Owing to the tall battery pack behind the seats and the fact that, subsequently, the rear window is blanked off, the e-tron has a 6.8-inch AMOLED monitor in place of a rear-view mirror. Inspired by the unit used on the R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans race car, it carries real-time video captured by a rear view camera.
It's a little odd at first but you soon become accustomed to its shallow depth of field. Whether or not it appears on the production car is up in the air right now, says Hackenberg.
At posted limits, the R8 e-tron always feels to have plenty in reserve. At typical motorway speeds solid performance is just a fleeting nudge of the throttle away. A heavy dose of right foot sees the hi-tech two-seater accelerate with terrific force as the prodigious torque is doled out to each rear wheel.
The R8 e-tron may tip the scales at 1840kg but the inherent response and sharpness of its acceleration gives the impression that it weighs a lot less. Its longitudinal stability is also exemplary, making it a great proposition over longer distances.
Audi claims this latest incarnation of its electric sports car is good for 0-62mph in just 3.9sec. This is 0.7sec slower than the new 601bhp 5.2-litre R8 V10 Plus but, significantly, 0.3sec faster than the initial R8 e-tron prototype.
The top speed is currently limited to 124mph, although this is likely to be increased for the production car. What really grabs your attention, though, is the intensity of its rolling acceleration, particularly in the 50-80mph range, when you gun it.
There is an agreeable amount of feedback from the electro-mechanical steering system and superb traction thanks to the use of a torque vectoring system, that splits the drive between the individual rear wheels. The handling is satisfyingly neutral, too.
The R8 e-tron corners eagerly with responsive turn-in traits, impressive grip and outstanding body control. Predictably, given the car's weight, the ride is rather firm. However, there is sufficient wheel travel to ensure it never feels uncomfortable.
The driver can choose between a recuperation mode, in which kinetic energy produced under braking is stored in the battery, or a coasting mode, which disconnects drive between the electric motor and gearbox to provide a freewheeling effect on a trailing throttle.
Meanwhile, a raft of readouts within the instrument binnacle allows you to keep close tabs on energy consumption and the state of the battery charge.
On a run of 143 miles over urban streets, secondary roads and motorways, we used just three-quarters of the available electricity, averaging 19.9kWh per 100km (62 miles). At the end of the journey the range-to-empty readout was showing 70.2 miles, suggesting Audi’s revised 249-280 miles range claim is within reach.