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Wraps finally come off Audi e-tron GT. Image by Audi AG.

Wraps finally come off Audi e-tron GT
First proper look at Audiís high-performance electric saloon, the e-tron GT, with up to 646hp and a possible £133k price tag.
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What's all this about?

Having been flung about in a heavily disguised version as a passenger and having also sampled an RS pre-production prototype on the island of Rhodes, it's now time to have our first, full look at the undisguised Audi e-tron GT. This is the second all-electric model under the 'e-tron' branding after the existing SUV and its Sportback spin-off, and it's available to order now ahead of its full launch in spring.

Excellent. Have you got me any prices?

Yes, the Audi e-tron GT will start at £79,900 and rise to a rather more chunky £133,340. We can detail exact range-wide prices later on in the piece, once we've gone through everything.

Please do. I'm keen to know how you get to a £133k Audi that has no engine...

You're being facetious, but fine. The styling you can see for yourself from the images, which is Audi's typically creasy, typically aggressive sort of look - a bit like an RS 7 Sportback - isn't a major surprise, and it's bound to find eager EV punters keen to snap it up. Some of the key points regarding the aesthetics is that the e-tron GT is almost five metres long, nearly two metres wide and only stands 1.41 metres off the deck, which means it has a low coefficient of drag of just 0.24. The wheelbase is also long, at 2.9 metres, meaning it has 'classic grand tourer' proportions, according to its manufacturer.

Then there are the specific details for the e-tron GT. For instance, its large Singleframe grille - which houses much of the car's sensor equipment and also fancy active aerodynamics to cool the battery pack and the front brakes - has an inverted colour scheme to make it different to the combustion-powered Audis already available. That is to say, the honeycomb grille itself is optionally available in body colour for the first time on any Audi, while the RS models have a 'black mask' frame to this aperture. All models will get at least full LED headlights with 3D-look daytime running lamps plus dynamic 'direction sweep' indicators front and rear, while a Matrix LED set-up will be an upgrade option. On the higher-spec cars, Matrix LEDs with Audi Laser Light will offer even greater evening illumination for the driver.

And then there are the large wheel arches, forming quattro blisters that reference a new type of all-electric quattro AWD system, while the rear diffuser is of a design bepoke to the e-tron GT and works with an electrically deploying rear spoiler with lip moulding above to make the Audi as aerodynamically efficient at all speeds as possible. Noise-insulating glass is used for the windscreen on every e-tron GT, with some of the more expensive cars having the same glazing employed in the side and rear glasshouse too, and it's 20-inch alloys on low rolling-resistance tyres for the entry e-tron GT, with 21s on the RS. Audi will offer customers nine different colours for the electric saloon, including a new one brilliantly called Tactical Green, and the RS model has a black styling package to go with whatever paintjob a customer has specified. Opt for either of the cars with 'Carbon' in their trim names and you'll also enjoy gloss-carbon exterior detailing, plus a carbon-fibre-reinforced-plastic (CFRP) roof and CFRP door-mirror housings.

OK, and what about the cabin?

Interestingly, while Audi has gone with a lot of digitalisation within the cabin (as you'd expect of a futuristic, sci-fi-inspired EV), it hasn't employed the current three-screen array of its larger, conventional model lines. Look at the climate controls and you'll see they're the physical items lifted from nothing more grandiose than an A3 Sportback. Many will heartily approve of this decision to keep actual switchgear for the in-car climate, so bravo to Audi for going down this route.

Anyway, there's still a big MMI Touch monitor in the dashboard and a full TFT Virtual Cockpit Plus instrument cluster, for digiphiles (not people who like chocolate biscuits, by the way), while there's even a backlit 'e-tron' logo on the passenger-side dash in the costlier specifications. Three-zone climate control comes as standard and there's a wraparound dashboard design to encompass the front-seat occupants, while all models will have at least eight-way adjustable electric front pews. There's mention of a 'foot garage' for rear-seat passengers (and we'll come back to that phrase later on), while boot space is up to 405 litres at the back and 81 litres up front. Much of the cabin can be made of sustainable materials, to promote the eco-savvy nature of the e-tron GT.

Hold on, hold on; foot garage? A 405-litre boot? This all sounds terribly familiar...

Well, it will do. Because the e-tron GT shares much of its, er, non-oily-bits with no less a luminary than the Porsche Taycan. You can roughly accept the e-tron GT quattro version to be analogous to a Taycan 4S, while the more powerful RS e-tron GT is pretty much a Taycan Turbo, give or take a bit of power. Whether we'll get a rear-driven e-tron GT, as per the entry point of Taycan ownership, remains to be seen.

Anyway, the e-tron GT quattro comes with two electric motors, the front 175kW (238hp) unit teamed to a larger 320kW (435hp) item on the rear axle. The system's nominal total output is 350kW, or 476hp, but for 2.5 seconds of 'boost mode' in Launch Control, the e-tron GT's maximum power rises briefly to 530hp (see? Taycan 4S power, that is). Total torque is 630Nm and that means the e-tron GT is plenty quick enough for most people's needs: 0-62mph takes just 4.1 seconds, while the top speed is governed to 152mph.

If you want more clean and silent punch from your Audi EV, however, the RS e-tron GT can provide. It has the same 175kW motor on the front axle but the rear item is enlarged to 335kW (456hp), leading to a nominal 440kW (598hp) with 830Nm from the drivetrain, the former figure rising to 475kW (646hp) during the Launch Control boost. That means 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds and a 155mph limited maximum, but yes - those of you up on your stats will see that the RS e-tron GT isn't quite as powerful as even the Taycan Turbo, never mind the deranged Turbo S. So there's maybe room for an RS e-tron GT performance to come.

From thereon in, it's much as the Taycan. There's a rear two-speed transmission, you can have a version of the PESS system on the Porsche which is called 'e-tron Sport Sound' here, the electric quattro AWD will run with all four wheels engaged unless you're in 'Efficiency' mode, in which case it prioritises (wait for it. . .) front-wheel drive (yes, it's the same on the Taycan), there's a significant amount of brake-energy recuperation available (up to 265kW, apparently), every model but the £79,900 e-tron GT has adaptive air suspension and adjustable dampers (the base e-tron can have air springs for an extra fee), and the battery pack is a 93.4kWh item, with 86kWh of that usable for driving.

In fact, on the subject of its electricals, the e-tron GT is mighty impressive. It has 800-volt architecture and can be recharged at anything from 11kW AC up to 270kW DC. If you can find one of the latter power points, you'll be able to ram 62 miles of range into the Audi in just five minutes of hook-up, while a 5-80 per cent charge will take 22.5 minutes. Audi quotes energy usage of 18.8-19.6kWh/62.1 miles for the e-tron GT and 19.3-20.2kWh for the RS, although (oddly enough), those are NEDC figures. Better, therefore, to focus on the WLTP range of more than 295 miles for the 476hp e-tron GT and 280 miles-plus for the RS derivative.

Go on, then. Can I have the full rundown on prices?

Yes indeed. The e-tron GT quattro starts at the aforementioned £79,900, but you can turn it into a Vorsprung for an additional £26,100 (oof!) which retails from £106,000. The high-performance RS starts at £110,950, with the Carbon Black from £124,540 and the Carbon Vorsprung occupying 'top-dog' slot at £133,340.

Last words to Andrew Doyle, the director of Audi UK, who said: "Audi has signalled its intent to play a pivotal role in the evolution of sustainable mobility in the premium sector, and after opening our account with the e-tron SUV, which is notable as the best-selling German premium BEV globally, we are stepping up the pace again to further that aim. The new e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT are products of the same assiduous 'Vorsprung durch Technik' approach to electrified driving, but embody it in a highly emotive and exciting new grand tourer format that exploits the technology's incredible performance potential even more fully and will be invaluable as a means of hastening its wider acceptance."

Matt Robinson - 9 Feb 2021

Earlier articles featuring 2021 Audi e-tron GT

2020-11-05: First drive: Audi RS e-tron GT

2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.

2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.2021 Audi e-tron GT Revealed. Image by Audi AG.    - Audi road tests
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