We first brought you word that the e-tron would go to production, possibly as the R4, last October. Then in December Audi said production would be limited to about 1,000 units. Now a report is out that the latest e-tron concept, looking decidedly less like the R8 than previous e-tron concepts, is a preview of what the final model will look like.
Destined to slot between the R8 and TT ranges, the R4/e-tron is expected to get a range of powertrains, not just electric power. The all-electric version will be the halo car of the model line, but the gasoline-powered version (or versions) will undoubtedly be the volume sellers.
We already know about the latest e-tron's electric powertrain: 313 horsepower, 0-60 mph times of 5.9 seconds, top speed of 124 mph and a range of about 155 miles. But what will the gasoline-powered version look like?
We're expecting a supercharged six-cylinder along the lines of the new engine found in the 2010 Audi S4. At 333 horsepower, that's enough to put it a solid step behind its big sister, the 420-horsepower R8, while its mid-engine layout and sharp looks will serve to differentiate it from the TT, and even the similarly-strong turbocharged inline five-powered TT RS.
A number of changes from the show-car prototype are in order before the R4 makes production, however: expect the carbon-fiber body panels to be replaced with more affordable and mass-producible steel and aluminum, the wheels will lose their 35-spoke count for more standard units and the interior will be redesigned to work with production Audi materials and shapes. But we're not too worried about the details as long as Audi keeps that beautiful silhouette.