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VIDEO: Ken Block Beats Audi’s Steepest Grade Climb in an e-tron SUV

Back in the ’80s, when Audi first introduced its Quattro all-wheel drive system, its main marketing campaign was to climb a ski jump covered in snow. The ski jump was the famous Pitk√§vuori ski jump in Kaipola, Finland and Audi did it with a 100 CS Quattro (Audi 5000 Quattro in America). Since then, Audi replicated that same marketing stunt with newer cars but Ken Block never forgot the original. So he decided to try out something similar in his Audi e-tron SUV.

 

Block showed off his new e-tron SUV in a previous video but for those that didn’t see it, it’s mostly a bone-stock e-tron with Rotiform wheels and Toyo all-terrain tires. It also has a roof rack and a rear-mounted spare wheel (plus charcuterie board) but those don’t affect performance. His suspension is stock, as is its electric powertrain. So can it really handle the rigors of extreme off-road driving.

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To find out, Block took his Audi e-tron to Swing Arm City in Utah, which is essentially the world’s biggest playground for off-road vehicles. It has a particularly tricky slope, dubbed Knife Edge, and Block has played on it quite a bit with his rally cars.

 

While in Swing Arm City, Block slide the Audi e-tron around, climbed hills, and even cleared some decently big jumps. Shockingly, the e-tron’s stock air suspension handled it all with aplomb and the Toyo tires helped it stick to the soft, slipper dirt. In fact, the only thing that broke was the aftermarket tire rack on the back of the car, which was jettisoned after a particularly violent jump.

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The headliner, though, was the hill climb. To try and replicate Audi’s iconic marketing campaign of the ’80s, Block attempted to see if the Audi e-tron could climb the steepest part of Knife Edge, all the way to the top. With a decent run-up, it was able to do it fairly easily, while using the e-tron’s Boost Mode. The grade at Knife Edge is 40 degrees, which means Block’s climb actually beat Audi’s original ski jump climb’s 37.5 degrees.

 

Would the Audi e-tron be able to do that without rugged all-terrain tires? No. But since such tires are available to all customers, it’s incredibly impressive to know it can be done. The Audi e-tron might not be the most impressive EV on the market but it’s one impressive SUV, that’s for damn sure.

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Categoriese-tron
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.