Twice the adrenaline rush: The Audi e-tron GT prototype and the Ducati Panigale V4 R

Both models are real eye-catchers. The prototype for the e-tron GT family and the Ducati Panigale V4 R2 equally embody sporty-elegant design as well as pure performance. With their unique characteristics, Audi’s electric Gran Turismo and the uncompromising motorcycle primarily designed for the racetrack from the Italian Borgo Panigale, are the pinnacle of technology and passion.

Certainly, these two flagship models leave no enthusiast of mobility indifferent. This also applies to the two men who played a crucial role in the development of the prototypes for the new e-tron GT family and the Ducati Panigale V4 R1 – Jaan Mattes Reiling, Technical Project Manager at Audi in Neckarsulm, and Alessandro Valia, Chief Test Rider and Developer at Ducati. It’s no surprise that, after taking each other’s models for an exclusive spin at the Audi Sport GmbH in Neuburg, both agree on the performance as well as the manageability of the vehicles. Audi specifically provided Test Chief Valia with the prototype of the optimized e-tron GT quattro3 for the occasion.

Alessandro Valia: Both models undoubtedly have a substantial amount of power and both meet the prerequisites to safely deliver this power to the road. Ducati has incorporated various riding modes in its models, allowing riders to individually adjust the driving characteristics for both the racetrack and the road. This provides riders with numerous options to tailor the motorcycle’s power to their riding skills.

Jaan Mattes Reiling: The same applies to the Audi e-tron GT prototype. By making the power delivery controllable, it is easy to drive and enjoy these cars. Despite their sporty nature, both the Panigale and the prototype are designed for daily use.

Valia: How did it feel to ride the Panigale?

Reiling: I myself am a big Ducati fan and love riding my Ducati 996. The Panigale was a completely different experience. It’s fascinating how easy it is to handle this high-performance bike and how quickly one feels comfortable riding it, thanks to the electronic setup. What was it like for you in the driver’s seat of the e-tron GT prototype?

Valia: It was a great experience.In addition to its beautiful design, I was impressed by the car’s dynamics and agility – and, of course, the performance characteristics of this all-electric sports car. Its acceleration and handling in corners are simply fantastic, even for me, who is used to fast acceleration. Additionally, I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the prototype’s interior. At first glance, you can see the attention to detail. So, there are many similarities, but of course, there are also differences.

Reiling: Both the Panigale and the e-tron GT prototype offer various options to customize the driving characteristics according to the needs of the riders and rider respectively—something you surely noticed during your drive and when inspecting the interior controls. The improved suspension system introduces new adjustment capabilities for the driver.

Valia: I believe both models are at a similarly high level. This is especially true in terms of the technologies used and the resulting performance, for example, when accelerating. Both brands pay a lot of attention to the smallest details. The Panigale V4 R2 serves as the foundation for our racing bike in the Superbike World Championship. Both models allow the person at the controls to find the ideal individual setting. The significant difference is that, for the motorcycle, the rider has much greater influence over the driving dynamics. Nevertheless, both models fulfill the criteria for providing a highly enjoyable riding or driving experience.

Reiling: I agree with you on that.However, when it comes to the e-tron GT prototype, high performance includes more than just the propulsion system and handling. It involves the entire vehicle, including design, quality, and comfort during both short and long drives, captivating everyone behind the wheel. Additionally, the assistance systems helps motorcycles and cars to interact more safely in everyday traffic.

Valia: We are also pursuing a new concept when it comes to high performance.Alongside our emphasis on engine power, weight, and emotion, Ducati integrates a variety of assistance systems. Our goal is to empower riders to reach their optimal riding capability with technologies like Cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control, and Ducati Wheelie Control. Even if you make a mistake while riding, these systems protect you. Safety is our top priority across all our models. For example, the Multistrada4 offers a range of optional rider assistance systems that take motorcycling to a new level of safety. Examples include Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Assist. The aerodynamics we have transferred from MotoGP to our production models also contribute to the bike’s stability, especially at higher speeds. I think this package is a well-balanced mix of adrenaline and safety.

Reiling: Personally, for me, riding a motorcycle is even more exhilarating because the connection to the road and surroundings is more direct compared to driving a car. When additional assistance systems enhance rider safety without diminishing the emotional experience, that’s definitely the right approach.

Valia: Even though I sat on a motorcycle for the first time at the age of four, I love driving cars just as much. In a car, I can brake much later when approaching a corner. To me, the most exciting thing is oversteering, which I tried a while ago in the Audi RS 35. While it’s possible with a motorcycle as well, you must push closer to the limit than with a car. For controlled oversteering, the Panigale V4 R2 features the Ducati Slide Control (DSC) with a special functionality called Spin on Demand function, a dynamic traction control that allows power steering like Audi’s Drift Mode. This example illustrates how we strive to make both driving and riding overall enjoyable experiences. How do you approach further development?

Reiling: Absolutely.On the one hand, we need to meet evolving country-specific requirements. We also constantly keep a close eye on the markets. But even more important is the feedback we get from our customers, the press and of course dealerships. Based on that, we decide where we need to refine our products to make them even better or to develop a new model. The prototype for the e-tron GT family and the Panigale V4 R2 are the best examples of this.

Valia: We as well are in constant dialogue with our stakeholders and customers. We commission surveys and studies to get in-depth feedback. While developing motorcycles, we also invite specialized journalists for testing. I think that, in our development work, we do not fundamentally differ.

Reiling: Yes, it’s comparable. However, in the field of E-Mobility, we face unique challenges. We need to overcome the concerns that still exist about the technological disadvantages compared to internal combustion engines. This includes issues such as anxiety about range and charging, especially on the road. With the improved charging performance of our electric models and special offers such as the Audi charging hubs, we are well on the way to overcoming the preconceptions.

Valia: We at Ducati are also embracing new initiatives. Good examples are our off-road models and our entry into motocross. We are also pioneers when it comes to aerodynamics in motorcycle design. Naturally, electric mobility is a focus for us as well. Ducati is the only manufacturer in the electric racing series MotoE World Championship. We’ve benefited from your expertise in electrified motorsport. I think Ducati and Audi are pioneers in controllable performance, exclusivity, and quality. I really enjoyed the experience with the Audi e-tron GT prototype. It’s impressive what this electric vehicle can do. And I hope you’ll remember the Ducati Panigale V4 R2, too.

Reiling: I can assure you of that!And on the weekends, I always enjoy swapping the car for my Ducati 996.

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