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Apparently the 2018 e-tron GT concept has been the real car all along!

Consider us surprised to discover, then, that the Audi e-tron GT was actually a bait-and-switch. “The show car really has just been the production car,” Marc Lichte, head of Audi Design, explains. Turns out, when the automaker needed a concept car, it had already designed the version that would one day roll off the production line.

Instead, it took a sheet-metal pre-production e-tron GT body, and prepped it for its premiere at the LA Auto Show 2018. When the silk sheet came off, there were only two differences from the four-door coupe Lichte and his team had come up with for the factory.

“We changed only two details on the show car,” the design chief explains. “We took off the door handles … and the illuminated e-tron badges that were on the show car, these will not be going into production.”

Even with handles, the e-tron GT is going to turn heads. What pictures don’t quite emphasize is just how low the EV is: its roofline is almost 3-inches lower than that of the A7, a car that’s hardly known for being tall itself. While its big wheels, short overhangs, and minimal greenhouse wrap around an electric platform developed by Porsche, the Audi manages to be even more dramatic than its Taycan cousin is.

According to Lichte, that’s a direct result of the electrification. The modular battery, for example, allows Audi’s engineers to design footwells into the power-pack slung into the e-tron GT’s lengthy wheelbase. Rear seat passengers, therefore, should get sufficient legroom even for adults, despite the exterior proportions.

Perhaps even more surprising, the elegant cabin will be close to what the concept car previewed. “The interior is very dramatic,” Lichte says, estimating that the production car is around 95-percent what we saw in the LA show car. “As you know the HMI is very well known … the whole dashboard is driver-oriented.”

For reference, here's what the 2018 concept was like.

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