This is the new Audi e-tron GT, the next step in Audi’s march towards electrification
As evo gears up to drive the e-tron SUV, Audi has shown the next step in concept form. Yet while you can expect small details to change during the productionisation phase, what you see here is essentially the car that will go on sale in late 2020 – this is no one-off model, but a proper car with off-tool metal panels.
The e-tron GT is based on the same J1 platform that will underpin the Porsche Taycan. Think of it as a lower, sleeker ‘Audi A7’ type of car, the reduction in height due to the engineering package incorporated within. With the lithium-ion battery pack located in the floor, and no bulky engine up front, the e-tron GT can be designed to be lower. The batteries are arranged in a wave, so the layer is thinnest in the footwell and taller underneath the seat base cushions, maximising interior space.
It’s powered by two synchronous electric motors, one for each axle, thereby making it four-wheel drive, a new type of Quattro if you will. The combined power output is 433kW, which enables a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed limited to 240km/h. A truer idea of the car’s potency can be garnered from the 0-190km/h of around 12 seconds. The car is being developed by Audi Sport, and an engineer told evo that they were ‘focusing on the reproducibility of performance’ – something high performance electric vehicles have struggled with in the past. With double wishbone suspension, electric torque vectoring, rear-wheel steering and a very low centre of gravity (especially for a roomy four-seater), the GT should handle as well as the Porsche Taycan it’s loosely based on.
Another aspect Audi is keen to make is substantial progress in range anxiety: the e-tron GT will have a range of nearly 402 kilometres from its 90kwh battery pack, the minimum range the firm believes is acceptable to its customers. Moreover, if you can find a charging point compatible with its 800v charging system it’s possible to reach 80 percent charge (321 kilometres) in around 20 minutes. There will also be a wireless charging setup that works with an inductive pad installed in an owner’s garage.
The GT showcases the next evolution of Audi design, including the specific language for its EV models. The familiar Audi grille and face remain, but have been reversed. With clearly no need for a traditional front air intake, the mouth is solid, with black elements visible around it. The GT also features a honeycomb-type effect on the grille, which is set to be a feature of forthcoming RS models.
Audi’s head of design, Marc Lichte, calls the GT “The highlight of my career”, and has worked hard with his team to subtly make the transition away from a mindset of cars powered by internal combustion engines. The bonnet is plain, as there is no engine in there, while the sills are pronounced, as that’s the location of the power source. Naturally, at the rear there is no space, nor a need for an exhaust outlet, although there is a working diffuser and a moveable rear spoiler.
Inside, the e-tron GT uses entirely man-made and some recycled materials, including old fishing nets for the carpet fabric. That may sound ghastly, but evo has sat in the vehicle and it’s a comfortable and stylish place to be, and none the worse for its vegan principles. The metal slab of a dashboard is a big step forward from current Audi designs, and forms much more of a span between the two front doors; in fact, the interior and exterior are more closely linked in design than before, a specific aim of the team. Despite the relatively low height of the vehicle, there’s still plenty of room for tall adults in both the front and rear seats.
There’s no word on pricing yet but expect to see further information and images of the production vehicle testing towards the end of next year.