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Audi R4 e-tron Roadster Artwork Leaks

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On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 9:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi R4 e-tron Roadster Artwork Leaks

About two weeks ago, reports of a convertible version of the Audi e-tron R4 surfaced. The reports indicated that Audi would bring the convertible to the Paris Motor Show at month-end. The car would remain mechanically identical to the coupe version, which debuted at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, but would lose its top. This week, artwork of the alleged Paris-bound convertible has surfaced onto the Web and new reports indicate that the latest e-tron concept will be outfitted with a hybrid powertrain.

The artwork shows a convertible with a swooping three-quarter glass that wraps seamlessly around the cockpit. The frameless, sloping side windows ascend gently downward into the rear end, giving the concept a hot, minimalistic look. Outside of losing the top, a variety of other visual changes can be seen including new, widened front intakes and a restyled hood. Perhaps the most interesting change is the influence from the R8 in the rear fascia. The body is a mixture of carbon fiber and aluminum, according to reports.

Surprisingly the largest (alleged) change is not the loss of a top, it's the change to plug-in hybrid power. The original R4 was an all-electric that used two motors mounted to the rear axle to drive the rear wheels. Auto Bild reports that the  e-tron R4 Spyder will also feature two motors to provide up to 31 miles of range, but will add a mid-mounted 3.0-liter TDI V6 to extend that range. A continual variable transmission will pull shifting duties. In this iteration, the two motors will drive the front rather than the rear wheels, with the V6 hooked to the rear wheels.

The e-tron Spyder will borrow more than just back-end looks from the R8, getting the sport car's suspension, braking and steering.

If Auto Bild's report holds true, the e-tron Spyder will show one more direction that Audi could take in a production e-tron model. Audi unveiled the original e-tron R8 at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, arguably the most striking of the e-tron concepts with its boomerang LED headlights and distinct rims. That model featured an all-wheel-drive configuration with electric motors distributed at each wheel. Audi followed up with the e-tron R4 coupe in Detroit and an A1 e-tron at Geneva. The latter was the first e-tron hybrid, pairing a 75 kW motor to a range-extending rotary engine. That model got the same 31 miles of electric driving with a boost of 124 miles thanks to the engine.

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