Geneva LIVE: 2017 Audi R8 e-tron

The battery-powered R8 has a total driving range of up to 279 miles.

Putting an end to a long-standing rumor, Audi introduced an all-electric version of the brand new second-generation R8 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Called e-tron, the battery-powered R8 packs an electric drivetrain that generates 455 horsepower and a massive 678 lb-ft. of torque, enough to send the coupe from zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. A targeted torque vectoring system helps the driver make the most of the R8's power both on and off the track.

The e-tron is equipped with a T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack that is mounted in the transmission tunnel and directly behind the passenger compartment, a location that noticeably improves the coupe's center of gravity. Designed and built in-house, the pack provides the R8 e-tron with an impressive driving range of up to 279 miles. An on-board Combined Charging System makes it possible to fully charge the pack in significantly less than two hours.

Audi has made a number of tweaks in order to lower the R8's drag coefficient to 0.28. Notably, the e-tron features a model-specific front fascia and lightweight wheels with carbon fiber inserts.

Buyers will be able to order the R8 e-tron later this year, though Audi has not announced whether or not the car will be available in the United States.

Interestingly, Audi predicts the R8 e-tron will be a low volume model and it admits that the car will essentially serve as a rolling pilot program designed to gather data on electric vehicles. The information gathered through the program will be used to build an all-electric sedan presumably aimed at the Tesla Model S, but a more specific timeframe was not given.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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