Audi’s Neckarsulm factory in Germany turns 150 this year, and to celebrate the moment, the Ingolstadt-based automaker decided to do something rather special, in the form of a car that doesn’t even bear the four rings logo on its hood.
You see, before Audi was the modern, luxury carmaker we know today, it was known as Auto Union, and the Neckarsulm plant – which now makes the A6 and A8 sedans – was the property of NSU, which made bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. At one point in history, the Neckarsulm-based brand was the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, and later on, started selling the first-ever passenger car powered by a Wankel engine. In other words, NSU was quite a big deal back then.
However, compared to other car brands in Germany, it was still a relatively small company, so in 1969 it was taken over by Volkswagen, which merged NSU with Auto Union and brought the Audi brand back to life, putting an end to NSU-branded cars, which would only go on to be sold until 1973.
Among those last models was the NSU Prinz 4, a compact two-door sedan that was powered by a rear-mounted 598 cc air-cooled two-cylinder engine that made roughly 30 horsepower when it was new.
And it’s this model – a Prinz 4L built in 1971, specifically – that Audi chose to resurrect and modernize for the factory’s 150th anniversary. And to make things even more interesting, the German brand gave the task of electrifying the aging classic to a team of 12 trainees, which did an amazing job.
In the end, just part of the original car survived the transformation: the old two-cylinder was replaced with a 240 hp electric motor that came out of a 2020 Audi e-tron, the tank that used to live under the front hood was yanked out and in its place a high-voltage battery pack from the plug-in hybrid Audi Q7 TFSI e quattro was installed.
A modified floor pan from an Audi A1, including brakes and axles, took the place of the original underbelly of the car, while the body was extensively modified and widened to be a good fit. There’s also a pretty big rear spoiler that’s bolted directly to the roll cage, which means that it goes through the rear window.
The project got the name EP4, which stands for “Electric Prinz 4,” and was painted in Suzuka Grey and Brilliant Black, while the huge rear wing got a splash of Signal Yellow.
Inside, the radical electric restomod is as bare-bones as it gets: a single-board computer and corresponding screen serve instruments and displays, there are two Recaro Podium bucket seats, and a Signal Yellow roll cage.
“The project gave our apprentices a chance to work freely with different techniques and materials,” said Timo Engler, Head of Training Vehicle Technology/Logistics. “For example, in addition to the electric drive, they used 3D printing, a second technology of the future. Carbon fiber – familiar from motorsport – was also used for the front hood.”
It’s quite the aggressive little thing, but we want to know what you think about it, so after browsing through the photo gallery above, scroll down to the comments section to give us your thoughts.