2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2 Debuts as Ultra-Limited Camo-Wrapped Variant

2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2

The 2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2 is a factory-built ‘prototype’ that’s limited to just 75 total units.

The 2023 Audi RS e-tron GT is already a pretty impressive entry into the performance-focused, luxury EV sedan space and a fine alternative to its Porsche Taycan brethren. With 637 horsepower on tap (using its boost feature for launches), the RS e-tron GT rockets to 60 mph in a mere 2.9 seconds and boasts its fair share of next-level tech to boot, making it the perfect vessel for someone who appreciates performance and luxury but doesn’t want to give up anything in terms of style, either. However, for those that crave a bit more of that – plus some added exclusivity – the brand new 2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2 is here to fulfill all of those needs.

The most obvious update that makes this oddly-named Audi unique is its exterior treatment, of course, as it’s the very first vehicle of any kind from the German brand to emerge from the factory wearing a camouflage graphics-skinned and wrapped exterior. This isn’t just some out-of-the-blue creation, however, as Audi is known for using camo wraps to conceal the designs of its prototypes when they’re out testing, which makes this a pretty cool idea.

2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2

In this case, that camo is comprised of the same red and black color combo used on original prototype test mules, but it also features red Audi rings at both ends for the very first time. The look is further enhanced by a set of 21-inch black aero wheels that cover ceramic brakes with red calipers, while “project_513/2” is etched in the rear quarter glass to boot.

2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2

Moving inside the cabin, the 2023 Audi RS e-tron project_513/2 continues that red and black theme with red air vents and detailing on the steering wheel, floor mats, and nappa leather honeycomb stitched seats, while the dash features carbon fiber inlays with camo graphics. The special edition name adorns the center armrest and the infotainment screen as well, just to remind occupants that they aren’t sitting in any old, regular Audi. One thing that hasn’t been upgraded is performance, but then again, the RS e-tron GT already has plenty of that on tap.

2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2

As for that odd moniker, project_513/2 is also an homage to the development process, as it’s precisely what Audi uses to name its developmental vehicles in terms of segment, generation, and body style, though that info is typically only utilized internally – another cool nod to this ages-old process.

2023 Audi RS e-tron GT project_513/2

Audi plans to build just 75 examples of this special “prototype” production model starting this spring – all for the U.S. – with a price tag of $179,900. But for anyone that’s ever dreamed of owning their own Audi test mule – or a prototype of any sort from any manufacturer – this is likely about as close as one can get, save for scouring auction sites looking for one that escaped an automaker’s crusher.

Photos: Audi

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Audi Design Boss: Future Vehicles Will be ‘Less Aggressive’

Audi activesphere concept in Arctic Teal

Don’t worry, as the design chief’s take on Audi’s activesphere concept indicates “aggressive” is open to interpretation.

Two weeks ago, Head of Audi Design Marc Lichte hinted Ingolstadt is considering building an electric off-roader meant to compete with high-end offerings like the Land Rover Defender and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Now, Lichte has revealed more about what’s in store for the Future of the Four Rings — and it’s sure to spark discussion among enthusiasts. Because in a conversation with our friends across the pond at Top Gear, he said the company’s new designs will be “softer, more friendly” and “less aggressive.”

Before we all pull out the pitchforks, however, let’s take a look at how he views Audi’s new activesphere concept:

I think this car I would say is not aggressive, it’s the opposite. It’s very soft, very friendly, very… there’s no edge on the exterior design.

Okay, there’s a lower layer which is really rugged, but we want to visualize this, no? I see, in general, car design will become more friendly. At Audi definitely. But I see this as a trend in general. Softer, more friendly, less aggressive.

OK, so I don’t know about you? But while the roofline might be smooth, overall, I think the activesphere concept looks pretty aggressive. So I don’t think we’re in any danger of Audi making all of its forthcoming products look like jelly beans. If you want a vehicle with truly “friendly” sheet metal, you’re probably still better off going with a third-gen Miata or a Dodge Neon. It’s pretty tough to top those two rides when it comes to warm-and-fuzzy vibes.

As the interview progresses, Lichte explains Audi’s pivot toward an all-electric lineup will allow it far more freedom when it comes to its designs, which makes a lot of sense. Because internal combustion engines, aside from making — sometimes deliberately fearsome — noises, also need large grilles and vent systems to keep them cool. And in recent years, those elements have been exaggerated to give vehicles an aggressive presence.

Sometimes, automakers even go as far as to add fake vents, and the less said about that, the better. So it’s easy to see why design folks would be thrilled at the opportunity to ditch them, and as a result, make kinder, gentler, looking cars.

The most curious section of the interview might be where Lichte cites the war in Ukraine as a reason that aggressive designs will fall out of favor. And while that might be true in the European market, if I had some advice to give him? I’d caution against thinking a current war, even one as well-covered as the one in Ukraine, will do anything to sate the desire of Americans for aggressive vehicles. After all, the United States has been at war for the vast majority of its existence, so it’s a little short-sighted to think this conflict will have any measurable impact on the population’s taste.

Image Source: Audi

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Audi Connect Free Trial: Subscription’s Ugly Head

Audi Connect

Subscription services like Audi Connect raise troubling questions about the future of vehicle ownership.

While cruising the forum this week, I stumbled across this thread from coldrain85, which polled members about whether they intended to keep their Audi Connect subscription beyond the initial six-month trial. It’s a perfectly reasonable question and highlighted that currently, the price for the top tier Connect Plus has climbed to a whopping $50 a month — or about as much as home internet costs.

Of the members who answered the poll, only a third said they’d continue the service, with some saying the onboard Wi-Fi actually saved them money, by allowing them to pare down their cellular plans. That said, most of the folks thought it cost too much, and said their smartphones handled their connectivity needs.

As sirfrancis noted, Audi — unlike most internet providers — doesn’t have a client retention department, so calling customer service isn’t going to get you a break on the rates. The big question, of course, is where Ingolstadt intends to take its subscription model. Because right now, Audi Connect features are nice, but not terribly important things to have. Though it’s easy to see a future where much of a new car’s functionality disappears six months after you’ve left the dealership — unless you’re willing to pay to get it back.

Think about it. BMW is already charging a subscription fee to use Apple CarPlay, a feature that is native to the car’s infotainment system, and as The Verge reported, in places like South Korea, the United Kingdom, Germany, and New Zealand, it subjects creature comforts like heated seats, adaptive cruise, and automatic high beams to subscription fees. And as opposed to letting buyers pay for a performance car at the dealership, Forbes reported Mercedes-Benz now wants to charge customers $1,200 a year to get the most punch out of its EQE and EQS electric vehicles. As our friends at CarScoops noted, Stellantis is getting into the game too, and by 2030, the company expects to rake in $4.4 billion in post-sales charges annually.

For anyone considering a new car, this trend should set off alarm bells. Because given the opportunity, manufacturers will raise subscription fees to the absolute limit of what the market will bear — and there are no laws in place to protect consumers. So while safety regulations might stop buyers from being charged for a “night driving mode” that allows use of the headlights, a “vehicle-to-vehicle communication function” that enables the turn signals, or an “inverse-orientation maneuverability setting” that engages reverse, if this model continues unchecked, there’s nothing to stop automakers from turning vehicle ownership into an unending torrent of microtransactions.

Mark my words: Without legal intervention, most future vehicles will be designed to go into “limp mode” unless customers opt for subscription plans. But what do you think? Am I overreacting? Or are charges like the ones above indicators that a time when you never truly own your vehicle is just around the corner? Hit me up and let me know!

Image Source: Audi

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The Pitfalls of Buying a Cheap S5, Audi Promises Exciting EVs, New A4 Spy Shots & More! | AudiWorld Driven

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Images: Audi; Bring a Trailer; Motor1.com

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Insane RS 7, Audi TT Turns 25, RS 3 vs Huracan STO & More! | AudiWorld Driven

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Happy Birthday Audi TT!


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Must Watch Video: Lamborghini Supercar Struggles to Stay Ahead of RS 3

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Images: Audi; Bring a Trailer; Autoweek

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