The Audi R8 e-tron is dead with less than 100 built

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
According to a report from Car and Driver, the Audi R8 e-tron is dead (again!) after fewer than 100 examples of the all-electric model were built. This is an anticlimactic end to what could be termed an e-saga, with enough twists and turns to make a Hollywood scriptwriter sit up and start pecking out a screenplay. But here's the important number to keep in mind: 100.

That's the production number the R8 e-tron failed to reach. The final tally is less than that, an Audi rep told Car and Driver. And what few were built were sold furtively, and only in Europe, in a strange back-channel in which dealers referred potential buyers right to Audi HQ, says the report. All of these transactions happened without the benefit of an online configurator or any published materials, we understand. That doesn't sound like a recipe for wild success – and neither did the $1,000,000+ pricetag.

And this is just the latest stumbling block for the R8 e-tron, which was cancelled the first time back in 2012 when it was still based on the sinister, classic shape of the first-generation R8. If you recall, there was some confusion about the limited run of those first-generation cars, which were initially tipped to be sold to the public. In a strange move, Audi walked that back and held onto the cars for "internal purposes."

So it was, until 2015, when we saw the second-generation R8 e-tron in Geneva. Audi promised it'd go on sale in 2015 "upon customer request," which was some foreshadowing to the unusual dealership referral sales model we discussed above. Nonetheless, it seemed like it would be a supremely interesting electric sportscar, with 456 horsepower, 679 pound-feet of torque, a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds, and a range of up to 280 miles.

Alas, except for the fewer than 100 European owners who managed to take delivery before Audi yanked the cord, the R8 e-tron's emissionless charms will go unappreciated. We're hoping to get more specific confirmation from Audi about the nature of the cancellation and the exact number produced; until then, stay tuned.

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