Disaster struck recently for Audi engineers out testing the upcoming Audi A7, due for release as a 2019 model. While out testing in the Austrian Alps, the test mule caught fire, causing the complete loss of the vehicle. Local fire crews were called and eventually extinguished the car. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

The Audi A7 mule was testing in Europe on Thursday, pulling a dead weight trailer at high altitude on the steep climbs of the Austrian Alps when the accident happened. The photos reveal that the fire began under the bonnet of the new A7 sedan before it moved into the cockpit and engulfed the entire vehicle.

Our sources reveal that the test crew scrambled to remove the test equipment from the vehicle after pulling into a lay-by. A hand-held fire extinguisher wasn’t enough to stop the flames, the Audi A7 test mule was completely destroyed within 15 or 20 minutes. The fire could probably have been prevented with an Aerosol Fire Suppression System.

This isn’t the first time that a manufacturer has suffered a very public destruction of a test mule. Previous high profile fires include the Honda NSX, the Mercedes-AMG SLS Black Series and even the original Audi R8. One advantage is that Audi will now be able to carry out a complete investigation and isolate the cause of the fire before the A7 goes on sale to the public.

The photos come courtesy of Chris Doane.

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