by Jake Lingeman
Driving around in a modern EV like the Audi e-tron GT is like learning kung fu. You have the knowledge - in this case, power - precisely so you don't have to use it. But, when a gap appears in traffic, or you realize you need to get over a couple lanes from this red light to make a turn, you can do that, in a neck-snapping, breathtaking kind of way.
The e-tron GT is a midsize sedan that shares a platform with the Porsche Taycan. In standard guise, as tested here, it produces 469 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. But much like modern turbo cars have an overboost, the e-tron GT has a boost mode of its own, unlocking 522 hp and 472 lb-ft for a brief period and unlocking the 3.9-second 60 mph dash potential. In a world where the Tesla Model S has 400+ miles of range, the Audi's 238-mile EPA estimate might seem weak, but the e-tron GT family is about more than just hypermiling, it's about adding a dose of joy to the electric driving experience. As far as we're concerned: mission accomplished.
The Audi e-tron GT is an all-new arrival in the German marque's lineup for 2022. It combines a powerful electric powertrain with one of Audi's loveliest sedan designs in some time. The standard e-tron GT is offered in two trims and each produces up to 522 horsepower in boost mode from two electric motors, with the RS e-tron GT, reviewed separately, packing up to 637 hp. Starting at nearly $100,000 in the USA, the e-tron GT is handsomely equipped with many comfort and convenience features.
See trim levels and configurations:
We'd bet that many people will buy the Audi e-tron GT for its appearance alone, regardless of its abilities as an EV. Whereas Audi's trio of A4/A6/A8 sedans seems determined to fade into the background, there's no chance of that happening with the e-tron GT. It sits low to the ground and has a wide stance. The inverted Singleframe grille is flanked by stylish Matrix-design LED headlights, and 20-inch bi-color titanium wheels are standard. The sloping roofline flows elegantly down into the rear section. At the back, the taillight clusters are linked by a strip that runs across the width of the body. A fixed glass roof is standard on both trims. The design is color-sensitive, however, and the grey trim around the grille and on the side sills doesn't gel cohesively with every color option. Still, this is one of the prettier four-door coupes on the road today.
The e-tron GT is lower and wider than the Audi A7, a car that already has a considerable footprint. Official dimensions for this new EV are a length of 196.4 inches, a 114.2-inch wheelbase, and a width of either 77.3 inches without the mirrors or 84.9 inches including them. The height is just 55 inches. Like many EVs, the e-tron GT is heavy. This is reflected in the curb weight of 5,060 pounds. By comparison, the base Porsche Taycan weighs nearly 500 lbs less due to its single-motor configuration.
The Audi e-tron GT can be ordered in one of nine colors, but only Ibis White doesn't cost anything extra. Every other color carries a $595 price tag. These premium options include Daytona Gray pearl and several metallics: Ascari Blue, Florett Silver, Kemora Gray, Mythos Black, Suzuka Gray, Tactical Green, and Tango Red. Audi also offers the option of an exclusive paint color for $3,900. We're not so sure about the gray grille surround and the same gray for the side skirts. However, the gray can be replaced with Black Optic trim (including the mirrors) which looks better to our eyes. There is also the option of the grille being finished in the same color as the body. Of course, these things are highly subjective but the GT looks appealingly sinister in Daytona Gray with the body-color grille and the Black Optic trim.
The e-tron GT is powered by dual electric motors, one at each axle, enabling quattro all-wheel-drive traction. A two-speed transmission at the back optimizes the GT for either quick sprint times or highway driving with its taller second gear. The combined outputs are 469 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, although this increases to 522 hp and 472 lb-ft for brief periods with overboost when using launch control. As a result, the e-tron GT can accelerate from 0-60 mph in only 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 152 mph. Porsche sells a base Taycan with rear-wheel drive that isn't as quick as the Audi, but the similarly priced Taycan 4S has a near-identical 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds. Tesla is way ahead of both as its Model S Long Range is over $10,000 cheaper but takes just 3.1 seconds for the benchmark sprint. Still, the Audi is an undoubtedly quick car that will effortlessly push you back into your seat. The Audi's party trick is the way it handles corners, as Audi has somehow given it more soul than Porsche has with the same hardware - not something we ever thought we'd say.
Two permanently excited synchronous electric motors provide the Audi with its exciting performance. The front motor makes 235 hp and uses a single-speed transmission, whereas the rear motor produces a more powerful 429 hp and is paired with a two-speed transmission. However, the combined outputs aren't as simple as adding the two together. In normal driving, the motors produce 469 hp and 465 lb-ft, increasing to 522 hp and 472 lb-ft in overboost to enable the quickest possible sprint times.
Acceleration is brutal. You have to tighten your neck and stomach muscles once you move to Sport Mode, but even in Eco, the car is still incredibly quick. And we spent most of the week in that Eco mode, trying to stay as efficient as possible for the times when we wanted to swap to Sport and floor it. There really is something to the gamification of driving as competently as possible. In something like a Mustang GT500, there's no reward for going slow, as you can just fill up anytime you need to. In the Audi, we wanted to just use as little juice as possible, to save it for when we really needed it.
One of the keys with this Audi e-tron GT is the batteries, which are in the floor, and the motors, which are on the axles. That places most of its weight below the driver's hips for a super low center of gravity. The result? All turns, from quick hairpins to sweeping S curves, are met with a flat, planted feeling that ICE cars can't replicate without ludicrously stiff suspension. And the rear-wheel steering feature (part of the Performance Package for $6,000) makes it extra sharp at higher speeds.
The e-tron GT is quiet, but not that quiet. We thought that the promise of EVs was a silent, calming future. But with the radio on, and the windows open, it's barely quieter than an internal combustion engine car. Modern cars aren't that loud anyway. Its lack of serenity didn't annoy us, we just noticed it once. We suppose that pedestrians will be the ones more likely to enjoy our silent future cars, although a hum at low speeds alerts passersby to its presence.
One of the lures to EVs is one-pedal driving, but while the e-tron GT does have regenerative coasting, it's not very aggressive. If you click the left paddle on the steering wheel, the regen increases, but nowhere near the level needed for single-pedal operation. In a perfect world, one of those paddles would be for maximum regen, and would stop your car completely. That's another little game-like feature on cars that can be stopped without using the brake: holding the regen paddle, trying to time your perfect arrival at the stop sign.
It comes standard with a three-chamber air suspension, which has a 60% wider spread than the Audi e-tron SUV. It can adjust the body to different heights, about an inch down or up, and the chambers in each spring can be activated individually. They work with the standard adaptive dampers through Audi's electronic chassis platform control unit.
EV mileage ratings aren't seen as being as important as their total range, and in the case of the 2022 Audi e-tron GT, the latter specs aren't particularly stellar. The EPA claims 238 miles range on a charge while a Tesla Model S will manage up to 405 miles. Unsurprisingly, the EPA-rated MPG equivalents are worse off for the Audi at 81/83/82 MPGe city/highway/combined.
On a positive note, the e-tron GT's 800-volt electrical architecture makes it possible to charge it at speeds of up to 270 kW at a DC fast-charging station. Charging in this way can replenish the battery from 5-80% in just over 22 minutes according to Audi's claims.
The e-tron GT comes standard with three years of free charging at Electrify America's DC fast-charging stations. Audi will also help coordinate the installation of Level 2 AC wall boxes at customers' homes. We stopped at one of those DC fast chargers, not an Electrify America one, and got about 120 miles back in 20 minutes. That's not as good as promised, but there are lots of factors that go into fast charging, and we found it reasonable for a quick top up.
The Audi e-tron has a stunning interior with a design that sets it apart from other Audi models. Instead of one gigantic touchscreen for all functions, we're pleased that Audi decided to separate the climate controls which have their own physical buttons for quick, easy adjustments on the move. Quality is excellent and the big central tunnel between the driver and front-seat occupant gives the car a sporty feel from either seating position. Things are not as rosy at the back but we'll cover this in more detail in the next section. Standard features include 14-way power front seats with heating, a lovely Alcantara steering wheel with a flat-bottom design, a panoramic fixed glass roof that lets in plenty of natural light, and the brand's excellent 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
A five-seater by nature, the e-tron GT is not as generous as one might expect given its exterior proportions. The only interior measurement Audi's currently giving is the headroom, which measures 39.3 inches in front and 37.5 inches in back. At 5-foot-10 we didn't have to cramp our neck to sit upright, but we can imagine taller passengers feeling a little claustrophobic. Overall the back feels pretty roomy, and would be fine for two adults and one child. Three adults might get crowded as there's still a hump where the transmission tunnel would normally be.
The leather, perforated and heated seats are comfortable with 14 ways of adjustment for different body types. The extra under-knee support is a welcome addition and the bolsters can be tucked in tighter to hold you better in fast corners. Prestige-trim vehicles get heated rear seats too. The e-tron is low, so getting in and out will require a sturdy hand on the roof, or sometimes on the door sill as you wedge your body out.
From the driver's seat of the e-tron GT we're looking at a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster along with a 10.1-inch touchscreen. The gauge cluster replacement gets a couple of modes to display information, and the steering wheel features redundant controls for volume, infotainment functions, and your phone. The drive mode button is in the center near the small slider gear selector and the volume and tuning are done on a new round pad. It all worked flawlessly, and our only complaint was the piano black trim, which reflects the sun into your eyes around midday.
Audi says that the standard e-tron GT has a leather-free interior, as is the case with some other EVs. In its place is a mix of Alcantara, Dinamica, and leatherette, all of which have a high-quality appearance. A black interior is standard but for $4,000 more, customers can upgrade to a full leather interior with fine Nappa leather seats and RS honeycomb stitching. This option comes in Black, Santos Brown, Monaco Gray, or Arras Red. It also swaps out the standard Alcantara flat-bottom steering wheel for a perforated leather steering wheel. Natural Walnut wood inlays are standard but can be replaced by Matte Carbon Atlas inlays if you select the Performance package. These standard materials and optional upgrades apply to both the Premium Plus and Prestige trims.
At 9.2 cubic feet, the e-tron GT's trunk isn't particularly large considering the size of the car. This amount of space will suffice for daily needs but it'll be tight when a family of four sets off for a weekend away. There is also a small amount of underfloor storage at the back and the rear seats can be folded flat to accommodate larger items. A smaller front trunk, or frunk, can accommodate two smaller soft bags but not much more, although it's useful if you've reverse parked and can't easily get to the rear trunk.
Interior storage consists of front cupholders and a center console storage compartment beneath the armrest, although this space isn't especially large. The glove box is a fair size but the door pockets are rather tiny. To the right of the gear selector, there is a shallow compartment that isn't useful for much more than some coins or perhaps a wallet but it won't comfortably accommodate larger smartphones. A fold-down rear armrest houses two cupholders but these get in the way when you only want a comfy armrest.
The e-tron GT Premium Plus comes standard with 14-way power-adjustable front seats with heating. It also has a panoramic glass roof, three-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable tilt/telescoping steering wheel, wireless phone charging, cruise control, a garage door opener, and an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror. Driver-assistance features include a rearview camera, lane departure warning, parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, and forward-collision warning. The Prestige comes with all these features as well as heated rear seats, a head-up display, LED interior ambient and contour lighting, active lane assist, and traffic jam assist. Ventilated front seats with massaging can be added as an option.
The Audi virtual cockpit comprises a 12.3-inch screen ahead of the driver and it's complemented by an MMI touch response display measuring 10.1 inches. The latter is angled towards the driver for easy access. Both screens provide pin-sharp graphics and the touchscreen is very responsive to inputs. The system ships with wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-month trial subscription to Audi Connect Prime and Audi connect Plus online services. The standard sound system is replaced by a more powerful 16-speaker B&O surround-sound system on the Prestige.
The new MIB3 touchscreen has mode buttons along the side, which are touchable even when the Apple CarPlay screen is active. It's ten times faster than the previous system, says Audi, and satellite radio is standard, as is Function on Demand, where you can order some options you may not have spec'd your car with. It also comes with monthly map updates, as opposed to quarterly updates in the MIB2 system.
In our time with the vehicle it worked fine, we used wireless Apple CarPlay most of the time for both media and navigation, though we do appreciate the car's native Google Maps satellite view. It only takes a couple of presses to get to most functions.
The 2022 Audi e-tron GT sedan hasn't been around for too long, but it already has one recall to its name for a potentially non-displaying rearview camera image. As there wasn't a 2021 Audi e-tron GT, we also can't look back to accurately determine how reliable the EV will be yet.
Like other Audis, the e-tron GT comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance. The electrical components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The e-tron GT hasn't yet been tested for crash safety by local authorities but we expect it to retain Audi's top-notch reputation for building safe vehicles. As higher-priced vehicles often aren't evaluated, it's possible that the NHTSA and IIHS may never review the Audi e-tron GT.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
There are numerous active and passive safety features equipped to both e-tron GT trims. The list includes the usuals like multiple airbags (including rear side airbags), cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, and stability control. Driver-assist features extend to forward collision warning, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, parking sensors, Audi side assist with rear cross-traffic alert, and vehicle exit warning. The Prestige adds Audi active lane assist with emergency assist and traffic jam assist, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display. We do find it a bit cheeky that the Driver Assistance package costs an extra $2,250 on the Premium Plus, a box you'll need to tick if you want adaptive cruise control.
Riding around in something like the Audi e-tron GT confers certain benefits. First, it looks like a spaceship and people will notice that and ask you about it. You can tell them how much better and more refined it is than a Tesla Model S, built by a company that's been around for more than 100 years. Panel gaps should line up, too.
Second, it comes with enough power to make you giggle on every acceleration run. Even in Eco mode, this GT slingshots off the line. Over the week we were never blocked by a quicker vehicle. And it's not just from the stop signs. Hit the throttle at 60 mph and 80, 90, and 100 mph will come almost as quickly. Top speed is just over 150 mph.
It's just as fun to be green, using a minimal amount of energy, as it is to leave everyone in the dust. In Eco mode it caps your speed at about 80 mph, and only rarely would one need to exceed that. But better to have almost limitless power and not need it than need it and not have it.
Your alternatives include the RS e-tron GT, which goes for a full $40K more than this basic one. There's also the Porsche Taycan, which can be had with a rear-wheel drivetrain. That starts cheaper at $82,700, but the Turbo model is $150,900. And then there's the new Mercedes-Benz EQS, which goes for about $100,000. That's more luxurious and spacious than this, and is definitely less driver-focused.
The price of the 2022 Audi e-tron GT starts at $102,400 for the Premium Plus, rising to a $109,600 MSRP for the Prestige. These prices include tax, licensing, and a destination charge of $1,045. By comparison, the Tesla Model S starts at $94,990 but it doesn't qualify for a federal tax credit, whereas the GT may qualify for a tax incentive of up to $7,500. The base Porsche Taycan starts at $82,700 and goes up to $103,800 for the Taycan 4S.
The Audi e-tron GT electric sedan is available in Premium Plus and Prestige trims. Both have standard quattro all-wheel drive and produce up to 522 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque from their dual electric motors. The rear motor is mated to a 2-speed transmission. No other configurations are available.
The Premium Plus comes with 20-inch wheels, a fixed glass roof, and Matrix-design LED headlights. Inside, there are 14-way power front seats with heating, an Alcantara flat-bottom steering wheel, a 10.1-inch touchscreen interface, and a 12.3-inch digital driver's display. Lane departure warning and front cross-traffic assist form part of the safety list.
The Prestige is the range-topper and adds a head-up display, heated rear seats, LED interior ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control, a B&O surround-sound system, and traffic jam assist.
Audi offers two optional packages which add features like rear-wheel steering, Audi laser light, full leather upholstery, and ventilated front seats.
The Premium Plus comes with several packages. The most expensive of these is the $6,000 Performance Package that adds Black Optic mirror housings, 20-inch black wheels, Matte Carbon Atlas inlays, HD Matrix-design LED headlights with Audi laser light, power steering plus, rear-wheel steering, and more. The Full Leather Interior Package goes for $4,000 and adds a full leather interior, 18-way power front seats with massaging and ventilation, and a perforated leather steering wheel. The Driver Assistance Package is $2,250 and includes adaptive cruise assist, active lane assist, emergency assist, and traffic jam assist.
The Prestige offers all the same upgrades besides the Driver Assistance Package, which it already gets by default. Our only criticism here is that it would have been preferable for Audi to offer some of these features as standalone items instead of bundling them within expensive packages exclusively.
We'll start by saying that the base e-tron GT should be fast enough for 90% of drivers, which is why we wouldn't spring for the RS model. We do like the adaptive cruise, lane assist, head-up display and top-view camera standard on the Prestige trim, and at only $7,200 more, that's the trim we'd take. The only color that's free is Ibis White, but there are a few better ones in the various blues, reds, and Tactical Green, which looks more like a gold hue. Any of those for $595 would be better.
As usual, we'll keep the smaller, 20-inch wheels to help out the ride. We'll also keep the stock interior, even though it's boring, so we can add the $6,000 Performance Package. That comes with summer tires, Audi laser light headlights, rear-wheel steering, and e-torque vectoring.
All of that leads us to a price of about $117K, which isn't cheap, but is par for the course for large-ish EV sedans with this kind of range. And if you have a fast charger near your house or have a level 2 charger in your garage, you'll be good to go on anything but the longest road trips.
These two cars share the same platform and certain technical components, but Audi and Porsche have both put their unique stamp on each model. Curiously, the Audi seems to be the more engaging driver's weapon, in stark contrast with what history might tell us is the case. The base Taycan starts at over $17,000 less than the cheapest e-tron GT but it has RWD, less power, and a shorter range. The Taycan 4S is a better match and it has the same 522-hp output as the e-tron GT. The Porsche's interior is awash with touchscreen interfaces and doesn't feel as welcoming as the Audi's cabin, and the e-tron GT is also better-equipped as standard. The Porsche's price can rise alarmingly quickly once you tick a few option boxes. We'll give the edge to the Audi here.
Tesla set the EV standard with the Model S years ago and it's remarkable that the sedan remains so competitive today. If you go for the Long Range, you'll get a car that's faster (3.1 vs. 3.9 seconds for 0-60), has a range that is longer by over 160 miles, and is around $10,000 cheaper. Not only that, but the Model S has a more spacious cabin and a much larger trunk. The Audi fights back with its beautiful design, superior build quality, and more comfortable ride. The Audi's controls are also more logical and it doesn't have a silly yoke steering wheel. Then again, the Tesla is hardly a bad-looking vehicle and is also comfortable. The Audi may blow you away upon first acquaintance, but there are simply too many advantages that remain in Tesla's favor. Our choice is the recently improved Model S.
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