Audi has teased the idea of an electric version of its R8 supercar on more than one occasion. First we had the e-tron concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, which then made a debut at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. Audi even went as far as to put its creation around the Nürburgring for a record-setting 8:09.099 minute lap time. Now, finally, it looks like the R8 e-tron is set to make it to showrooms worldwide.

The big news comes straight from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, where Audi showcased an all-electric supercar alongside the redesigned, second-generation R8. At first glance, the e-tron model is an R8 with the stock V-10 drivetrain swapped out for a pair of electric motors and their associated batteries, but this German-built EV with supercar credentials is more than that. And with zero emissions emanating from a non-existent tailpipe, the R8 e-tron represents a big step forward for green racing tech.

As expected, the R8 e-tron is one of the quickest EVs out there. What’s surprising though is that it can perform extremely well in the range department. How well, you may ask? Let’s say that the Tesla Model S needs a small range update next time Elon Musk rolls out a new upgrade. But you’re going to have to check out the review below for more info on that.

Updated 10/27/2015: While Audi already dropped official details on the R8 E-tron, this is the first time the new car was caught in action at the Nurbrugring race track. You have to admit that its blue exterior color looks stunning, and that orange light around the “sideblades” is also a nice detail.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi R8 E-Tron.

  • 2016 Audi R8 E-Tron
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  • Engine:
    four electric motors
  • Transmission:
    triangular double wishbone in the front/trapezoidal-link in the rear
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • 0-60 time:
    3.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
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Spy Shots

October 27, 2015 - Audi R8 E-tron testing at Nurburgring

2016 Audi R8 E-Tron Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Audi R8 E-Tron Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Audi R8 E-Tron Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior
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The front fascia misses the standard grille and the side intakes now feature five horizontal slats that change the R8’s appearance quite dramatically

Aesthetically, there isn’t much to discern between the e-tron and regular petrol versions of the R8. The large front air dam and intakes are made redundant without an internal combustion powerplant, but are still useful for cooling the brakes and battery packs. The signature Audi LED daytime running lights sit up front, and the whole body has been smoothed for a low drag coefficient. Out back, you’ll notice a complete lack of exhaust.

Take a closer look, however, and you’ll notice the front fascia misses the standard honeycomb grille mesh and that the side intakes now feature five horizontal slats that change the R8’s appearance quite dramatically. The same modification can be seen around back, under the taillights, while the race-like diffuser has been replaced by a smaller piece. A larger spoiler sits above the fascia for increased aerodynamics. Lastly, there are mildly revised side intakes and a new set of wheels, the latter developed for reduced aerodynamic drag.

Length 4,431 mm (14.54 ft)
Width 2,029 mm (6.66 ft)
Height 1,252 mm (4.11 ft)
Wheelbase 2,650 mm (8.69 ft)


2017 - 2018 Audi R8 High Resolution Interior
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*Standard R8 interior shown here

Audi has yet to publish photos of the e-tron’s interior, but it should come with the same driver focused cabin and luxury-laden trim that you’ll find in the petrol-spec R8. Expect leather upholstery upon highly bolstered sport seats, large gauges for road speed and charge levels, high-end infotainment, and a large assortment of gadgets and features. We expect the option list to be slightly lacking compared to other Audi models, given the niche fit that the e-tron will represent.


2016 Audi R8 E-Tron Drivetrain
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The real breakthrough the e-tron, however, is its range. The Germans claim the all-electric R8 can travel approximately 280 miles on a single charge, compared to the 134-mile range of the previous car

This is where the R8 e-tron really shines, more so when compared to the previous car that never made it into production. Motivated bu two electric motors powered by a large, T-shaped, 49-kWh battery, the R8 e-tron boasts 455 horsepower and a whopping 679 pound-feet of torque, a massive 225-pony increase over the concept car. The electric supercar needs 3.9 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start, while its top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph. The drivetrain uses an electromechanical brake system for high energy recuperation rates and targeted torque vectoring for increased stability.

The real breakthrough the e-tron, however, is its range. The Germans claim the all-electric R8 can travel approximately 280 miles on a single charge, compared to the 134-mile range of the previous car, which puts it on par with the Tesla Model S.

But the R8 e-tron isn’t just about power and speed. Audi focused on reducing its aerodynamic drag coefficient as well by making certain modifications to the outer shell and on the wheels. Now at 0.28, the low aerodynamic drag coefficient plays a key role in the car’s fantastic range and performance. What’s more, charging can take as little as two hours using a rapid charging point thanks to its Combined Charging System (CSS) which allows charging with direct and alternating current.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type Electric
Output 455 Hp
Maximum torque 678 LB-FT
0 to 62mph 3.9 Seconds
Top speed 130 MPH or 155 MPH
Electric range 280 miles


2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior
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The regular R8 will cost you $115,900, and we’d expect the e-tron model to bump that up another $140k or so, especially considering the enormously long development time. Who said saving the planet would be cheap? The R8 e-tron will go on sale by the end of 2015.


BMW i8

2015 BMW i8 High Resolution Exterior
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While the i8 is a hybrid, rather than full-on EV, it represents a decent competitor to the Audi R8 e-tron as an environmentally conscious sports car in the six-figure price range. We think the i8 looks awesome, drawing inspiration from the BMW’s other supercar from the late-70s, the M1. Made of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), the i8 tips the scales under 3,285 pounds.

Sitting behind the 2+2 seating arrangement is a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, while up front is an electric motor. When these engines combine output, the result is 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Total EV-only range is only 22 miles, but it’ll hit sixty mph in 4.4 seconds and charge onto a 160 mph top speed. The interior is trimmed in leather tanned with olive oil extract, and there’s a host of technology to play with, like multiple drive modes, real-time traffic information, and Bluetooth smartphone integration.

Read more about the BMW i8 here.

Tesla Model S

2015 Tesla Model S Exterior
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The 2015 Tesla Model S is basically unchanged from last year... Well, except for the 691-horsepower P85D model!

The standard for electric sporting intent, the Tesla Model S is much cheaper than the speculative price for the Audi R8 e-tron. However, it’s also quite a bit slower, taking 5.9 seconds to reach 60 mph, with a top speed of 120 mph. However, anyone looking to up their performance can step into the all-wheel-drive model, which shaves .2 seconds from the 0-to-60 time and adds five mph to the top speed, not to mention offers substantially improved grip.

We’d venture that the Tesla is far less nimble in the corners compared to the R8 e-tron as well. Still, it’s a fantastic car, with a gorgeous four-door coupe exterior, a large control screen that dominates the center console, and a semi-autonomous drive system that can detect road signs and nearby cars via optical sensors and 360-degree sonar. When it comes to electric performance, the Tesla S is still the car to beat.

Read more about the Tesla Model S here.


2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior
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It’s been a long time coming, and while the excitement around the R8 e-tron built up, then died out, built up again, and squelched once more, it looks like we can actually get one of these cars out on the road. What’s more, Audi’s all-electric supercar exceeds all expectations in the performance department, becoming the only true competitor for the Tesla Model S in terms of range and acceleration and speed. Sure, the R8 misses two doors and five seats, but I have a feeling this supercar is only the first member of a large e-tron family that’s set to arrive over the next few years.

  • Leave it
    • * High price
    • * Hugely long development time

Update History

Updated 03/02/2015: Next to the standard R8, Audi finally unveiled the first details on the R8 e-tron version - and announced the model will be available for order later in 2015.

Updated 06/29/2012: Even though the Audi R8 e-tron hasn’t officially been launched yet, it is already a world record breaker. With a lap time of 8:09.099 minutes, the R8 e-tron has just become the fastest production vehicle with an electric drive system around the Nurburgring. The car was driven to success by racing driver Markus Winkelhock.

"The R8 e-tron has given a magnificent demonstration of its potential on the toughest race track in the world," said Michael Dick, Audi AG Board Member for Technical Development. Dick, who completed a fast lap himself in the R8 e-tron, added: "The record-setting drive confirmed that we are on the right track. To us, electric mobility has never been about sacrifice, but rather is about emotion, sportiness and driving pleasure."

Updated 08/07/2012: It’s been a little over a month since the Audi R8 e-Tron lapped the Nurburgring in record time (see previous update), but Audi has just released the video of the epic achievement. Check out Markus Winkelhock and the Audi R8 e-Tron as the record is created by clicking on the image above.

Press Release

The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for two more models. Audi has made major engineering developments in its high-performance electric sports car, the R8 e-tron. The latest evolution of the vehicle takes up the multimaterial Audi Space Frame from the new series-production model.

2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior
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The supporting structure was enhanced by a CFRP rear-section module comprising the luggage compartment. The walls of the CFRP luggage compartment well are corrugated. This way, in the event of a rear-end collision, more energy can be absorbed despite the reduced material weight.

Thanks to targeted modifications to the outer shell and on the wheels, the Audi R8 e‑tron achieves an aerodynamic drag coefficient (cd) value of 0.28. In terms of performance and range, the car enters an entirely new dimension.

The large T-shaped battery is structurally integrated into the centre tunnel and behind the occupant cell – optimally positioned in the car. It supports the dynamics of the R8 e-tron with its low centre of gravity. Audi produces the high-voltage battery itself, for the first time based on a newly developed lithium-ion technology which was specially conceived for a purely electric vehicle drive. In comparison to the first technology platform, the battery capacity has grown from 49 kWh to approximately 92 kWh. This progress was possible without changing the package.

2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior
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The R8 e-tron achieves an electric range of approximately 280 miles - a considerable improvement over the technology platform’s 133 miles - with an energy density that has been increased from 84 Wh/kg to 154 Wh/kg and some other modifications to the car. The electrically powered high-performance sports car has the Combined Charging System (CCS) on board, which allows charging with direct and alternating current. Using this system, it is possible to fully charge the battery in significantly less than two hours.

The power is now 462PS and the maximum torque 920Nm. The R8 e-tron 2.0 accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 3.9 seconds on its way to an electronically restricted top speed of 130mph or 155mph. Intelligent energy management and an electromechanical brake system enable high energy recuperation rates. Targeted torque vectoring – needs-based distribution of power transmission between the rear wheels – ensures maximum stability and dynamism.

2016 Audi R8 E-Tron High Resolution Exterior
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The R8 e-tron will become available for order in 2015 as an electrically powered sports car offering supreme hand-built quality.

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