It seems every other week we’re catching wind of an ambitious startup restomodding some beloved classic, or developing an unofficial sequel to a car that enthusiasts desperately miss. Personally, I’m finding it hard to stay excited for every announcement. But E-Legend’s EL-1 is different, because it’s absolutely blown me away with its looks.
The EL-1 is, of course, a homage to the Audi Quattro. And while Audi flirted with a modern Quattro in the early 2010s — first with the Quattro concept and then the Sport Quattro concept three years later — it never brought the compact rallying supercar to production. That’s a shame, because the Quattro concepts were basically baby R8s with ground clearance and all-wheel drive (obviously). In other words, they were R8s but better.
E-Legend is a German startup that’s taken the matter into its own hands. The EL-1 would be all-electric, consisting of a 90 kWh battery pack and a tri-motor setup with two motors behind the rear wheels and one on the front axle. Normally, the principle of an EV Quattro might bother me, but again — this thing looks so perfect, I honestly couldn’t care less. Besides, maybe we need more offbeat electric supercars to break up the monotony of the Lotus Evijas and Rimac Neveras of the world.
It’s one of the finest modernizations of a classic shape I’ve ever seen. The front end treatment is both clever and attractive, the bodywork creating a rectangular aperture split by a body-color bar that evokes the prominent bumper on the old Quattro. The triple inlets in the hood are a quintessential Quattro cue, of course, and the flared arches are minimalist, but make for a perfect three-quarter view.
The inventive design touches abound in this car. I’m marveling at that upper part of the rear window, which meshes with the surfacing of the roof’s edge. And the way the fringes of the rear bumper cinch in to accentuate both the rear haunches and the diffuser is a subtle but brilliant trick not seen often enough these days. I have nothing bad to say about the exterior of this car — only praise, and the opinion that this design is too retrospective and radical for Audi proper to ever take a chance on it.
Supposedly the EL-1's three motors would develop a combined 804 horsepower, so it’s little surprise that the company is estimating that it will reach 62 mph from a standstill in 2.8 seconds. It’s also said it will run for 248 miles without needing a recharge. However, if you take the car to the Nürburgring Nordschleife and you put it through its paces in its fastest Sport Plus mode, the manufacturer says that range drops a bit — to two laps, or 26 miles. Yikes.
The EL-1 would weigh 1,680 kilograms, or about 3,700 pounds, owed to a “super-light and proven carbon monocoque,” Autocar reports. That’s not terrible for an electric hypercar, even while it may be a far cry from the original car’s roughly 2,800- to 3,000-pound curb weight.
Oh and here’s another big difference from the old-school Quattro you assuredly saw coming — this one’s expensive. Like, really expensive. E-Legend expects to charge $1.05 million for the EL-1 and build 30 examples, making it just slightly less attainable than the also-stunning MAT Stratos.