The Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT have arrived and with them, an exciting new era in e-mobility.
With the arrival of the Audi e-tron GT and the RS e-tron GT, Audi offers a very real and exciting look at the brand's future direction.
10 February, 2021
The RS e-tron GT sees off the sprint from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.3 seconds
It’s here! Or to be more accurate, they’re here. After months of teasing looks at heavily disguised cars and evocative silhouettes, even listing to the custom sound of the car, today the covers have officially come off the Audi e-tron GT quattro and the RS e-tron GT. Two all-electric, high-performance grand tourers – electric supercars – that effectively set the platform for the future of the brand.
Few new models in the recent history of the brand have a been more eagerly anticipated, this combination of elegant sports styling and state-of-the-art all-electric drive with truly extraordinary performance paint an exciting and extremely attractive picture of the future of e-mobility at Audi.
It’s fitting that the e-tron GT is built at the same factory as the celebrated Audi R8, the Böllinger Höfe facility at Neckarsulm being adapted to accommodate both the cutting edge combustion supercar and the all-new electric supercar on the same line. It’s also fitting that this facility is also carbon neutral.
With the arrival of the e-tron GT and the RS e-tron GT, Audi is not only building on its current all-electric offerings – the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback models – but a stunning look at the direction future electric models will take.
These tremendously powerful, driver oriented four-door grand tourers showcase the very latest in automotive technology from Audi, in vehicles that are both aspirational and yet supremely practical.
The Audi design language is obvious from the first glance, and yet the e-tron GT has a distinct character and look all its own. It manages to pay homage to past Audi models yet at the same time clearly signals the way forward, not only in terms of its design but of course in terms of the technology that drives it. So pleased with the finished vehicle is Audi Head of Design, Marc Lichte, that he has said he thinks it is the most beautiful car he has ever drawn – no small statement from someone with his resume – think Audi Prologue concept, A7 Sportback and Q8 models to name just a few.
Hearing him speak about the car’s proportions and balance is to listen to a man truly proud of what has been achieved. The e-tron GT and the RS e-tron GT have been designed for maximum aesthetic impact but also with aerodynamics playing a more important role than perhaps ever before. The ‘the more slippery the shape’ the more efficiently it is able to slice through the air and in turn the greater the range of the car, and these practical considerations are as important as aesthetics and pure performance. Countless hours in the wind tunnel have resulted in a car with a drag coefficient of just 0.24 which shows that that that brief was well and truly met.
There was also the need to incorporate the 85 kWh (95kWh max) lithium-ion battery into the floor of the car, which has been emphasised in the final design which suggests a low slung sports car. This off course is exactly the case, as the battery weight in the floorpan accentuates the low centre of gravity and aiding in the car’s balance and handling in turn.
The flat floor and the absence of the traditional transmission tunnel also adds to the sense of space and indeed the real, usable space in the interior.
Flat floors means more leg room – particularly in the rear, where despite the low-slung roof line (the car is just 1.41 metres high), passengers as tall as two metres – Marc Lichte for example – still have plenty of foot and head room.
Measuring just shy of five metres long, the e-tron GT boasts a long wheel base of 2.9 metres and broad low stance of 1.96 metres wide, interior space is generous for all passengers. It likewise delivers 405 litres of luggage space in the traditional boot, and a further 85 litres of storage up front under the bonnet.
From the tip of its elegant bonnet and standard LED headlights (Matrix LED with laser light can also be added), down extremely muscular flanks flared out over 19, 20 or 21-inch aerodynamic wheels (shod in optimised rubber), to the elegant rear diffuser, the e-tron GT makes quite an impression.
Although just 1.41 metres high, the design is such that tall occupants even in the back seats have plenty of head and leg room
The stunning interior is also offered in leather-free finish, using a host of materials with luxury feel and finish but made from recycled materials
Technology abounds in every conceivable detail, but is subtly incorporated so as not to compromise the lines and the overall design. From the large air intakes in the front which serve an important cooling function as well as adding to the front aesthetics to the active aerodynamics. The rear spoiler which rises seamlessly with the car’s speed works closely with the smooth underbody that ends in a wide diffuser. This allows the air to flow cleanly off the rear end and compensates for the lift that occurs at the rear axle at high speeds. When the adaptive air suspension (standard in the RS model) lowers the body, it increases this effect by further improving the air flow, handling stability as well as reducing lift.
But the e-tron GT is every inch a driver’s car and to that end, performance and cabin orientation has been designed with the driver in mind. The design is at once Audi, but with a new twist, the sweeping dash and touchscreens familiar, but like the exterior of the car, with a completely new feel. New sustainable materials abound as Audi also offers the e-tron GT with a new leather-free design package. Here the sculpted sports seats are upholstered either with a combination of artificial leather and the Kaskade material or with a mixture of artificial leather and the microfibre material Dinamica. Recycled materials are used in both cases, for example polyester fibres that were made from old plastic bottles, textiles, or residual fibres from selvages (off cuts). The floor carpet and floor mats are made from Econyl in both models, the material consisting of 100-percent recycled nylon fibres from production waste, fabric and carpet remnants, or old fishing nets.
Whether it be the leather interior or the new, recycled materials, the finish is superbly executed, with the leading edge technology – Audi virtual cockpit and cental touchscreen – beautifully integrated.
Of course the e-tron GT is extensively connected, its 11 antennas, all of them are invisibly integrated into the car, connecting it with the outside world. They receive and transmit audio, LTE, Bluetooth, and GPS signals feeding everything from the MMI navigation plus to the wi-fi hotspots and Audi connect plus functions – from parking to e-tron route planning and everything in between. It is a triumph of traditional craftsmanship and technology, beautifully married together.
Of course these are first and foremost performance vehicles and the performance is impressive. Driven by two electric motors, the Audi e-tron GT quattro produces 350kW (175kW front motor and 320kW rear), while the RS e-tron GT ups that total to 440kW. The driving range is up to 488km for e-tron GT, and with 800-volt technology enabling fast DC charging with an output of up to 270kW, these are cars that bring not only greater performance but introduce a new era of real world convenience to e-mobility.
The e-tron GT races from 0 to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds with a governed top speed of 245km/h. The RS e-tron GT delivers a stunning 3.3 second 0 to 100km/h spirit and a slightly higher 250km/h top speed which is also electronically governed. Both electric motors keep reserves available for extreme driving situations, which is why the sum of their individual outputs exceeds the drive’s total output of 350kW (476 PS) considerably. Up to 390kW (530 PS) are available for 2.5 seconds in boost mode via launch control – something of a shot in the arm when required.
Of course the new vehicle puts power down using quattro in all-electric form. Building on 40 years of quattro development, the electric all-wheel drive regulates the drive torque distribution between the axles – continuously, fully variably, and within a few thousandths of a second.
The sleek, aerodynamic design allows for ranges of up to 488km for the Audi e-tron GT
Charging from five to 80 percent SoC (state of charge) takes less than 23 minutes under ideal conditions
The Audi e-tron GT quattro also comes as standard with a differential lock with fixed locking values during thrust as well as traction. The controlled rear-axle differential lock is available as an option and is standard in the RS e-tron GT. A multi-plate clutch is its core element and can be actuated fully variably, and the locking range extends from zero to 100 percent. The driver will feel this at work on slippery road surfaces and during maximum full-stop braking – the lock opening up completely, allowing the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) to brake each wheel with great precision.
Energy recuperation through braking or coasting also adds considerably to the vehicles’ range, but charging is in a league of its own with multiple options available to customers. The e-tron GT can charge with 11kW AC as standard, which allows it to recharge an empty battery over night. An optional charger for 22kW will follow shortly after the market introduction and at sufficiently powerful DC terminal, the car hits charging capacity of up to 270kW which allows it to recharge energy for up to 100 kilometres in just over five minutes. Charging from five to 80 percent SoC (state of charge) takes less than 23 minutes under ideal conditions. This results in ranges of 488 kilometres (e-tron GT) and 472 kilometres (RS e-tron GT).
It’s an impressive proposition across the board, from the design which is the first thing that grabs you, right through the technology, materials, manufacture and ultimately the performance and driving experience. Audi has spared no effort in making the e-tron GT something very, very special because it literally represents the next chapter for the company and had to be spot on.
Australian customers won’t have to wait too long to experience these very exciting new all-electric offerings to arrive Down Under, with both the e-tron GT and the RS e-tron GT expected to arrive in Australia in the third quarter of this year. Pricing and specification details will be confirmed ahead of their arrival, but even at first glance, these cars are true game changers that are destined to become modern classics.
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