Audi E-Tron possible prototype shows up in electric German rally

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Audi showed up at the E-Cannonball in Hamburg, Germany, last month with what the brand's Twitter called "a new all-electric challenger." Consensus is that it's a coy prototype of the refreshed E-Tron crossover. Although the automaker didn't give anything away, the vehicle wears what has been Audi's go-to pattern for electric test vehicles, and this latest flirt follows Audi teasing a prototype E-Tron Sportback during winter testing earlier this year. All we can make out in front for now is a narrower, reshaped grille with new mesh and a different surround, plus a new treatment for the side intakes. We can't see a visual difference in the headlights, but they could house "new lighting innovations." In back, there's what looks like a trimmer, full-width LED light bar, and a reworked pattern for the bumper and diffuser.

If previous reports come true, this will be the model that adopts the Q8 E-Tron name to help consumers keep Audi's growing electric fleet organized. The Q4 E-Tron just debuted, there's a Q5E-Tron on sale in China, and a Q6 E-Tron crossover and an A6 E-Tron sedan imminent, both sitting on EV-specific architectures.


The flagship Q8 E-Tron would spend three or four years of its life on the E-Tron's MLB Evo architecture before an all-new Q8 E-Tron on a dedicated electric vehicle platform debuts in 2026. An Autocar report previewed tech upgrades like a new-generation battery, more efficient motors with greater energy recuperation, and new electronics that enable more brake recuperation. The battery is expected to hold steady at 95 kilowatt-hours of capacity, but in Europe, anticipated range could grow nearly 50%, going from 259 miles on the European WLTP cycle to 373 miles. Our EPA-rated 222 miles in the E-Tron and 218 miles in the E-Tron Sportback should hit about 300 miles. We shouldn't be surprised at bumps in output, either. The current E-Tron makes 402 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque, the S model cranks the corral to 496 hp.

It's possible a reveal comes at the Paris Motor Show later this month, or the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

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