The e-tron and e-tron Spyder were the ultimate in concept teases. They two stylish two-door models were once thought to preview a possible R4 or R5 line of sportscars to slot in below the R8 and its $100,000 base price. But after being evaluated, the business case was deemed to be a non-starter: the $50,000 pricing of these hypothetical sportsters was deemed too close to the topline TT and TTS roadster models.
In addition, electric engines and the proposed 100-percent battery EV would easily double the proposed prices -- delivering a totally unfeasible solution to Audi's sporty ambitions.
So after excited debuts on the global auto show circuit, the cars were quietly wheeled back into the archives. Mooted as a research platform for a possible R8 e-tron, these cars explored solutions for lightweight chassis tech and low-energy HVAC and accessory power.
After all this hoopla, the e-tron Coupe and e-tron Spyder were simply styling and marketing exercises.
Their big goal?
Introducing the 'e-tron' name to denote Audi EV and hybrid models.
They show exciting layouts and styling, but ultimately failed numerous production attempts. The ideas of the e-tron and e-tron Spyder may influence the forthcoming 2016 Audi R8, particularly in the cabin.
There are actually two distinct e-tron Coupes shown below: one in silver that is far smaller than the one in bright red-orange, an R8-sized machine.
2010 Audi e-tron Spyder Concept
2010 Audi e-tron Concept 2
2010 Audi e-tron Concept 1