Check out the high-tech cockpit of the Dakar Rally-bound Audi RS Q e-tron


It’s no secret that Audi has been developing the RS Q e-tron as its game-changing Dakar Rally entry for the 2022 season. And while we’ve seen several photos of Audi’s dune drifter, we haven’t actually caught sight of what’s inside the RS Q e-tron. Luckily, Audi shared a few snapshots of the Dakar Rally-bound Audi RS Q e-tron’s high-tech interior, giving us a glimpse of its airplane-like cockpit.


  • What is the Audi RS Q e-tron?

    The Audi RS Q e-tron is an electrified vehicle developed by Audi to compete in the 2022 Dakar Rally.
  • How did Audi plan the design of the cockpit?

    Audi broke the tasks of each driver and distributed various functions between drivers and co-drivers, making them more efficient in playing out their roles.
  • When will the Audi RS Q e-tron compete?

    The Audi RS Q e-tron will participate in the 2022 Dakar Rally in January 2022.
  • Where will the 2022 Dakar Rally take place?

    The 2022 Dakar Rally will be held in the deserts of Saudi Arabia.
  • At a glance, there are a variety of monitors and displays spread across the entire width of the instrument panel. And although they look like a lot to take in for the average driver, each screen and button is purposefully placed to help the driver and co-driver cover thousands of kilometers in the desert quickly and successfully.

    The Audi RS Q e-tron not only aims to revolutionize the 2022 Dakar Rally by becoming the first carmaker to use an electric vehicle (with an efficient energy converter) against conventionally powered competitors, but also to redistribute various functions between drivers and co-drivers, making them more efficient in playing out their roles.

    Steering, accelerating, and braking are the main tasks for drivers Mattias Ekström, Stéphane Peterhansel, and Carlos Sainz, who fully concentrate on the terrain, said Audi. They no longer have to change gears because the electric drive with energy converter in the Audi RS Q e-tron no longer requires a manual transmission.


    The cockpit also features a double-cranked aluminum handbrake lever coupled with the innovative brake-by-wire system that combines the hydraulic brake with a recuperation system.

    The Audi RS Q e-tron’s steering wheel has eight buttons to control the horn, the windshield wipers, and data entries in the software if the driver wants to store an anomaly with a timestamp in the memory.

    Behind the steering wheel, a display sits directly in the driver’s lower field of vision providing information on tire pressure, the direction of travel selected by the continuously variable electric drive (forward, reverse, or neutral), and the current speed.

    In addition, the display screen also shows important warnings so that the driver can react immediately in the event of an imminent system shutdown or disconnection of the high-voltage battery, for example.

    Two small displays mounted above and toward the windshield bring essential information into the field of vision: a so-called repeater on the left shows the compass direction, while the display on the right shows the speed being driven.

    Right between the driver and his co-driver sits a central display that provides information on tire pressure, the selected brake balance, the brake-by-wire system, and many other functions. Underneath the central display is a switch panel with touch-sensitive individual keys with a pressure point. Audi has stored various functions on the 24 freely assignable but predefined areas: for example, preselected maximum speeds, which are common in speed limit zones, or the air-conditioning actuation.


    The operation of this switch panel is up to the co-driver; the driver only expresses the corresponding wishes. The co-pilot thus assumes a high level of responsibility in addition to his original main task, which is to navigate. “I now spend only half my energy on navigation; the other half on operating the car. But I love this new challenge,” said Edouard Boulanger, Stéphane Peterhansel’s co-driver.

    The co-drivers — Emil Bergkvist, Edouard Boulanger, and Lucas Cruz — orient themselves in the terrain and the prescribed route by checking two tablet screens that replace the previous paper roadbooks. The left screen shows the way through the terrain, on the right is the GPS navigation which validates the digital waypoints that each participant must drive to.

    The cockpit is completed with the Iritrack system in the center console. It is used for first aid in emergencies. The driver and the co-driver must operate the high-tech cockpit in rough terrain at speeds of up to 170kph for hours on end.


    The Audi RS Q e-tron is set to compete in the 2022 Dakar Rally, scheduled from January 2 to January 14, 2021, in the sandy and unforgiving desert of Saudi Arabia.

    Photos from Audi and Dakar

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