Our spy photographer sources have just sent us over a new set of shots of the R8 e-tron test mule of which a few photos surfaced yesterday. Photographers tell us this mule rounded the Ring quite quietly though we're checking to see if it was employing any of the e-sound elements that Audi defined recently.
Obvious e-tron design cues such as those on earlier e-tron prototypes on display at the Frankfurt IAA last September can be easily seen. Lack of exhaust pipes, the split-ventilated rear window segmentation, vented hood and plenty of vinyl signage make no secret of this car's specification and we expect a full production R8 e-tron to hit showrooms by next year.
Also interesting to our eyes were design changes that are new to this prototype and likely cues from the upcoming R8 facelift expected to be revealed this September at the Paris Motor Show. We've got a much larger gallery (linked at the bottom) but have picked a few photos shown here to help describe what we're seeing.
This detailed low-speed profile shot shows a few notable differences. This car wears the side sill of the R8 V10, something we're thinking may go line wide with the refresh. Note also the more protruded rear lip spoiler/crease as well as two new-looking mis-matched wheels that likely indicate a newer and lighter wheel design that will go with the refresh.
This tight crop on one of the frontal photos in our collection shows more changes. Note the more hexagonal shaped grille. The grille itself has horizontal chrome slats that may or may not be e-tron spec when the car hits production... but we've no doubt that little "e-tron" badge instead of the usual "quattro" badge will be a production detail for Audi's first "ur e-tron" model. That lower vent with the border the whole way around is expected to be a design cue on all facelifted R8s however the headlights (and taillights) are expected to change.
Also seen here are R8 GT-shaped mirrors. We're guessing this mirror body design will replace the old setup for all R8s because we've also heard that other facelift elements will be GT inspired including round exhaust tips on V8 and V10 models.
Check out more photos in our gallery and let us know if you spot any details we've missed.
PHOTO GALLERY: R8 e-tron Test Mule at Nurburgring