Last week, we broke the news that the very thinly disguised “concept” known as the Audi e-tron was approved for production, but there was a catch. Contrary to what all exterior cues would suggest, the Audi e-tron would not be a plug-in version of the R8 but rather a sporty EV placed somewhere in size between the famed R8 and the compact TT. Today, we have learned that the e-tron will not be a model unto itself but rather a badge denoting the type of powertrain (similar to what Toyota has announced they will do with “Prius) and the first vehicle to wear the e-tron badge will be known as the Audi R4.
In addition to the lithium-ion e-tron, the R4 will also be offered with at least two other standard gasoline powertrains, though Audi has yet to reveal which ones. However, because the R4 is intended to sit on Audi’s line-up as a premium vehicle roughly equivalent in price and attainability to the R8, it’s safe to assume that output will be impressive and we could even see a TT-RS transplant.
The first production versions of the R4 are expected to hit North America in 2012, which leaves plenty of time for Audi to eke out the details in an excruciatingly slow fashion. We’ll keep you posted.