Video: Audi e-tron quattro climbs 85% grade Mausefalle at Kitzbühel

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Audi seems to have an obsession with driving cars up incredibly steep ice covered surfaces. The fist instance of this was back in 1986, when rally driver Harald Demuth drove a 100 CS quattro sedan up the Pitkävuori ski jump in Kaipola , Finland. There is much debate all around the internet about the legitimacy of this stunt, as the safety cables and catching mechanism under the car are plainly visible in the video. We’ve been repeatedly assured by folks at Audi that he car did make the drive under its own power, and it’s pretty obvious in the video that the car has been fitted with extra narrow spiked tires. We weren’t there, so we genuinely don’t know for sure.

Not to be outdone by anyone else (not that anyone tried), Audi decided they wanted to send another car up a ski jump. Once again returning to Finland, Audi sent a C6 A6 4.2 up the towering ski jump.

Once again, Audi has sent one of their cars to an insanely steep grade, to try to climb it.

This time however, it’s their all new all electric e-tron quattro SUV, and the location is decidedly less precarious but no less intimidating. Instead of a towering ski jump tower, Audi brought their e-tron quattro (and DTM/World Rallycross ace Mattias Ekstrom) to Austria to the world famous Hahnenkamm ski resort in Kitzbühel. Known for having one of the most fearsome downhill ski racing courses in the world (called Streif ) Audi apparently figured it would be a good location for a stress test.

The car itself was somewhat modified from your standard trim e-tron quattro. It had a full roll cage, and safety seat with 6 point harness, incredibly cool looking front bull bar, a “belay” system (basically a one way catch, which ran along a cable up the hill, once again to catch the car should it start to fall down the hill), and of course some massively spiked tires. Lastly, Audi did beef up the drivetrain on the car for this test. They added a second motor on the rear axle, and tweaked the car’s drive system for maximum performance.

In Audi’s words:

To climb this passage, the Audi e-tron technology demonstrator was equipped with a special quattro powertrain with two electric motors on the rear axle and one electric motor on the front axle. The technology demonstrator achieved a total boost output of up to 370 kW and wheel torque of 8,920 Nm (6,579.1 lb-ft). This ensured full performance on the steep gradient. Audi also modified the software with respect to drive torque and torque distribution for the special conditions on the “Streif”. 19-inch wheels with spikes developed specifically for this driving event provided the necessary grip on snow and ice.

This is pretty cool stuff any way you slice it, and even though most of us will never encounter a hill with an 85% grade, it’s nice to know that it’s been done already.

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