The result of an internal competition in the Audi Design department, the RS Q e-tron’s design, although wildly futuristic remains unmistakably Audi.

27 July, 2021

It seems fitting that a vehicle conceived and designed purely for extreme competition should carry a design itself born of a competition. The Audi RS Q e-tron is just such a vehicle, its wild, futuristic styling the result of an internal competition at Audi Design which saw designer, Dario Tomorad’s entry adopted as the basis for the company’s Dakar challenger. 

“There were many great designs,” says Juan Manuel Diaz, who is responsible for the design of the racing vehicles at Audi. “We liked Dario Tomorad’s proposal the best. Together with him and the whole team, we have put together a fascinating car in an extremely short period of time that is completely different, but is still recognisable as an Audi at first glance.” 

“Most of the cars in the Dakar Rally are rather boxy,” says Dario Tomorad. “Audi is known for doing things differently. We are incorporating the dynamics of our production models to the race car. We have a coupe-like silhouette, similar to the e-tron Sportback and we’ve taken inspiration from our unique motorsport history.” 

The design draws heavily on the brand’s long and distinguished motorsport history. The vertical fin on the rear section and the air intake on the roof, which supplies sufficient cooling air to the electric motors, the high-voltage battery and the energy converter, are reminiscent of Audi’s successful era in the Le Mans 24 Hours. While the protrusions behind the doors are based on the side blades of the Audi R8 but also house the two spare wheels on this rally car.

The design is of course as practical as it is visually striking, the demands placed on a vehicle in the Dakar dictating much of what was possible. Because vehicles jump a lot during the Dakar Rally for example and usually land with their front suspension compressed and frontends pointing downwards, the front section of the car begins practically above the huge front wheels. 

The futuristic appearance of the Audi RS Q e-tron is emphasised by a camouflage design developed by Marco dos Santos, which combines different shades of grey. Bright red stripes and coloured sections represent the Audi-e-tron technology. 

“Most of our competitors use very colourful vehicles,” says Marco dos Santos. “We clearly stand out from them with our dark, very technology-focused design. The spectators will have an easy time distinguishing our cars from the others.”

The design team also took into account the fact that vehicles in Dakar are viewed from the perspective of helicopters filming the remote action, hence the four rings in XXL size on the air scoop that will make the RS Q e-tron easy to spot as it races its way through the deserts and into the motorsport history books.