Such is Audi’s commitment to cutting-edge technology nowadays; it seems our Concept Car feature is enduringly dedicated to the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer. Which it isn’t, it’s just that no one else is making as striking concept cars as the Germans out to prove there is life after #dieselgate. Last month it was the animated RSQ e-tron, now a ‘real’ concept, if you like, that debuted at the LA motor show, the e-tron GT. The sexy second act that follows the sober e-tron (which you can read all about on page 26) that adds a bit of sports-coupe fizz to the e-tron onslaught.
Except, of course, it’s not anything as impractical as a two-door, the GT is a low-slung four-door that’s more in the fastback realm than anything else – Audi’s vision of an e-tron future is all-inclusive and all-encompassing to everyone all the time. It’s a bit like the reformed school bully who desperately wants everyone to love him. However, even if you have a deep affinity for good old internal combustion engines, you’ll love the all-electric GT for its dynamism as it’s both lower and wider than a comparable A7 grand tourer. Don’t forget what we’re essentially dealing with here is the Porsche Taycan platform, down to the same exact roofline and 4.96m length, 1.96m width and 1.38m height.
The devil, as they say, lives in the details, and there’s nothing share between Porsche and Audi from that point of view. Audi’s head of design, Marc Lichte, calls the e-tron GT the ‘highlight of his career’ in fact, mostly because it’s a package that embraces the challenge of the large battery pack and still looks sleek and attractive. It should prove practical, too, as rear passengers get ‘foot garages’ (don’t you just love highly literal Germans?) for comfort. Essentially caverns carved out of the flat ‘skateboard floor’ batteries, to offer more depth and room for passengers.
Those batteries power twin electric motors producing 434 kW and delivering instantaneous torque. With an electric motor working independently on each axle it effectively has electric quattro. 0-100 km/h takes 3.5 sec, 0-200 km/h is dispatched in 12 sec, before topping out at a limited 240 km/h. Estimated cruising range is 400 km, with an 800-volt fast charge is capable of replenishing 80% of the battery in just 20 minutes – the time it takes to stop for a quick lunch on your grand tour.
Only slated for release in 2020, the e-tron GT is less about performance and more about a design statement for Audi. You can forget the ornate, 22-inch show-car wheels, those are clearly not production units, but Marc Lichte says aside from that, the concept car is basically a pre-production car converted for the LA motor show. The large single-frame grille was inspired by the PB18 concept, vertical elements within the light clusters were borrowed from the e-tron, the ‘S-duct bridge’ from the grille to the bonnet looks unique but also helps airflow stay attached to the car for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, and that full-width light bar at the rear smacks of strong Porsche Taycan influence.
Think of the e-tron GT concept as the icing before the cake. The pioneer before the Volkswagen Audi Group’s high-volume PPE-platform EVs come online. Of which Audi says it will produce twelve full e-tron EVs by 2025. This, as they say in the classics, is just the beginning.