Kitzbühel, Austria - With its 85 percent gradient, it’s the stretch of ice that professional skiers fear the most.

And if going down the Mausefalle section of the legendary Streif ski course in Austria seems daunting, or just downright frightening for that matter, just imagine the kind of power and traction you would need to ascend it in a car.

That’s exactly what Audi attempted recently in a publicity stunt intended to show off the new e-tron SUV’s instantaneous torque delivery and quattro traction.

For a stunt like this, you don’t want just any driver behind that wheel, which is why Audi called in multiple World Rallycross and DTM Champion Mattias Ekström to do the deed.

It’s worth nothing, however, that the vehicle was significantly modified. While the standard e-tron has one motor on each axle, the ski monster was equipped with two on the back axle, as well as modified torque distribution software and 19-inch wheels with special spikes. But what’s really impressive is that it pushed 8920Nm of torque through the wheels, according to Audi.

“Conquering an 85 percent gradient sounds impossible at first,” Ekström explained.

“Even I was impressed with the way this car handles such difficult terrain.”

The ‘standard’ Audi e-tron electric SUV is set to hit South Africa’s somewhat less icy streets during the third quarter of 2019.

With system outputs of 300kW and 664Nm, the SUV is said to be capable of a 5.7 second 0-100km/h sprint and (in somewhat calmer motoring moments) a theoretical driving range of around 400km between Eskom load shedding sessions.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but watch this space closer to launch.

The electric Audi will go up against the Mercedes-Benz EQC, which is likely to reach local shores early in 2020.

IOL Motoring