We’ve got new photos of the latest test mule to be seen at the Nürburgring for industry test days. Clearly, it’s some sort of variant of the upcoming PPE-based A6 e-tron, and it’s popped up before testing in cold weather climates. At the time, our spy photographer sources suggested it might be an RS 6 e-tron.
Admittedly, it’s hard to tell. Why? Well, the photographers on site in Germany noted the large brakes with red calipers. It’s also got a fairly aggressive chin spoiler and side sills as seen in the photos. These all suggest something more serious than an everyday A6. So does the fact that they’re track testing at the Nürburgring industry test days and the driver is wearing an Audi Sport driving suit as is typical of Frank Stippler and the other gentlemen who test Audi hardware at that track. But, there are other clues that make us wonder then if it’s an S6 e-tron versus an RS 6 e-tron.
For us, the most suspicious (i.e. non-RS) confirmation on the car is the license plate. Typically, Audi registers its test mules in two places. The “IN” on this registration tag suggests Ingolstadt, home of Audi’s corporate headquarters and largest test center… so that’s not that unusual on the face of it. However, Audi Sport GmbH typically tests out of Audi’s Neckarsulm facility, and cars registered in that town have registration tags beginning with “HN” for “Heilbronn”. While Audi might be changing its practice with the new RS, it also might be suggestive that this is not quite the RS 6.
The other clue to our eye is the fenders. We haven’t seen any PPE-based models in non-camoflauged form, so this is purely a guess, but the fender arches don’t look particularly muscular to our eye. In fact, they look pretty standard A6 if we had to take a guess. While S-cars like the S6 typically share fenders with the A6, the RS-versions tend to be more aggressively wide. However, this wouldn’t be the first time a test mule used the regular arches to help keep final design secrecy in place.