Following an extended campaign of teasers and prototype reveals, Audi has finally whipped the covers off its new e-tron GT. Not a concept, not an ‘artist’s impression’ — this is the real McCoy.
Unveiled earlier this morning, the new e-tron follows in the footsteps of its SUV namesake, as Audi and the Volkswagen Group at large shifts focus to electrification. It shares its architecture with Porsche’s sublime Taycan (via the J1 platform), which offers a healthy hint as to its capabilities.
Two performance levels have been confirmed; a regular ‘Quattro’ model and an RS model. The former brings 350kW of power and 630Nm to the party, while the latter ups both values to 440kW and 830Nm respectively.
Each gets an 86kWh battery, capable of around 488km of driving per charge. Like the Taycan, it incorporates 800V charging functionality, meaning super fast charging times. When plugged into a DC fast charger it will be able to go all the way from 5% charge to 80% charge in just 22 minutes and 30 seconds, making it one of the fastest-charging cars in the world.
Both models incorporate a twin-motor set-up — one for each axle, allowing Audi to keep its Quattro DNA alive into the electric performance era. Both get the same 175kWh motor across the front axle, while the RS gets a heftier 335kWh rear motor relative to the standard model’s 320kWh. Each also gets a two-speed gearbox, similar to in the Taycan.
What does all of this mean for performance? Well, on overboost (a 2.5-second jolt of additional horses on command) the RS will hit 96km/h in 3.1 seconds. The base Quattro is no slouch, either, hitting the same figure in 3.9 seconds.
This places the GT in prime Tesla Model S territory. Although, perhaps unlike the American-made EV the e-tron is said to be much better at repeating its performance claims over and over and over again. Audi claims to have placed a large focus on making sure its car’s abilities don’t rapidly drop away after numerous stabs, doing so by giving it an effective thermal management system.
It will also … errr … make noises. The e-tron can be optioned with two control units with amplifiers. According to Audi, they “generate a separate exterior and interior sound, which is output by two loudspeakers each outside and inside the vehicle.”
“Data about the rotational speed of the electric motors, the load, the vehicle speed, and other parameters serves as the basis for the digital sound,” it added. “A synthetic sound that offers an authentic and finely nuanced impression of the work performed by the drive system. sound that offers an authentic and finely nuanced impression of the work performed by the drive system.”
Expect the e-tron to drive well, too. It sports a double-wishbone suspension set-up made up largely of lightweight aluminium components, paired to an electro-magnetical steering system. The RS adds adaptive suspension comprised of a three-chamber air system and electronically controlled dampers.
All-wheel steering is among the other performance features, capable of twisting the e-tron’s rear wheels in accordance with the fronts, in order to aid rotation — particularly when navigating tighter corners. This complements a car that has an incredibly low centre of gravity, lower still than its R8 supercar cousin.
Inside and out, the GT looks almost unchanged from its concept equivalent. The cabin is vintage Audi, with its full ‘virtual cockpit’ for the driver and plenty of red stitching and carbon fibre. Of note is the lack of leather — Audi instead using a man-made alternative.
The model has already been confirmed for the New Zealand market, and is tipped to arrive by the end of the year. Local interest and orders have reportedly been booming for Audi’s local arm, as it aims to continue its streak as one of the world’s best markets for hot performance Audis.