Audi has stunned the crowds at the LA Auto Show with its sleek e-tron GT concept, a flagship electric vehicle that’s a direct attack on the Tesla Model S and shares many of its parts with the Porsche Taycan. It also marks the first time Audi Sport – usually responsible for models like the Audi R8 supercar – has been involved in the development of a plug-in model.
SVELTE 2020 AUDI E-TRON GT TAKES ON TESLA MODEL S
Measuring almost five metres in length, but just 1.38 metres tall, the e-tron GT has a flat-floor, carbon roof and aluminium components to keep its centre of gravity low, matching the mid-engined R8. It also looks remarkably close to being production ready for a concept car, with just a handful of design flourishes like illuminated badges, touch-sensitive door handles and centre locking 22-inch alloy wheels that are unlikely to make it to mass production.
To separate it from the Audi A7, the e-tron GT not only sits far lower, but has distinctive creases above all four wheelarches, emphasising its quattro four-wheel drive powertrain. Its closed singleframe grille has the signature honeycomb motif of RS models to signal its sporting clout, while the lack of an exhaust system has allowed Audi to create a large rear diffuser to improve downforce without upping drag. Matrix LED headlights with laser high beams at the front and full-width LED rear lights give the e-tron GT a sophisticated look and are animated to ‘welcome’ the driver.
A driver-focussed layout sees the centre console, infotainment screen and climate control display tilted towards the front seat, while another screen fills the instrument binnacle. The vegan-friendly interior is fitted out in sustainable materials, with light shades of synthetic leather for the seats and touch points, along with fabrics made from recycled fibres, including deep-pile carpet made from fishing nets.
Despite its sporting attributes, Audi still promises plenty of space with four adults ensconced in the cabin, while the 400-litre boot will be complemented by a 100-litre storage space under the bonnet at the front.
Powering the show car is a 96kWh battery pack that’s compatible with fast-charging of up to 350kW, for a top-up to 80 per cent in just 15 to 20 minutes. Range is said to be “over 248 miles” according to the WLTP test cycle, with energy recuperation responsible for increasing its range by up to 30 per cent. This can provide up to 0.3g of braking force for one-pedal driving in around 90 per cent of driving according to Audi, while the ceramic brakes are fitted for more extreme stopping power.
Two electric motors – one for each axle – provide a total of 582bhp for 0-62mph acceleration in around 3.5 seconds and 0-124mph in just over 12 seconds. Four-wheel- drive, described as ‘electric quattro’ can meter out torque to each wheel to aid traction and agility.
Expected to cost a six-figure sum, the production e-tron GT is set to arrive by the end of 2020, with the first cars delivered to customers in early 2021. It forms part of Audi’s plan to offer 12 all-electric models by 2025, accounting for around a third of its sales.