It was first teased at the 2015 Frankfurt IAA; one year before its final unveiling, we get a close glimpse of the production car, which is making its rounds around Audi’s Ingolstadt home base and at the usual testing locations.

Caught with moderate camouflage, we recognize that the e-tron quattro does not deviate all that far from the 2015 concept. But we can see that it looks better – a lot. The concept car’s scary, chiseled front grille has made way for a cleaner face that evokes new new A8, and both the front and rear are adorned with futuristic LED lights.

The crossover proportions remain close to the concept; the roof is somewhat coupe-like, but not too much. That’s because Audi wants to leave room for a derivative called the e-tron Sportback quattro, which will hit the market about on year after the initial car.

The interior, our sources tell us, will be close to the new A8 in concept and execution, and that’s a good thing: It means horizontal lines, touch-sensitive glass screens, and an altogether ultra-futuristic ambience.

With the new A8, Audi lays claim to a leadership position in autonomous driving technology, and we expect the e-tron quattro to further expand on the technology.

The first version of the new e-tron quattro will be fitted with one front and two rear electric motors, which will produce a total output of around 385 horsepower. It will be priced around 80 000 euros.

Down the road, there will be an entry-level version with one front and one rear motor, with around 300 horsepower, but what we really look forward to are the high-output versions, which could exceed 500 horsepower.

And that’s before Audi Sport takes a look at electric cars – something that the sub-brand’s boss Stephan Winkelmann has hinted to be high on his list of priorities.

With Audi’s trademark attention to details, fit and finish, the e-tron quattro will prove to be a tough challenger in its segment: We can’t wait to see how it stacks up against the Mercedes-EQ models, the Jaguar I-Pace, and – indeed – Tesla’s next offerings.

It will be interesting to see the e-tron quattro battle with the upcoming, fully electric models by Mercedes-EQ and Jaguar. And, of course, the different offerings by Tesla – which will struggle to retain a leading position in a market they served to create.

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