Audi RS Q E-Tron E2 is lighter, sleeker, ready for Dakar

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One year after launching its series-hybrid RS Q E-Tron, Audi has a wholly redesigned model ready for rally raid events. Part of the redesign is to meet new regulations, but much of the changes are for improved performance and efficiency. It's all called the RS Q E-Tron E2, similar to how the late Group B Audi Sport Quattro had the S2 suffix.

The design is the most obvious area that has changed, and Audi notes that every external panel is new. It's a bit longer and wider, and the cabin is also quite a bit wider. These are mainly because of new regulations. But the body has 15% less drag than the old one. Much of this is due to the underside of the vehicle, which now narrows at the front and rear between the wheels. Also, while the regulations now have a 100-kilogram higher minimum weight requirement, the E2 is lighter than the predecessor, as that was even heavier than the new weight minimum. Audi noted that the body is also designed to have more easily removed panels for service, and wheels that are easier to handle.

Audi didn't give power specs, but the powertrain is a similar setup to the old RS Q E-Tron. It has a gas engine for a generator, a high-voltage battery, and a pair of electric motors that drive the wheels. Audi has adjusted its power management, and has worked on efficiency. It has a new air conditioning system that runs intermittently to save power as well as to prevent an issue the team had with freezing coolant. And that more aerodynamic body also improves efficiency.

The off-roader will be competing in the 2022 Morocco Rally and the 2023 Dakar Rally.

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