The R8 E-Tron was an ill-fated attempt from Audi to make an electric performance car as fewer than 100 units were ever sold. Perhaps the market just wasn’t ready for a supercar without a combustion engine when the zero-emissions R8 arrived in early 2015. The fact it cost roughly $1 million didn’t do much help, and we could say the same thing about its limited range of 279 miles (449 kilometres) in the overly optimistic NEDC cycle.
The R8 E-Tron had been in development for many years as Audi originally unveiled a prototype back in 2010 during the supercar’s first generation, a year after unveiling a namesake concept car. Lessons learned from the aborted EV program will now be put to good use in Audi Sport’s first series production EV – the E-Tron GT and its high-performance RS version.
A teaser video shot at its place of birth shows the Porsche Taycan’s cousin coming together at the Böllinger Höfe facility where Audi has been building the R8 since 2014. It’s worth mentioning series production of the E-Tron GT actually started a couple of months ago, but we’ll still have to wait until next week for the official premiere.
The attached footage recorded at the Neckarsulm site serves as further evidence the production version will be a spitting image of the concept unveiled towards the end of 2018. It is getting larger side mirrors and regular door handles, but these seem to be the biggest changes compared to the showcar. Even though it will largely borrow the underpinnings from its sibling from Zuffenhausen, the E-Tron GT will look significantly different.
Given Audi’s positioning in the Volkswagen Group’s hierarchy below Porsche, the E-Tron GT is unlikely to match the technical specifications of the equivalent Taycan. The silver lining is the model carrying the Four Rings should be more affordable, and therefore a potential entry-level version should undercut the £70,690 RWD base Taycan.
At the other end of the spectrum, the fully fledged RS version sitting at the top of the range probably won’t match the impressive numbers of the Taycan Turbo S, but you’re not going to have to pay Porsche’s steep starting price of £138,830. Some are probably wondering why the E-Tron GT is even coming as it might clash with Porsche’s first EV, but we’re certain Audi has engineered the electric saloon to be significantly different than the Taycan. With the “GT” in its name, there’s a good chance it will be more of a gran tourer than an outright four-door performance car.
We will have answers to most of these questions on 9 February when the wraps will come off after what has been a lengthy teaser campaign.