Audi has finally pulled the covers off its most anticipated models of the year, the E-Tron GT: its flagship fully electric Gran Turismo which is touted to offer the best dynamic driving performance, emotional design, and spearhead the brand’s electric offensive in the years to come.
In a virtual launch event, Audi introduced two model variants at the outset – dubbed the RS E-Tron GT and E-Tron GT Quattro – this full-electric fastback sedan style takes inspiration from the Prologue concept from way back in 2014. Audi notes that the E-Tron GT represents a new era of its design language that centres around significantly more flowing exterior lines and sporty proportions than previous models.
At the front, the characteristic “Singleframe” grille reinterprets the classic honeycomb pattern; featuring lateral air inlets that are framed by a mask in dark Manhattan grey. Unlike a conventionally powered Audi, a majority of the grille elements are closed off in an effort to conceal the sensors that lie behind it. Only the lower of the six corners have open sections for air supply.
Along the flanks, the elongated hood and flat windshield transition into a quickly sloping roofline. The greenhouse thus looks very sleek and low. Towards the rear, the inclined C-pillars in the rear area flow elegantly into the muscular rear haunches of the body. Lower down, sharp edges extend across the large wheel arches, another characteristic detail of many performance Audis.
Round the back, the taillights are connected by a flat light strip, while lower down, an offset diffuser gives the E-Tron GT a unique design detail. A rear spoiler with an integrated spoiler lip runs parallel to the light strip to round off the wide, low, stance of the E-Tron GT. The E-Tron is supplied with 19-21 inch wheels depending on variant and equipment lineup.
In terms of dimensions, measuring in at approximately 4.99 meters in length, 1.96 meters in width, and 1.41 meters in height, as well as a wheelbase of 2.90 meters, the closest relative of the E-Tron GT in terms of size is the Audi A7 Sportback, but note, given the E-Tron’s packaging, it sits 17mm lower than an A7 Sportback.
Powering the E-Tron GT Quattro is two PSM motors (permanently excited synchronous motors), one on the front which offers 238PS, and the rear motor which outputs 435PS – combined the output is rated at 476 PS. An overboost mode of up to 530PS is also available for approximately 2.5 seconds from a standing start using the launch control mode. Torque is rated at 630Nm in normal driving mode – and 640Nm in overboost mode.
As for the more powerful RS E-Tron GT, the front motor puts out the same 238PS but the rear offers 456Nm for a combined output of 598PS, power rises to 646PS in overboost mode. Torque is rated at a whopping 830Nm.
Both the E-Tron GT Quattro and the RS E-Tron GT usually drive with electric all-wheel drive in their default setting. A proprietary , “Efficiency” mode will prioritize front-wheel drive. However, in the event of a slippery road surface, high power requirements, or fast cornering, more torque can be distributed to the rear wheels at around five times faster than with a mechanical quattro drivetrain.
The electric all-wheel drive regulates the drive torque distribution between the axles – continuously, fully variably, and within a few thousands of a second. Regardless of the drive mode, the driver can use the rocker switches on the steering wheel to adjust two manual recuperation levels or select an automatic level in the MMI system.
Powering the E-Tron GT is a lithium-ion battery system located between the axles, at the car’s lowest point. This provides a low centre of gravity appropriate for a sports car and a weight distribution between the front and rear axles that is very close to the ideal value of 50:50.
The high-voltage battery can store 85 kWh of energy net (93 kWh gross) in both models. It integrates 33 cell modules, each of which comprises twelve pouch cells with a flexible outer skin. The system voltage of 800 Volts enables a high continuous output and shortens the charging duration; in addition, it reduces the weight and space required by the wiring.
The inner structure of the battery that houses the modules, as well as the frame surrounding it, is made of lightweight aluminum. The battery system contributes significantly to the rigidity and crash safety of the body to which it is attached via 28 screws. According to Audi, the battery’s feel-good temperature is between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius. Four separate coolant circuits regulate the temperature in the high-voltage components and the interior, each at its own temperature level. The refrigerant circuit also helps with cooling during fast DC charging, which can heat the battery up to 50 degrees Celsius.
As for charging - charging flaps of the E-Tron GT are located behind the front wheels. The E-Tron GT can charge with an 11 kW AC charger as standard, which allows it to recharge an empty battery overnight. An optional charger for 22 kW will follow shortly after the market launch. At a sufficiently powerful DC terminal, the car achieves a peak charging capacity of up to 270 kW. This allows it to recharge energy for up to 100km of travel in just over five minutes.
The E-Tron GT features double-wishbone suspension at all corners with adaptive dampers offered as an optional extra on the E-Tron GT Quattro, but standard on the RS E-Tron GT. Other optional equipment includes rear-wheel steering. Braking duties are handled by steel discs while the RS model is fitted with cast iron disks with a tungsten carbide coating (optional in the E-Tron GT Quattro) for better braking performance.
In terms of assistance features, the Audi E-Tron GT Quattro and the RS E-Tron GT are being introduced to the market with a wide range of driver-assist systems. The Audi Pre Sense front and Audi Pre Sense basic safety systems are standard, as is the lane departure warning system and cruise control system respectively. Optional packages also add other cutting-edge assistance systems such as a Night Vision Camera, Surround View Cameras and Remote Parking Assist.
The E-Tron GT goes on sale in Europe starting this month; the E-Tron GT starts at EUR99,800 (RM489,104) and as the RS E-Tron Quattro from EUR138,200 (RM677,296).