The e-tron GT is an engineering and technology powerhouse.
Audi's e-tron GT isn't just an electric halo vehicle; it's a true halo vehicle for the German brand on an even footing with the Audi R8 for prestige. It promises to be an engineering and technology marvel that embraces a luxury sports car concept for the 21st century. "With the e-tron GT, Audi is demonstrating how fascinating electric mobility will be," Audi says. "The four-door coupé combines emotive design with a powerful drive and dynamic handling. This is the start of a new era, the gran turismo of the future."
Everything about the Audi e-tron GT is slick, from its sculpted bodywork and its 0.24 drag coefficient to its tech-filled and supremely elegant interior. But we're going to dig deeper and look at its standout features and technology.
The headline figures for the e-tron GT are 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds, while the RS model hits the same speed from a standstill in 3.3 seconds. Voth top out at an electronically limited top speed north of 150 mph. The key to these figures is a powertrain comprising two electric motors working together, one at the front and one at the rear, creating a total of 469 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque. However, an available overboost function unlocks the e-tron GT's full potential for 2.5-second bursts - 523 hp and 472 lb-ft. The RS model produces 590 hp and 612 lb-ft, but its own overboost function sends these peak figures to 637 hp, while torque remains unchanged.
The electric motors double up in purpose though, not only creating forward propulsion but also braking the e-tron GT, creating up to around 0.3 g of braking force before the hydraulic brakes kick in. According to Audi, this covers most everyday driving situations; by using the electric motors for braking, the system can recuperate up to 265 kW of energy to go back into the battery system.
Audi pioneered the era of signature lighting and daytime running lights, but the e-tron GT's headlights and taillights are something truly special. The detail is exceptional in the DRLs at the front, while the light bar across the back has taken an idea many automakers have struggled with and made it something artfully dynamic. That's not just marketing garb, either, the light bar is an animated work of art. LED dynamic turn signals are standard, but Audi has taken things to the next level with Matrix LED headlights featuring Audi Laser Light. A small laser module is fitted in each headlight to generate a cone of light that extends several hundred meters and doubles the length of the high beams.
Also taking things to the next level are coming home and leaving home animations from the headlights and taillights. According to Audi, "The leaving home sequence is inspired by the power of a sound wave: The illumination of the individual elements builds up quickly and strongly, then retreats briefly before going all in the second time." There will be variations in the animations across the trim levels, with the RS being the most visually arresting.
Audi's quattro system was first introduced in 1980 with the permanent four-wheel drive Audi Quattro model that dominated the world's rally circuits. In road cars, the system has evolved and remained the benchmark for all-wheel-drive, but now, it's set for its most significant evolution yet.
Only in Efficiency mode is power sent predominantly to the front wheels, but every other mode defaults to full-time AWD and uses the system to help hone the dynamics for how the car is being driven. When the vehicle senses a slippery surface under the tires or the driver accelerates sharply, Audi claims rear-drive is engaged five times faster than the equivalent mechanical system, with the time taken for torque to be distributed between the axles measured in the "a few thousandths of a second".
The headlines regarding the battery tech are all about the power, capacity, and charging times. What's just as impressive is how Audi has built the batteries into the car. Sharing the same platform as the Porsche Taycan, the 85 kWh is made up of 33 cell modules and is mounted at the car's lowest point and between the axles. This creates a low center of gravity and a close to 50/50 balance ratio, front to rear. That's not unusual in 2021, but the battery's inner structure and the cover plates are made from aluminum to minimize weight, and the structure makes a significant contribution to the chassis rigidity and the crash safety structure. Four separate coolant circuits regulate the temperature and use valves to allow the system flexibility. When the car is pushed hard, the system takes advantage of the air conditioning system's refrigerant circuit to keep the battery at its optimum temperature range between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Adaptive suspension is optional, but we suspect most people buying the e-tron GT will tick that box, and it's standard on the RS model. The air suspension is a three-chamber system that can drop the e-tron by 22 millimeters or lift it by 20 millimeters. Then, each spring can be activated and deactivated individually by the control system along with the (standard) controlled dampers. The rear axle has a variable differential lock with fixed values for acceleration and deceleration and is controlled by a multi-plate clutch. When variably actuated, it has values from zero to 100, and, when it opens completely, the Electronic Stabilization Control system can control braking on each wheel individually. That all works with electromechanical steering and optional all-wheel steering.
The e-tron GT has a total of eleven antennas built into its body to receive and send audio, LTE, Bluetooth, and GPS signals. That allows owners the ability to remote control the locking system, charging, and climate control. MMI navigation plus comes standard, as does the Wi-Fi hotspot using the LTE Advanced transmission as standard. The navigation system can suggest destinations based on previously driven routes and uses use real-time data to avoid traffic. Amazon Alexa and Car-to-X services warn of hazards, find free parking spots, and even communicate with traffic lights to catch green every time. Audi connect can pick out the fastest route with the most powerful DC charging stations available for fast charging, and its route planner is connected to the car's thermal management system. That means it can start cooling the battery before the charging station is reached to allow the fastest charge possible.
Part of buying an electric car is, currently, buying into the push to reduce the effects of climate change. That goes beyond zero emissions, and Audi is embracing that by going with an interior manufactured using sustainable materials. To make sustainable materials desirable, they have to be of premium quality. Leather has only been used to trim seats for some time now unless you step into the full luxury segment, and Audi has removed that from the base menu here completely. The artificial leather and the microfiber material, called Dinamica in Audi speak, are made of recycled materials such as polyester fibers made from old plastic bottles and textiles. In each 'Kaskade' upholstery set, no fewer than 119 recycled plastic bottles are used. Econyl makes up the floor materials, a textile created using 100% recycled nylon fibers from production waste such as fabric and carpet remnants or old fishing nets.
Something that separates a premium car from a true luxury car is the lack of outside noise making it into the cabin. The e-tron GT features a windshield made of noise-insulating glass as standard, and the option to have the side and rear windows made of the same material. Ultra high strength steel and targeted insulation reduce and prevent noises from creeping into the cabin. Removing unwanted noise from the exterior means a nice quiet ride, but it also means clearer audio from the sound system. Audi's sound system of choice is an available Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound, standard on the RS e-tron GT. In this case, it's a system delivering an output of 710 watts through 16 loudspeakers through the cabin including two 3D loudspeakers in the A-pillars.
Also featured in the new car is "e-tron sport sound". Sound is a part of driving, and Audi has created a system that generates a separate exterior and interior sound. Both sides of the system use two speakers, a pair inside and a pair outside. The synthetic sounds are generated using data from areas like the electric motors' rotational speed, the load on them, and the battery and the vehicle speed. The noise generated differs by drive mode, with Audi clearly remembering that sound is part of the emotive experience that is driving.
Audi is offering three designs of wheels in either 19-, 20-, or 21-inch diameters. They're sharp looking units and are created using a new production process that reduces CO2 emissions working with aluminum. Optional on the e-tron GT quattro and standard on the RS model are cast iron disks with a tungsten carbide coating. The coating improves performance, reduces wear, and prevents "flash rust." Flash rust appears on pneumatic brakes that aren't used on electric vehicles often and on regular cars left for a few days in damp weather.
Right at the pinnacle of the range, carbon ceramic brakes can be equipped to the e-tron GT in both trims. These 16.5-inch front rotors are not only engineered for track use, but utilize ten-piston calipers for supreme stopping power.