Aesthetic appeal is obviously a vital part of automotive design, but the beauty of the Audi e-tron GT also plays a crucial role in the performance and drivability of this groundbreaking new model.

19 February, 2021

Balancing form and function in automotive design has always been a crucial interplay, but in the new Audi e-tron GT, form plays an even more important role than usual. While aerodynamics have an effect on top speed of vehicles and fuel economy, the ‘slippery shape’ of the e-tron GT also plays a significant role in the vehicle’s range – which is of course integral to the day-to-day viability of electric vehicles.

Slipping through the air with least resistance is the name of the game. Having to push air out of the way not only hinders forward progress, but uses up crucial energy in the process, so the svelte shape of the e-tron GT which is so visually appealing, also represents the optimum shape to slice through the air like the proverbial ‘hot knife through butter’.

The Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT boast a low drag coefficient of 0.24 which increases the efficiency and ensures the maximum range possible, without compromising comfort or just as importantly, performance. Although the baby of Audi design Chief, Marc Lichte, the e-tron GT shape was developed in close collaboration the aerodynamics engineers and called on extensive testing in the wind tunnel to ensure that the final shape was not only stunning in appearance, but also delivered the desired aerodynamics to meet its performance and range targets.

To that end, numerous design devices have been used to employed aid the flow of air around and under the car, as well as directing it into the car in some instances to be used in a cooling capacity.

Using air inlets in the lower area of the front end, controllable cooling air inlets, a moveable rear spoiler and a flat underbody allow the airflow to closely hug the vehicle and ensure its clean breakaway at the rear.

The air inlets in the lower section of the front play an important role and the exterior upright air curtains guide the air into the wheel arches so that the air flows close to the wheel and then along the sides of the car. In addition, depending on the choice of rim for the car, some of the 20- and 21-inch wheels also feature light aero blades that are just two to three millimetres thick, which further increases aerodynamic efficiency.

There is also a controllable cool air inlet each behind the large ribs below the headlights and behind the openings in the corners of the Singleframe, which some tailoring of the aerodynamics. For efficiency, the two controllable cool air inlets remain closed as much as possible, but when they are opened for a more dynamic style of driving style, Y-shaped channels send the air to the coolers and into the front wheel arches in order to cool the brakes.

Then there is the rear spoiler, which extends electrically to two different positions depending on the speed of the car. It works together closely with the smooth underbody that ends in a wide diffuser, which allows the air to flow cleanly off the rear end, and essentially negate the lift that occurs at the rear axle at high speeds. Add the adaptive air suspension into the mix, and the body is lowered even further and increases this effect, further improving the air flow and handling stability and further reducing lift.

In real terms, this fine tuning in the wind tunnel results in a range of 488 kilometres for the Audi e-tron GT and 472 kilometres for its RS stablemate. But it also means a car, or cars, that are extraordinarily quiet, even at speed. Now obviously the absence of an internal combustion engine plays a significant role in this, but wind noise particularly as speed increases is always a factor. So, in addition to targeted insulation measures throughout the entire body, the e-tron GT uses a windscreen that is made of noise-insulating glass as standard and customers can also opt to have the side and rear windows made using the same type of glass.

The end result is a car that is weapon’s grade fast, and yet boasts real world range capacity. A car that is supremely comfortably and delivers the highest standards of luxury appointment and technology. And of course, a car that is absolutely stunning.