The all-electric Audi R8 e-tron concept car was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, followed by the 2009 LA Auto Show (in orange body color), and at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans show.
The Audi e-tron is a version of the Audi R8 with a slightly smaller body, four electric motors rated at 317 PS (233 kW; 313 bhp) and 4,500 newton metres (3,319 lbf·ft) of torque. However the proposed torque rating is the torque measured at the wheels, not at the output shaft — as is the industry standard, the true torque rating being around 678 newton metres (500 lbf·ft). Other features include 42.4 kilowatt hours lithium-ion battery, needs-based energy management system, LED technology used for all lighting units, independent cooling system for each axle, doors, covers, sidewalls and roof in fiber-reinforced plastic; 3-mode flush gear selector (forward, reverse and neutral), instrument cluster with fold-out central display with integrated MMI functions, climate control unit located to the right above the steering wheel, racing-inspired lightweight bucket seats, snow white and cognac interior colours, heat pump, climate control system, triangular double wishbones at the front axle and trapezoidal wishbones made of forged aluminum components at the rear axle, direct rack-and-pinion steering with speed-sensitive electromechanical steering boost, 235/35R19 front and 295/30R19 rear tires with a new blade design, prototype of an information processing system (car-to-x communication).
Audi originally announced the first e-tron model to be built by quattro GmbH at Neckarsulm, with a small production series beginning in late 2012. The R8 e-tron prototype was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The prototype is based on the R8 and follows closely the original concept, with a shape reminiscent of existing V8 and V10 petrol-powered versions. Audi claims the production version of the R8 e-tron will be capable of a 0–100 km/h (62 mph) time of around 4.8 seconds, making it only 0.2 seconds slower than the R8 V8. Initial plans call for its top speed to be limited to 125 mph (200 km/h) to protect the charge of the battery. It was planned for launch in early 2012. Along with the R8 e-tron, Audi is also considering small-scale production of a smaller and lighter zero-emission sports car based on the second e-tron concept displayed at the 2010 Detroit Motor Show.
The Audi R8 e-tron is a low Class D car with the following statistics:
- Starting rank: 527
- This was changed to 838 in the Showdown Update
- MAX rank: 821 (+294)
- This was changed to 1030 (+192) in the Showdown Update
- This was changed to 1005 (+167) in the Sixth Anniversary Update
- MAX+PRO rank: 847
- This was changed to 1048 (+18) in the Showdown Update
- Tuning Kit bonus: +72
- This was changed to +37 in the Showdown Update
- This was changed to +31 in the Sixth Anniversary Update
- Stock to MAX+PRO rank difference: 320
- This was changed to 210 in the Showdown Update
- Upgrade rank percentages: 5/60/5/30
- Nitro Efficiency: 9/14/19
The Audi R8 e-tron, though seemingly unimpressive, serves as the default "stat build" for many much better cars in the game, including the Ford F-150 (partially), Renault CLIO R.S. 200 EDC, Volkswagen Beetle Turbo, Camaro Z/28, 1967 Chevrolet Impala, SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI (partially), Datsun 280Z, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, Rimac Concept One, and Tramontana XTR, among others. This is comparable to how the Dodge Dart GT serves as the default stat build for higher-ranked cars like the Alfa Romeo MiTo GTA.
The Audi R8 e-tron possesses a higher rate of acceleration than the Dodge Dart GT, as well as a greater total top speed and more efficient nitro. However, a lack of raw top speed and handling makes the Audi R8 e-tron a less beginner-friendly car. The Audi R8 e-tron also features a higher rate of acceleration and better handling than the Tesla Model S, but a lower raw top speed, lower total top speed and lower nitro efficiency.
The Audi R8 e-tron is one of the least competitive Time-Limited Event cars. In Multiplayer, the Audi R8 e-tron can do relatively well, since its rank puts it in the lowest league/s possible. It is not the best option, however, as several higher-tier cars also start at a rank under 900, allowing them to achieve a higher speed than the Audi R8 e-tron at the same rank.
The Audi R8 e-tron counts towards the Ion Runners, Audi, German Steel and Glimpse into the Future collections.
The Audi R8 e-tron is not considered an upgrade to the Dodge Dart GT for beginner players, as it is more difficult to use. If used incorrectly, the Audi R8 e-tron can become one of the slowest cars in the game, only faster than the Ford F-150. However, if used correctly, like the Ford F-150 (which requires proper nitro management to bring out its full potential), it can reach a high speed.
The Audi R8 e-tron's raw top speed is lower than that of the Dodge Dart GT but its total top speed is higher. For only 7,000, the Audi R8 e-tron can be bought as a great alternative to the Dodge Dart GT as a starter's car for Class D.
After the Audi R8 e-tron, a good choice of car is the Mini Cooper S Roadster; other options like the Tesla Model S only offer slightly upgraded performance. After this, a good choice of car is the Nissan 370Z, followed by the SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI (one of the few non-token, non-elite, non-blueprint cars) and Mazda RX-8 (the current best Class D car).
As of the Motorcycles Update, the Audi R8 e-tron costs 7,000 to purchase (originally 1,500, then 2,250).
As of the 2019 Spring Update, it costs 73,000 to MAX and 2,000 to PRO.
Alternatively, it could be purchased from either the Class D Car Pack or the Starter Car Pack (which also granted the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive, Aston Martin DB9 Coupé, Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series, and GTA Spano). As of the Sixth Anniversary Update the R8 e-tron can now also be received for free by watching an ad in the first 2 days since the player first launches the game. This offer is only available to new players who have just started.