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Taycan-rivalling e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT bring a new level of EV performance to Audi range

After nearly three years’ gestation, Audi has finally lifted the lid on its first electric grand tourer – the e-tron GT. Power, driver engagement and emotional attachment are all part of the package, with the RS e-tron GT spearheading the range and making it a true rival to cars like the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S.

The introduction of the e-tron GT into the Audi range heralds a new path in electrification from the brand, contrasting the SUV-like e-tron which has been the sole pure electric Audi available until now. It takes Audi’s traditional strength in the four-door grand touring (GT) segment, forged through cars like the A7 and RS7 and adds the benefits of zero emissions, prodigious power, ultra-rapid charging and the latest technology. All of this is designed to enable it to handle long distances, quickly and comfortably.

Fortunately, Audi has also swerved the temptation to throw its traditional design principles out the window. But before we get to that, let’s look at the technical details.

Powertrain

The Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT are based on Volkswagen Group’s J1 electric platform, which can be found in the Porsche Taycan. Two power outputs are available at launch – 469bhp and almost 465lb-ft in the regular e-tron GT, or 590bhp and 612lb-ft in the RS version. Both cars have an overboost function which ups the GT’s power to 523bhp and the RS GT to 637bhp for 2.5 second bursts.

Both cars make their power thanks to two motors – one on the front and one on the rear axle – giving them the quattro credentials. Like the Taycan, the rear axle has a two-speed transmission, helping the e-tron GT to hit 62mph in 4.1 seconds and the RS e-tron GT in 3.3 seconds. Both cars top out on the fast side of 150mph.

The e-tron GT’s battery has a net (usable) energy capacity of 85kWh and runs at 800 volts, helping it to attain a maximum DC charging speed of 270kW. AC charging is catered for via a standard 11kW onboard charger, with a 22kW version being made available shortly after launch. At the top-end and in ideal conditions, five to 80 per cent charge takes just 23 minutes. Furthermore, whilst on the move the Audi can recuperate 265kW of energy by generating up to 0.3g of deceleration force – helping the regular GT to a range of 298.3 miles on the WLTP cycle.

Mounted low and centrally in the car, the battery helps the e-tron GT achieve 50:50 weight distribution. Along with adjustable air suspension, a rear-drive bias, locking rear differential and big brakes (optionally in carbon fibre) the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT should challenge the Taycan as the most dynamically capable EVs out there.

Exterior styling

There’s no doubt about it; the e-tron GT is a very good-looking car. It hasn’t strayed too far from Audi’s ICE-powered designs, and most people could be forgiven for not realising it’s an electric car. As well as pulling off the fast GT look with aplomb, the car is typically Teutonic, with the various exterior design details having function as well as form. In fact, they help it achieve a 0.24 drag coefficient – assisting that all-important range of almost 300 miles.

The car’s proportions (4.99m long, 1.96m wide and just 1.41m tall) ensure it looks hunkered down, with help from the long wheelbase, flared arches and wide track. A bit of menace comes in the form of the singleframe, colour-coded grille (behind which sit many of the car’s sensors), active air intakes for the brakes and radiators and the rear spoiler which extends depending on vehicle speed and dynamic requirements. Wheels are a minimum of 19 inches, with 21 inch optional rims filling the arches to their full extent.

Matrix LED headlights are standard on the RS e-tron GT and can be optioned on the regular car. If you want to go nuclear in the LED headlight war, Audi laser lights are available as an option on either car. The rear LED lights include a signature light band, and in combination with the headlights, offer leaving and coming home animations.

Interior space and tech

Inside, there is ample space for four adult passengers, housed in sustainable luxury. A 2.9m wheelbase means rear seat passengers get to stretch out a bit and can make use of the so-called ‘foot garage’ which has been designed to lower the seating position without compromising comfort – enabling the designers to keep that ultra-low roofline intact.

Leather is optional, but for the most part Audi is playing heavily on the sustainable and recycled materials that are used throughout the interior. Up-front, eight-way adjustable seats are standard, with 14-way and 18-way adjustable versions also available. At the top end, buyers can spec climate-controlled and massaging front seats.

Drivers get the 12.3 inch Audi virtual cockpit plus as standard and can opt for a head-up display. A central 10.1 inch MMI touchscreen running the latest third-gen MIB 3 infotainment system is also standard. This can be controlled with voice activation as well as touch and can be personalised depending on who is driving. Audi connect services, the e-tron route planner and the capability to become a Wi-Fi hotspot are also standard across the e-tron GT range.

As you’d expect, there is an array of driver assist systems in the Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT. As standard, it comes with Audi pre sense front and Audi pre sense basic systems, the former of which uses the car’s forward-facing sensors to adjust to other vehicles and hazards at up to 155.3mph, and pedestrians at up to 52.8mph. The pre sense basic system ensures occupants are best protected in the event of hard manoeuvres or an accident. Lane departure warning is also standard.

Optional packages are split into Tour, City and Park, and equip the car with things like night vision, adaptive cruise, efficiency assist or surround view cameras – depending on which is selected. With the optional Park package, drivers can set the car to park in a space, get out and wander off – leaving the car to finish parking and shut down automatically.

Prices and availability

The Audi e-tron GT starts at £79,900 for the quattro variant, rising to £106,000 for the quattro Vorsprung spec level. For the RS e-tron GT, prices start at £110,950, rising to £124,540 for the Carbon Black edition an £133,340 for the Carbon Vorsprung version. All versions will be available to order in the spring of this year. 

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