Audi e-tron GT hints at a fastback electric future

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Audi presented one of the stars of the 2018 Auto Show in the movie capital Los Angeles. With the electric powered Audi e-tron GT concept, a four-door coupé is making its debut as a show car. The series-production counterpart is set to follow in around two years.

The next electric Audi is being launched, following in the footsteps of the Audi e-tron SUV and the Audi e‑tron Sportback slated for 2019. This time with a flat-floor architecture that provides for exciting proportions and a low centre of gravity. With 590 hp, it ensures performance fit for a sports car. The torque is transferred to the wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, as you would expect for such a dynamic Audi. The performance subsidiary Audi Sport GmbH is responsible for subsequently transforming the car into a series-production model.

Flat, wide and with a long wheelbase – those are the proportions of a classic Gran Turismo. And the Audi e‑tron GT concept reflects these with its 4.96-metre (16.3 ft) length, 1.96-metre(6.4 ft) width and 1.38‑metre (4.5 ft) height. The lightweight body of the four-door coupé is manufactured using a multi-material construction. Here you have a roof section made from carbon along with numerous aluminium components and supporting elements made from high-strength steel.
The technology for this automobile was developed in close collaboration with Porsche. Design and character are packed full of unmistakable Audi DNA. The gently sloping roofline of the e-tron GT concept that extends well into the rear echoes the Sportback layout that is the hallmark of the brand.

Interior

This is however clearly taken forward into the future, pointing the way to the next evolutionary stage of the Audi design language. The cabin that tapers strongly toward the rear stands out compared with current Audi models. Wheel arches and shoulders are sculpted emphatically and, together with the flat floor that is unusual for an electric vehicle, visually underlines the low centre of gravity and the dynamic potential of the Audi e-tron GT concept.

Four doors, four seats with 2.90 metres (9.5 ft) wheelbase – in the interior the Audi e‑tron GT concept provides a large dose of everyday usability, coupled with a superb quality feel. The functional centre of the interior is located at the front left, visibly focused on the driver’s seat. The centre console, the large touchscreen in the top section and the line from the door rail and cockpit frame the driver’s workplace, perfectly incorporate the driver ergonomically with the controls and the infotainment of the Audi e‑tron GT. The centre console and the freestanding instrument cluster seem to float. Light colours in the top section of the cockpit and the gradually darker gradation through to the floor area create the impression of clear width. Sport seats inspired by motor racing in both rows of seats provide optimum lateral support even while cornering at speed.

Both the screen of the central instrument and the touchscreen above the centre console come with a black-panel look finish. They underscore the large, calm design of the interior with its predominantly horizontal basic architecture. Various layouts are available for the monitors to present the functions depending on the driver’s preference, including virtual instrument dials, easy-to-read navigation maps with information on the range, or various infotainment function menus. They are controlled via the touchscreen with tactile feedback.

With434 kilowatts (590 hp) of system power – that is an impressive figure for the potential of the all-electric drive. Separate electric motors are fitted to the front and rear axles. In both cases these are permanently excited synchronous motors. They put down the torque onto the road via all four driven wheels – naturally the new Audi e-tron GT concept is also a genuine quattro. An electric quattro to be precise, since there is no mechanical link between the front and rear axle. The electronic control system coordinates the drive between the axles as well as between left and right wheels. That means optimum traction and just the desired amount of slip.

In future, the vehicle should accelerate from 0 to 62mph in around 3.5 seconds before going on to 124mph in just over 12 seconds. The top speed is regulated at 149mph to maximise the range. One feature that not all the competition can match is the option of fully utilising the drive’s acceleration potential several times in succession. While elsewhere the drive is switched to overdrive for thermal considerations, the Audi e-tron GT concept can provide the driver with the full potential of both motors and the battery thanks to its sophisticated cooling strategy.

The range of the e-tron GT will be over 400 km, determined according to the new WLTP standard. The required drive energy comes from a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of more than 90 kWh, which takes up the entire underfloor area between the front and rear axle with its flat design. The decisive advantage of this design is the car’s extremely low centre of gravity – comparable with that of the Audi R8 – which in turn decisively benefits dynamic handling. All-wheel steering translates this into a perfect synthesis of sports car-like agility and precision, augmented by superb directional stability.

The battery in the Audi e-tron GT concept can be charged in several ways: using a cable which is connected behind the flap in the left front wing, or by means of contactless induction with Audi Wireless Charging. Here a charging pad with integral coil is installed permanently on the floor where the car is to be parked, and connected to the power supply. The alternating magnetic field induces an alternating voltage in the secondary coil fitted in the floor of the car, across the air gap. With a charging output of 11 kW the Audi e-tron GT concept can be fully charged conveniently overnight.

Wired charging is much faster as the four-door coupé is fitted with an 800-volt system. This substantially reduces charging times compared with conventional systems that are currently in use. Thus it takes around 20 minutes to recharge the battery to 80 percent of its capacity, once again providing a range of more than 320 km (WLTP). The e-tron GT concept can, however, also be recharged at charging points with lower voltages, providing the driver with access to the entire charging network.

The e-tron GT project will be developed into a series-production model by the end of 2020. Initial deliveries will be made to customers in early 2021.