JOHANNESBURG – As electric vehicles (EV) become more affordable, according to the World Economic Forum, some are forecasting that by the end of the next decade they will constitute almost a third of new-car sales. Ride-sharing continues to grow, with projections that more than 25 percent of all kilometers driven globally will account for it by 2030, up from 4 percent today.
These developments are just the first signs of the future that are already on our doorstep, as autonomous vehicles (AV) and commercial fleets of EVs will soon be incorporated as components of daily life. The world is developing. That has changed. Cars in particular are evolving at a more rapid pace than ever before. In order to accommodate evolving habits and reduce environmental effects, the largest carmakers are hellbent on rolling out a fleet of electric models.
Sports vehicles that lead the way to electrification
With its latest dynamic duo, the new e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT, Audi has entered the ranks of Porsche and Tesla in the top echelon of performance and luxury when it comes to electric vehicles.
The production-ready e-tron GT is ready to rumble, pointed out for years and seen briefly in cameo scenes in the Marvel cinematic universe, and while the main markets for this car will be the USA and Europe, we should expect to take the fight to the Porsche Taycan on local asphalt in South Africa within the next 12 months.
So, what is the e-tron GT AUDI?
According to Audi’s spokesmen, the e-tron GT is a reinterpretation of the age-old GT car philosophy for our current, excuse the pun, electric-age of mobility. Think of it as the new way forward in a world of internal combustion engines cars such as Audi’s own A7 Sportback and RS7. When it comes to that RS badge, in particular, the RS e-tron GT serves as the spearhead of electrification at Audi Sport, standing resolute as the most potent four-ring vehicle for the road they’ve ever made.
Both e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT share platforms and electrical architectures with the Porsche Taycan thanks to the group’s J1 platform technology. The e-tron GT measures in at 4990mm in length, 1960mm in width and it stands 1410mm in height. It’s a low-slung, mean-looking car, almost muscle-car like from some angles. The Taycan in comparison is 4963mm long, 1966mm wide and stands 1378mm tall. Dimensions-wise, there’s really nothing in it between the electric Porsche and the electric Audi, however, you do get more rear boot space in the e-tron GT (39 litres more) for that extra bit of kit.
In its virtual presentations of the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT, one thing Audi was adamant about is that it is constructed to give its internal combustion engine sports cars and grand tourers a very different performance motoring experience for drivers and passengers. Unlike even the Taycan, with which it shares so much technology.
In this concise (as possible given its technical nature) list below, we have searched through the 42-page press guide to bring you everything you need to know about the new e-tron GT:
Featuring a low drag coefficient of just 0.24, the Audi e-tron GT architecture allows for high performance and a long driving range. Performance is improved by active aerodynamics with switchable air inlets for brakes and radiators, as well as a rear spoiler extending in several stages and a closed underbody and wide diffuser.
The car comes with Matrix LED headlights in the RS e-tron GT spec, as standard. As an option for both models, Audi laser light technology is available. In conjunction with top-of-the-range headlights, the rear lights give a striking 3D light band and dynamic coming home and leaving home animations.
On the inside, it features a “driver orientation” and “monoposto character” instrument panel, said to provide a greater sense of space in the cabin. In comparison to any Audi that precedes it, including the R8 supercar, Audi claims the car’s low seat location and wide center console and rear seat bench (which could be ideal for adults) gives it a special feel in the cabin. Another nifty thing about the e-tron GT is that, if that’s what you’re into these days, it will have a vegan-friendly cabin.
Audi e-tron GT drive and technology for recovery
You get electric all-wheel drive with one permanently excited synchronous motor (PSM) at the front and rear axles with a two-speed transmission at the rear axle.
The Audi e-tron GT quattro has a total output of 350kW of power and 630Nm of torque, while the RS e-tron GT makes do with 440kW of power and 830Nm of torque.
With launch control engaged, an electric “boost” function increases the vanilla model’s output to 390kW for a period of 2.5 seconds. In the RS-e-tron GT, the power increase to 475kW for a maximum period of 2.5 seconds.
According to official numbers, 0 to 100km/h takes 4.1 seconds in the e-tron GT quattro, while the RS e-tron GT achieves the same sprint in just 3.3 seconds.
The vehicle also offers intelligent control of sailing functions and energy recuperation, with brake recuperation of up to 265kW available under load.
You get the best lithium-ion battery technology with a net energy capacity of 85kWh (93kWh gross) and a voltage rating of 800 volts when it comes to the vehicle’s battery and thermal management. The battery pack itself is arranged in 33 modules as 396 pouch cells that for now can handle AC charging with an output of 11kW as normal. If those high-output charging units become available, the battery can also accept DC charging with an output of up to 270 kW as normal for fast charges. A range of about 488 km with one charge can be anticipated for e-tron GT drivers, according to Audi (WLTP).
In order to keep the whole system cool, sophisticated thermal management with four cooling circuits and an effective heat pump is standard.
Piloting of the Audi e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT
Thanks to the mounting position of the battery and the configuration of the electric motors, Audi promises fantastic handling and grip due to the low centre of gravity of the vehicle and excellent axle load distribution.
You’ll also get a host of Audi pre sense safety systems as standard with optional “Tour”, “City”, and “Park” packages available depending on how bespoke you’d like your vehicle to be. Other options that you could go for include adaptive cruise assist and (remote) park assist plus as highlights.
The e-tron GT models will come with an Audi AVAS sound system, which is said to be more sonorous than legally prescribed, to ensure the driving experience is also sonorous. On top of this, customers can choose to go in the quiet cabin and outside for additional digital sound and noise options (and drama), kind of like you would if you wanted a sports exhaust if you bought a petrol sports car these days.
All cars come with Audi virtual cockpit plus and the new MMI touch display as standard, and you’ll get the usual natural voice control with online connection capability.
Coming to SA soon
In South Africa, Audi South Africa aims to launch the e-tron GT and its SUV siblings in 2021. The production of the GT at Audi Böllinger Höfe has already started at the Neckarsulm production site. Together with the Audi R8, the car will be built. We would recommend that you contact your nearest Audi dealer to find out when to expect delivery if you order now, or to order your e-tron GT quattro or RS e-tron GT, and note the logistical delays caused by Covid-19 lockdowns around the world.