
"You'll see significant differences in the torque vectoring, the four-wheel drive set-up and the power electronic packages," Knirsch said.
Autocar further stated the new A9 will have the same powertrain as that of the Q6 E-Tron. That makes a 95 kWh battery providing the juice to the ultra-luxury sedan as well. Range pegged is 500 kms or 311 miles before requiring a recharge.
A direct comparison with the new Tesla Model S version equipped with the 100 kWh battery pack is imminent here. The top of the line Model S does the 0-62 mph sprint in just 2.6 secs. The same power-pack on the Model X helps the SUV achieve three figure speed mark from rest in 2.9 secs, making it the fastest SUV ever. Audi has already stated the Q6 E-Tron Quattro will do the 0-62 mph run in a distant 4.6 secs.
Coming to other A9 news, the luxury sedan is also touted to come with Level 4 of autonomous driving. That will be a step ahead of the Level 3 auto-driving mode that the A8 will be capable of once it is launched next year. Level 4 makes the car negotiate more tricky sections of the road on its own before requiring driver's intervention.
The Model S on the other hand, is on the brink of receiving a major update for its autopilot system. That is not all as Tesla is also readying a new autopilot system that will include more radars and sensors.
As such, the question that's uppermost on our mind is whether the Model S already has when the Audi A9 promises to offer a few years down the line. Maybe Audi will try and differentiate the A9 as the more luxurious alternative to the Model S though it remains to be seen if can better the Tesla Model S package.