Capturing images of in-development cars at secret automaker test sites isn't an easy task. That is, unless the automaker takes photos and posts them on the internet. That's exactly what Audi did with its forthcoming E-Tron mid-cycle refresh, though the company didn't come right out and say it.
Instead, Audi released an overview of its private winter testing facility located in northern Sweden. The exact location isn't revealed, and Audi refers to it only as KALT 1. The fenced-in area covers nearly 9,000 acres and offers 51 miles of various roads and paths on which to drive. And by drive, we mean power slide because let's be honest – if you had 51 miles of private roads and a frozen lake all to yourself, you'd be sideways constantly. We certainly would. Judging by the plethora of photos Audi included, test drivers do as well.
Gallery: 2023 Audi E-Tron Sportback Teaser Photos
Stories about the testing facility and details on fine-tuning Audis are all well and good, but we're interested in the high-resolution photos of the updated E-Tron. The test car featured here wears the same camouflage coverings we've seen before, hiding minor design changes for the mid-cycle refresh. The high-resolution images let us zoom in for a very clear look, but to Audi's credit, the camouflage wrap does its job. Being staged photos, there's no chance of finding slip-ups in the cover or a particular angle that shows body lines better.
Also, the facelift looks to be very minor. We can see some outlines on the front and rear fascias, and everything looks like a match to the current model. The photos also include an interior shot of the prototype, and though we don't see the full greenhouse, what we do see is also a match to the current E-Tron Sportback. Our conclusion? This mid-cycle refresh is going to be very subtle. But Audi loves subtle.
The bigger news could come with the name. Reports say that Audi will christen the updated E-Tron with a Q8 badge, thus giving it more symmetry with the rest of the lineup. The Q4 E-Tron is already out there, and the Q6 E-Tron is coming later this year. It certainly makes sense, and when a properly new model arrives in 2026, the Q8 E-Tron name will already have some history behind it.
In addition to the prototype images, the photo gallery includes a few shots of a current E-Tron S Sportback dancing through various parts of the test area. Frigid though it might be, with the right car it sure looks like a magical place to have some fun.