Watch an Audi E-Tron Climb an 85-Percent Incline Thanks to Quattro and Studded Tires

Rally driver Mattias Ekström reenacts a stunt originally performed by the Audi 100 CS Turbo Quattro in 1986.

e-tron
Sebastian MARKO—Philip Platzer for AUDI AG

With the arrival of the Audi E-Tron at dealerships across the world soon approaching, the German luxury automaker isn't missing out on opportunities to market the all-wheel-drive, electric crossover to future owners. So what better way to show off the E-Tron's winter capabilities than by sending it up an Olympic ski jumping hill that peaks at an outrageous 85-percent incline? Right.

The video recently uploaded to YouTube is a throwback to a promotional stunt Audi put together in 1986 with the 100 CS Turbo Quattro, which saw the old-school sedan climb the Kaipola Olympic ski jumping hill in Finland with the help of its all-wheel-drive system and studded winter tires. Fast forward 33 years to 2019, and Audi's first electric crossover is showing to the world that it's got the chops to keep up with its iconic brethren in similar terrain, although this time in Austria.

According to skisprungschanze.com, the Kaipola slope featured in 1986 is nothing more than a pile of rotten wood nowadays, as it was shut down in 1994 because ski jumpers were flying 32 freaking feet above the ground upon launching from its 77 percent gradient ramp. As a result, Audi opted for the mighty “Mausefalle” slope of the "Streif" in the Austrian Alps for its E-Tron stunt, but there was a catch: the Streif in Kitzbühel is even steeper.

The Austrian slope peaks at 85 percent incline, meaning it's just a tad short of being a completely vertical climb. For that same reason, the E-Tron can be observed sporting a roll-cage and safety cable to keep it from rolling out of control back down the hill if something were to go wrong (much like Land Rover did at the Heaven's Gate in China).

With an electronic version of Audi's famed Quattro and its 400 electric ponies (in sport mode) wound up, the E-Tron put down all 486 pound-feet of torque to conquer the staggering hill. And by the looks of it, professional rally racer Mattias Ekström was more than happy with the outcome.

“Conquering an 85 percent gradient sounds impossible at first,” said Ekström. “Even I was impressed with the way this car handles such difficult terrain,” added the World Rallycross champion and two-time DTM champion.