The Audi RS Q E-Tron E2 Is The New Off-Road Racer Destined For The Dakar

Audi combines electrification and off-road performance quite well with the RS Q e-tron. The race vehicle was specially built to handle the grueling environment of off-road endurance competition, and in fact, it won in its first outing in March 2022 at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Audi has taken that experience and developed the EV into the menacing off-roader seen here, known as the RS Q e-tron E2.

At first glance, one may not realize the full scope of what has changed. The gray exterior with orange trim and a large roof scoop immediately catch the eye as an original feature, but in reality, the E2 uses an entirely new body. Audi design boss for the RS Q e-tron Axel Löffler says not a single part of the original body has been reused.

The E2 fixed most of the front and rear fenders, opting instead for an open-wheel design with large extensions that help protect the cockpit from debris. By the way, the cockpit area is slightly wider, with a tapered body at the front and rear, unlike a boat.

The result is a body that shaves off weight compared to its predecessor, while providing a better aerodynamic profile. The center of gravity is also lower, and while the change doesn’t add to the RS Q e-tron’s top speed (electronically limited to 106 mph per regulation), it does reduce drag by 15 percent. That means less energy is needed to go further, and that’s always a good thing when it comes to EVs.

Audi RS Q E-Tron E2

Under the skin, the e-tron E2 still uses a combustion engine as a range extender with two electric motors that send power to the front and rear axles. To save more energy, Audi optimized some of the onboard systems to use less power. Drivers and co-drivers also have a new set of digital displays that organize important vehicle information and functions into four operating modes. These modes are easily accessible via a rotary switch, and cover everything from activating speed limiters and turn signals to diagnosing problems.

The first outing for the RS Q e-tron E2 is coming in October at Rally Morocco. Provided everything goes according to plan, Audi will ship the E2 to Dakar for 2023. And if you want even more power, check out the Rambling About Cars podcast featuring the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept EV, available below.

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