The Audi e-tron GT was and is a lighthouse project by Audi boss Markus Duesmann. Even before the manager switched from BMW to Audi, the four-door coupé was already in the planning stage; it was shown for the first time at the Los Angeles Motor Show in 2018. At that time, it was said that series production could start in 2020, now it’s that year 2021.
Porsche began manufacturing its “Mission E” as early as 2019. As a Porsche Taycan, according to the company, it sells like sliced bread. The corona pandemic also apparently did not affect the success of the first Porsche electric car. So good omens for the Audi e-sedan?
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Audi e-tron GT with a range of 488 km
Basically, both vehicles share the technical basis, build on the specially created J1 platform and not, as is often claimed, on the future PPE construction kit (Premium Platform Electric) of the VW Group. The preliminary basic version, the Audi e-tron GT quattro (combined power consumption (NEDC): 19.6-18.8 kWh / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g / km²), has a slightly more powerful 86 kWh net Battery as the basic Taycan (combined power consumption: 28.7-28.0 kWh / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g / km²) with the performance battery plus package (83.7 kWh) and should, according to the factory, have a WLTP – Have a range of 488 kilometers.
Of course, these are provisional and emphatically untested values. In contrast, the performance data of the two permanently excited synchronous machines (PSM) should hardly cause any skepticism. The Audi e-tron GT quattro pushes 350 kW / 476 PS and 630 Nm torque (in boost mode for 2.5 seconds 390 kW / 530 PS) onto the asphalt, with an electric motor on each of the front and rear axles to an electric four-wheel drive.
RS top model develops up to 646 hp
The top model, on the other hand, is called Audi RS e-tron GT (combined power consumption (NEDC): 20.2-18.8 kWh / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g / km²) and has a continuous output of 440 kW / 598 PS and 830 Nm torque, also generated from two PSM drives. In the meantime, 475 kW / 646 PS are available in the briefly available boost mode and should catapult the RS Stromer from 0 to 100 km / h within 3.3 seconds.
The normal e-tron GT manages the standard sprint in 4.1 seconds. Audi is thus placing the four-door Gran Turismo between the Taycan 4S and the Taycan Turbo (combined power consumption: 28-26.2 kWh / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g / km²), and a lower-performance base version with rear-wheel drive could follow at the end of the year.
With the brakes of the Porsche Cayenne
Like the Porsche, the Audi e-tron GT uses a 2-speed gearbox on the rear axle. The first gear is used for rapid acceleration, the second gear is intended to offer maximum performance at higher speeds. If the normal e-tron GT is allowed to hurry up to 245 km / h, the RS e-tron GT can reach a top speed of 250 kilometers per hour.
For the first time ever, a regulated three-chamber air suspension is used in an Audi, which is already part of the standard scope of the RS model. All-wheel steering for the rear axle is optional. The tungsten carbide brake system known from the Porsche Cayenne (standard on the e-tron RS GT), which is primarily intended to reduce fine dust pollution, is new.
Charging with up to 270 kW
In addition to regular steel stoppers, Audi offers a ceramic system as a third brake option. A rear axle differential lock and Audi’s driving dynamics system drive select are standard on both models. In the meantime, Audi specifies a maximum output of 270 kW for DC charging, whereas regular AC charging stations can initially charge with 11 and later with up to 20 kW. The gross 93 kWh battery in the vehicle floor consists of 396 pouch cells in 33 modules and has a voltage of 800 volts.
Although the external appearance is a matter of taste, the Audi e-tron GT seems subjectively thought through. It differs only slightly from the concept vehicle from 2018, but the relationship to the Taycan can hardly be denied (especially when the front section is hidden). Unlike some Bavarian competitors, the team around Audi chief designer Mark Lichte fortunately did without a “front grill massacre”.
Lots of light, little grill
With the launch of the 4.99-meter-long e-tron GT, it is also clear: The days of the previously known Audi single-frame grill are numbered. Standard LED headlights (with matrix or laser light technology on request), on the other hand, are the style-defining elements on the front of the car and fit seamlessly into the elegant and at the same time masculine design language. In the rear area there is the now common “thick jaw design” with flared wheel arches and a large LED light strip at the end.
In the interior, Audi is also jumping on the new green wave, offering a completely leather-free cockpit and preferring its fan base to sit on recycled synthetic fibers. How the surface material can hold its own in real life will of course only be shown by a test. When it comes to infotainment, the Ingolstadt-based people serve up the usual fare in the form of the last generation of their MMI system. Largely known from other Audi models, the central operating unit consists of a 10.1-inch touch display and the Audi virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch diameter.
Against the trend in the interior
It is interesting to see that Audi resisted the trend towards ever more and ever larger screen areas. Much more you rely on a long-serving control unit for the automatic air conditioning, real switches in the center console and a steering wheel without touchpads.
Market launch and prices
Audi is confident when it comes to pricing. The Audi e-tron GT quattro is available in Germany from 99,800 euros and the Audi RS e-tron GT from 138,200 euros. The base variant with rear-wheel drive, which was subsequently submitted, could, however, be a bit cheaper than the Porsche Taycan (basic model), which costs at least 83,520 euros. The market launch of the Gran Turismo manufactured in the Böllinger Höfe in Neckarsulm is planned for spring 2021.
The Audi e-tron GT has the potential to stand up to the Tesla Model S and the platform brother Porsche Taycan. Whether he converts seasoned A7 and A8 fans to e-mobility depends largely on how things are in everyday life in terms of range and fast charging options. Good: In the interior, Audi remains with real switches and handy displays. Bad: The heavy base prices at Porsche level. (Text: Thomas Vogelhuber | Pictures: Manufacturer)