New all-electric Audi e-tron GT concept wows at LA

The new Audi e-tron GT concept has been revealed at the LA Auto Show, previewing a sleek, all-electric four-door coupe due in 2020

The new Audi e-tron GT concept has been revealed at the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show – and it could quite possibly be the toughest test of the Tesla Model S yet. Though officially just a concept, the e-tron GT’s running gear is pretty much identical to a production version due to hit the roads in 2020 – as is the spectacular styling.

It’ll become the second EV in Audi’s range (following on from the e-tron SUV) and the first created with Audi Sport’s involvement. By the year 2025, it will be part of a of a 25-strong family of electrified Audis, and its circa-£100,000 asking price is likely to position it as the Ingolstadt brand’s flagship plug-in model.

• Best electric cars on sale right now

Under the skin, the e-tron GT is closely related to the new Porsche Taycan, with roughly 60 per cent of parts shared between the two. That means power comes from a pair of electric motors good for 582bhp, placing it between the standard Audi R8 and the Performance variant for overall output. Torque is still to be confirmed, but with somewhere between 800-850Nm on tap, it’ll have significantly more than the V10 supercar.

Sending drive to all four wheels, Audi expects the e-tron GT to accelerate from 0-62mph in around 3.5 seconds, while a special software system will allow it to achieve such figures repeatedly, even when the battery isn’t fully charged. 

The battery itself is a 96kWh item which, thanks to a 350kW fast charging compatibility, is capable of charging from flat to 80% full in just 15-20 minutes. One pedal driving is possible should the driver ramp up the rate of brake regen.

The electric drive has allowed Audi to control power via an advanced torque vectoring system. Despite a kerb weight in the region of two tonnes, the e-tron GT’s low centre of gravity (a result of not only the battery’s location, but the use of carbon for the car’s roof and aluminium for the doors) should ensure a handling balance that behaves every bit like the four-door supercar.

From a styling point of view, only minor details will change: while the road car’s wheels will have five traditional bolts each as opposed to the concept’s centre locking system, the design – and the 22-inch diameter – will remain the same.

Elsewhere, the glowing e-tron logos front and rear will likely disappear, and the touch sensitive door openers will be replaced by conventional handles for safety reasons, but that’s about it. 

The e-tron GT is roughly 1,370mm tall – a full 50mm lower than the A7 – despite the fact that it stores a battery on the floor of the platform. An overall length roughly similar to the A7 gives the e-tron GT a dramatic look in the metal, while the low bonnet line is made possible by the fact that there is no combustion engine to accommodate.

Also lowered relative to current Audis is the shoulder line: placing this halfway down the doors helps to emphasise the boxy wheel arches.

It’s all contributed to a car that Marc Lichte, head of Audi design, was very excited to be involved with. “It’s a dream to design a car like this.” says Lichte. “This is truly a design where the sketch becomes a reality.”

The lack of an engine comes with many benefits from an aerodynamic point of view. With no exhaust system running beneath the car, the e-tron GT can be equipped with a much larger diffuser than you’ll find on Audi’s combustion-powered cars, allowing for a reduction in lift without adding drag. A retractable spoiler pops out of the boot lid to provide added downforce when necessary.

The electric design did present additional challenges, too. As Lichte explains, “ Other noises like road and wind noise become much more obvious without an engine. For example, we’ve designed the side mirrors to channel the air along the door skins instead of the window glass, so wind noise is less.” 

Some novel design touches help to separate the GT’s interior design from other Audis whilst retaining a familiar look. The main centre section of the dash extends out into the doors to emphasise the cabin’s width, while the driver gets an R8-inspired layout which gives the driver more of a cockpit-like feel. 

The cabin of the concept is fully vegan. Cloth upholstery is used on the seats, while the floor mats are constructed from recycled fishing nets.

Despite the sleek, low roofline, the e-tron GT’s cabin offers space for four adults. It’s helped in part thanks to what Audi calls “foot garages”: little hollows in the car’s floor, which would be otherwise occupied by battery cells, which give those in the back much more footroom. Inevitably headroom is a little tight, but it’ still possible to fit a six-footer back there without too much fuss. It’s backed up by two storage spaces: a 450-litre boot in the rear is complimented by an extra 100 litres under the bonnet.

Click here for all the latest from the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *