It’s not bad, but it’s not as good as the concept

The Audi e-Tron SUV Prototype has shown up at the Geneva Motor Show with a layering of “special” camo and the desire to prove its worth as it prepares to engage in a dramatic, real-world testing phase that will cover four continents and a wide range of traffic conditions and weather patterns. There is no word of performance specifications, but those will undoubtedly come to light once all 250 working prototypes complete their 3.1 million mile conquest.

Audi e-Tron Concept vs e-Tron Quattro Concept

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The e-Tron Prototype doesn’t look bad in the general sense but, in comparison to the Quattro Concept, the prototype is quite a letdown.

Despite the fact that Audi has released practically zero information about its first all-electric SUV, we have what you really want to know – how much you’ll be let down after the built-up anticipation put into play by the e-Tron Quattro Concept. Truth be told, it doesn’t look good, folks. The e-Tron Prototype doesn’t look bad in the general sense but, in comparison to the Quattro Concept, the prototype is quite a letdown.

Audi took the time to shave away all of the aggressive features that made the Quattro concept attractive. Those aggressive cues up front are gone and replaced by a smoother appearance. The grille doesn’t even have the same 3D effect as the concept or even the recently revealed A6. The lights are shorter and thinner overall, with a flusher appearance. Even the lower lip has been altered to include tiny air intakes and a sizeable air dam – quite possibly the only good addition to come from the concept-to-prototype mutation.

The Audi E-Tron Prototype is the Not-so-Cool Successor to the E-Tron Quattro Concept Exterior
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On the other hand, the grille does carry nearly the same presence

On the other hand, the grille does carry nearly the same presence, however, those chrome louvers now make up the entire surface area of the grille. And, they are accented by six vertical louvers that look a bit out of place compared to traditional Audi products. The big complaint here is that you can actually make out the steel bumper hidden behind the fascia, something that’s tacky and clearly evident.

The side profile, on the other hand, takes a different approach. The upper body and beltline are less muscular than before, as the prototype is observed without the muscular rear haunches and front fenders. The side skirts, actually appear a little beefier and look a little familiar but have a more squared off presence. And, as expected, the prototype does have actual door handles and side view mirrors.

The Audi E-Tron Prototype is the Not-so-Cool Successor to the E-Tron Quattro Concept Exterior
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The rear end also sheds some of the defining lines and masculinity

The rear end also sheds some of the defining lines and masculinity. The rear fascia is actually identical, but the insert at the bottom is completely different, probably for aerodynamic purposes. The rear hatch is more relaxed in design without the stout lines around the plate recess. On the plus side, when looking at the prototype from the rear, it doesn’t have that “big booty” look that the concept from 2015 had. The taillights do carry over for the most part but have changed a bit as far as the LED layout goes, but that isn’t something you can really complain about because they do look good on this prototype.

Audi e-Tron Prototype Performance

The Audi E-Tron Prototype is the Not-so-Cool Successor to the E-Tron Quattro Concept Exterior
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The concept has the capability to handle 150 kW charging and that in “under 30 minutes, it’s ready for the next leg of the long journey.”

Audi has yet to announce the e-Tron Prototype’s performance credentials. All we know, as of the time of this writing, is that it has the capability to handle 150 kW charging and that in “under 30 minutes, it’s ready for the next leg of the long journey.” It does have all-wheel drive, but there is no word as to range on a full charge, real-world charging time, horsepower, or torque. The Quattro Concept that it is based on produced 429 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, so expect the prototype to deliver a bit less in production form, probably around 320 horses and 450 pound-feet in base form, giving Audi the ability to offer more powerful versions down the road. Top speed will probably be around 130 mph with the 60-mph sprint coming in about 5 seconds.

When Will the Audi e-Tron Go on Sale?

The Audi E-Tron Prototype is the Not-so-Cool Successor to the E-Tron Quattro Concept Exterior
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Audi is promising that the full production version of the e-Tron SUV will go on sale by the end of 2018, which would slate it as a 2019 model. That is, of course, after it completes the aforementioned testing that will have 250 prototype models accumulating more than 3 million miles. That in mind, it should be able to handle temperatures between -4 and +122 degrees F as those are the conditions Audi is aiming to test it in.

References

Audi E-Tron

2019 Audi E-tron Quattro Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Audi E-Tron Quattro.

2015 Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2015 Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept.

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Read more Audi news.

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Press release

Audi unveils the prototype for its first all-electric model at the Geneva Motor Show. The sporty SUV combines the space and comfort of a typical luxury car with a range suitable for everyday use. Until the start of series production, almost 250 development vehicles will complete testing under extreme conditions worldwide. Specially camouflaged prototypes kick off the chase for the most spectacular photos.

The Audi e-tron prototype offers a preview of the first all-electric model from the brand with the four rings. The camouflaged exterior conceals a sporty premium SUV with space for five people along with plenty of luggage – the space and comfort are similar to that of a typical Audi luxury class model. The range suitable for longer journeys and the comprehensive charging options allow customers to drive purely electrically without making compromises. The production version of the Audi e-tron prototype can fill up on electricity at fast-charging stations with up to 150 kW charging capacity. In just under 30 minutes, the SUV is then ready for the next leg of the long-distance journey. The electrical quattro catapults the four-wheel drive into a new age and ensures strong performance on any terrain. The production version of the Audi e-tron will be launched on the European market at the end of 2018. The car is produced at the carbon-neutral plant in Brussels.

“Audi sets an important milestone for the company’s future with its first purely electrically powered model,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “In 2020 we will have three all-electric vehicles in our product range, with a four-door Gran Turismo – the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept – and a model in the compact segment joining the sporty SUV. We will be launching more than 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2025 – spread across all segments and concepts,” the Audi CEO explains.

Showcasing high-voltage technology: the design camouflage
The Audi e-tron prototype does not wear the traditional prototype camouflage, but instead illustrates its electrification with a specially developed design film. The distorted e-tron lettering stretches across the entire flank, as if it was charged with electricity. The “e” winds its way around the tailgate at the height of the front fender and is literally electrifying. Mimicking the high-voltage grid, orange elements illustrate the fact that the Audi e-tron prototype is fully electric – the lower part of the car, for example, is encircled with alternating orange and black segments. The expressive sills, with their colorful inserts, indicate where the battery and therefore energy center of the car are located.

Four continents, more than five million kilometers: testing under extreme conditions
Until the first electric model of the brand with the four rings is launched at the end of the year, the sporty SUV will complete test drives on four continents. Whether in the cold of Scandinavia or the heat of Africa, in the mountainous altitudes of Asia or on the north loop of the Nürburgring, in the stop-and-go traffic of major Chinese cities or on American highways – the purely electrically powered SUV has to prove its all-round qualities in uncompromising practical tests under extreme conditions. Audi is testing the pre-series vehicles for customer-focused operation in all climate zones ranging from below -20 to above +50 degrees Celsius (-4° to +122° F). In addition, intensive tests of the charging technology are being conducted worldwide – an important safeguarding criterion for battery-electric models. The individual charging standards are tested on proving grounds and in public areas to validate the full range of different charging options. In total, just under 250 Audi e-tron prototypes are used in the tests. They will cover more than five million kilometers (3,106,856 mi) – roughly equivalent to 125 times around the earth and 85,000 hours on the road.

Hunting down the prototype in Geneva: pictures at www.e-tron.audi
Prior to the world premiere, part of the Audi e-tron test fleet will be out on public roads wearing the electrifying camouflage. The first stop for the distinctive prototypes is in Geneva. Here they drive past prominent sites in the Swiss metropolis at the start of the motor show. Anyone interested can take advantage of these and other opportunities to photograph the prototype in its designer livery and post their spectacular scoop photos on social networking sites using #etron. Audi will publish the best pictures on the website at www.e-tron.audi, without any hide-and-seek.

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