Audi has dropped a fun, fast, "vegan" and sexy grand touring concept at the LA Auto Show. The e-tron GT will move to production by 2020, and the concept shows off a 590-horsepower AWD electric powertrain, a 250-mile (400 km) range, and fast charging ability to the tune of 200 miles in 20 minutes.
Following the release of the production e-tron SUV, and sticking closer to the design lines of the 2017 e-tron Sportback concept, Audi has revealed what will become its first electric sportscar. The e-tron GT has been "developed in close collaboration with Porsche" and indeed you can still see a lot of Taycan/Mission E in its overall shape, even if the details have been Audi-fied around the edges.
The drivetrain looks like a lot of fun. With separate "permanently excited synchronous" motors for the front and rear axles giving a total of 590 horsepower, the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint will take around 3.5 seconds and the car should top out around 240 km/h (149 mph). That's probably enough to get the 4-door GT into proper supercar performance territory, particularly now that we've got a hypercar category to move the really nutty stuff into. Its "sophisticated cooling strategy" should let you keep the pedal to the metal for longer, enabling the average driver to stay as "permanently excited" as the motors.
The battery capacity will be at least 90 kWh, offering 400-plus kilometer ranges (250+ miles). The battery pack is kept low under the floor between the axles, keeping the GT's center of gravity as low as the R8's for sharp, agile handling, and 4-wheel steering should enhance its corner carving and high-speed stability credentials.
Sitting on a wireless charging pad installed in your garage, the e-tron GT will charge overnight. Plugged into a fast charger, its 800-volt system allows 0-80% charging in just 20 minutes according to Audi – that's good for 320 km, or 200 miles of range, in little longer than a regular fuel stop, where the facilities allow.
Regenerative braking contributes to the range as well – you've got to press the brake pedal down until you're getting more than 0.3G of deceleration before pads start grabbing at discs. The process and transition from regen braking to hydraulic braking is seamless, and since the discs are only going to be troubled in hard braking situations, Audi has fitted fade-free, high-performance ceramics.
The interior is all about neat angles and unexpected materials. There's no leather here, Audi feels its electric customers will appreciate a more sustainable approach. So most of the upholstery uses recycled fabrics, with the odd splash of synthetic leather and microfiber, and a floor carpet made from recycled fishing nets. This "vegan interior" gives the cabin a very odd feel, like a Transformer with tweed flares on.
The e-tron GT is part of an overall push by Audi to get some 12 all-electric cars to production by 2025, covering "every relevant market segment from the compact to the full-size class." So we can expect two or three announcements like this every year for the foreseeable future as Audi positions and diversifies its electric catalogue. Yippee. We look forward to seeing how this concept translates to the production car. Enjoy a very short video, with highly dramatic music, below.
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