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Audi electric car prototype to star in Iron Man 3

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Gene J. Puskar/AP/File

(Read caption) An Audi logo is shown at the 2013 Pittsburgh Auto Show in Pittsburgh. Audi tried a new, more social, advertising scheme for this year's Super Bowl.

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Movies, books, and television shows can boost a brand to new heights. Think Risky Business and Ray Bans, or E.T. and Reese's Pieces.

More recent examples of great product placement include The Italian Job, which helped relaunch the MINI brand in the U.S. Or Transformers 2, which wasn't well-received by the critics, but still managed to spark sales of the Chevrolet Camaro. And as some of you may know, the hugely popular Fifty Shades of Grey has a very soft spot for Audi, which hasn't gone unnoticed by the erotic trilogy's mostly female readership.

Now, Audi is returning to the big screen in a big way. The brand made a splash in the first andsecond installments of Iron Man, and in about two months, it'll come back for round three.

In Iron Man 3, inventor/superhero Tony Stark drives another fashion-forward Audi. This one may look similar to the Audi R8 hardtop he drove in the original Iron Man, but in fact, it's the R8's all-electric e-tron variant -- which is, sadly, still just a prototype. 

(And just in case you didn't get the Audi tie-in, Stark's sweetheart, Pepper Potts, will drive an Audi S7 Sportback throughout the film.)

Does this mean that Audi is finally putting the R8 e-tron into production, after years spent bashing electric cars, then promising e-tron versions of every Audi model by 2020, then unplugging the e-tron program (or at least the R8 version) altogether? No one can say.

All we know for sure is that we'll probably get our best look yet at the R8 e-tron when Iron Man 3 opens on May 3 (or April 25 for those who live near an IMAX theatre).

For more info about the R8 e-tron and Iron Man, pay a visit to our colleagues at Motor Authority

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