Lighter, more agile and more aerodynamic, the RS Q e-tron E2 is the vehicle tasked with building on Audi Sport’s stellar first outing in the Dakar Rally.

2 September, 2022

Lighter, more aerodynamic and with a variety of changes aimed at simplifying it operation and running repairs, the new, or revised Audi RS Q e-tron has been revealed for the first time. 

Called the RS Q e-tron E2, the new off-road racer features a completely new body that has been paired right back with significantly less surface area for a more efficient shape, while the drivetrain has also been revised for great acceleration off the line.

“The Audi RS Q e-tron E2 does not adopt a single body part from its predecessor,” says Axel Löffler, Chief Designer of the RS Q e-tron. In order to comply with the prescribed interior dimensions, the cockpit, which was previously narrowly recessed towards the roof, is now significantly wider. The front and rear hoods have also been redesigned. “We are now doing away with the underflow of the rear hood to the left and right of the B-pillars. In conjunction with modified lay-ups – optimised fabric layers of the composite materials, this solution reduces weight,” says Löffler. 

And while the second generation RS Q e-tron couldn’t be described as svelte by any means, the new body design and aerodynamic flow have a significant impact on vehicle efficiency in terms of power usage – an all-important factor given its electrified drive.

“The aerodynamic aspect should not be underestimated in desert rallying either,” says Löffler. “It further reduces the energy requirements of the electrically powered car. We implemented the aerodynamic calculations entirely using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).” These computer simulations replace the time-consuming work in the wind tunnel and still deliver highly precise results.

While the E2’s top speed remains at 170km/h as part of the regulations, the changes to both body and drivetrain mean that it has improved acceleration and reaches that top speed much faster than before. This and an improved manoeuvrability impressed the three Audi Sport driver pairings as they put the improved RS Q e-tron through its paces in a recent test session in Zaragoza in Spain.

Significant changes have also been made to the power management systems to optimise power usage, based on valuable lessons learnt in this year’s Dakar and the vehicle’s first-ever victory at the Abu Dhabi Rally.

Operation both to controls inside the cockpit and around the vehicle has also been simplified. 

The reduced bodywork makes access to spare wheel simpler and faster than before and the 10-spoke wheels can also be removed from the vehicle with the removal of a single pin – again speeding up the process of changing flat tyres which is a constant problem in off-road racing.

“We have combined all the important lessons in a very short time. The result of our ideas is the E2 evolution,” says Uwe Breuling, Head of Vehicle Operations Audi Sport. “Our development team’s determined and cost-efficient work has prepared us perfectly for our second Dakar Rally.”

But before that, the RS Q e-tron E2 will see action in Morocco in early October in its first competitive outing. All three Audi Sport teams – Swedes Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist,  the French pairing of Stéphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger and Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz – will take part in the Moroccan rally, not only looking to further refine the E2 vehicle but chasing another outright win in the rally.

Following the Rally du Maroc (Morocco Rally) the 1st to the 6th of October, all focus will be on preparing the team for the next Dakar assault, where the pressure will be on to improve on this year’s outstanding debut.