9-20-2020: Audi E-Tron Doing Some Simple On-Road Testing
As you can see from the images above, the Audi E-Tron GT hasn’t changed a whole lot since we saw it last in March of 2020. Of course, Audi doesn’t have a whole lot to work out considering it’s basically a Porsche Taycan in Audi clothing. It was meant to debut in Spring of 2020, so Audi has been, apparently, taking advantage of the COVID-related delays but putting the E-Tron GT through some rigorous and long-term testing. This sighting of the E-Tron, however, could point to the possibility of a fall debut, which means we could see the production model in as little as a couple of months.
March 9, 2020 – The First Sighting of the Audi E-Tron GT!
Up until now, all we’ve seen are a few design sketches of the upcoming Audi E-Tron GT. Those sketches didn’t yield a whole lot of information as to exactly what the GT would look like outside of the fact that it would be rather aggressive and that it would feature Audi’s most modern look. We already knew it would be a four-door sedan, but now that we’ve gotten a look at our first spy shots, it’s clearer than ever that Audi is basing the E-Tron GT on the A5S5RS 5 Sportback. The evidence to this is the roofline and the distance between the rear wheels and rear fascia – this is clearly a reworked example of Audi’s midsized Sportback. Had it been based on the S7, there would be a lot more distance between the rear wheels and the rear end.
In the front, there is clearly some padding in place, but it looks as if the Audi E-Tron GT will feature a grille that’s similar to that of the E-Tron SUV. The front fascia will resemble what we saw in those initial design sketches, but it won’t be anywhere near as aggressive. The cool wide fenders and side skirts will also be left off the production model. The main difference here appears to be slightly wider (and flatter on top) front fenders and, perhaps,
The rear end does feature the typical Sportback-style slant to it, but the design of the taillights and the way the rear deck folds over makes the rear end look similar to that of the larger A7 and S7 models. It also has the weird, full-width indent between the top of the rear fascia and the taillights. An active spoiler will likely be in place to help control aerodynamics and some active aero up front could help improve range a bit. However, it’s important to remember that the Audi E-Tron GT is, basically, a badge-engineered Porsche Taycan, so don’t expect much more than 200 miles per charge at best. With the drivetrain and battery configuration already ironed out by bigger brother, I’d expect to see the Audi E-Tron GT make its debut sometime prior to the end of 2020.
Audi didn’t provide us with many sketches or renderings of the new E-Tron GT, but we do know that the design will take inspiration from the Audi E-Tron Quattro SUV revealed earlier this year. Of course, some design cues will be scaled down, others adapted for the sedan shape, but the basic design logic will remain the same. This will be all-Audi. We’ll go one step further and say that the Audi E-Tron GT will have much the same attitude as the E-Tron Quattro.
Forget about the extreme, futuristic shapes or intentionally overdesigned surfaces. The E-Tron GT, like the E-Tron Quattro, should be just another car in the Audi lineup that customers can choose and buy.
As a car company with some of the best designs in the industry, Audi will gift the E-Tron GT with a long, dominating hood, a high shoulder line, and low glass surfaces. This will be a sexy car, and it will surge past the conventionality of the E-Tron Quattro, but never go above the rationale of Audi’s luxurious sedans.
Some of the main exterior touches will include those cool rear-view camera mirrors (not for the U.S., unfortunately), Matrix Laser front lights (also not for the U.S.) and 3D LED taillights. As the car will presumably sit low on the road and offer Audi’s classic muscular shapes for the front and rear, the E-Tron GT could become an Audi with a striking attitude.
Note: Audi PB18 E-Tron Concept pictured here.
The highlight of the Audi E-Tron Quattro is the interior. It doesn’t look intentionally complicated, but is somewhat restrained.
In its top-notch form, the E-Tron Quattro features two screens in the central stack (infotainment screen and climate control screen), one screen behind the steering wheel (Virtual Cockpit), and two screens on the doors above the door handle (instead of rearview mirrors). Couple this with traditionally restrained and elegant lines seen in past Audi vehicles, and we have ourselves a rather impressive setting.
We’re eager to believe that much of the concept interior will carry over into production. Sure, some unique elements have to come into play. The driver will sit lower, the roof will be lower, and the pillars will be shorter with smaller windows compared with the E-Tron Quattro. All of this will affect the ambiance of the cabin. Looking at it from the perspective of an eager car enthusiast, it will improve the ambiance. On the other hand, a driver with a large family will not be so content with it. That is why we have the E-Tron Quattro in the first place.
The Audi E-Tron GT may even be a hatchback like the Audi A7. However, we have some strange feeling that it will share some of its internals with the Porsche Taycan.
Audi boss Rupert Stadler more or less confirmed this, saying that Audi and Porsche worked together on a new platform called the J1. This platform has “reduced development costs by three digit million Euro amount.” Some of the guts of the new E-Tron GT will carry over to the Porsche Mission E (better known as the Porsche Taycan).
This all sounds great, but the truth is the J1 platform is just a slightly tricked-out MLB platform. But that’s fine, as it’s one of the best pieces of car tech ever envisioned. We only say this so you know that neither the E-Tron GT, nor the Taycan are exclusive.
While the guts will be shared with Porsche (awesome), the interior will be all Audi.
Drivetrain & Performance
I am getting back to the Audi E-Tron Quattro yet again, but that car definitely showed us the way towards the world of E-Tron. We expect the drivetrain in the E-Tron GT to be a bit more powerful than the E-Tron Quattro.
Prior to his trip to prison for his part in the Dieselgate adventure, Rupert Stadler, Audi’s then-Chairman of the Board, said, “We interpret sportiness very progressively with our fully electric e-tron GT. This is how we will take our high-performance brand Audi Sport into the future.”
Stadler may have ended up in prison, but Audi Sport is alive, well, and free. So much so that the car here will jump-start its next evolutionary step. This will be a proper Audi Sport intro to an electrified future. Considering those Taycan links I mentioned before, the E-Tron GT will be a performer.
We expect it to have two electric motors producing in excess of 600 horsepower, sourcing energy from batteries with enough juice for 310 miles.
If you are into Porsche, you may recognize these numbers from what we know about the Taycan. Yup, the drivetrain may be shared between the two cars. That also means that something else may be shared – an awesome 800-volt charging system. It’s the first of its kind and it enables charging of up to 350 kW. Reasonably explained, the Audi E-Tron GT batteries linked with a system like this could charge back up to 80-percent capacity in 15 minutes. No Tesla Supercharger (or anything else in the world for that matter) can touch it.
As part of its electric car push, Volkswagen partnered with BMW, Mercedes, and Ford to help create a massive EV charging station network. Dubbed the Ionity Network, the system will have 400 electric stations in Europe by 2020. Each will offer that magical 800-volt charger, but even the cars that recharge at a slower rate will be able to use the stations. Now imagine if the Volkswagen Group equips a lot of its cars with the technology supporting the 800-volt charging process, including the super-expensive electric cars like the Taycan and the E-Tron GT. The network would grow by itself.
After waiting 15 minutes before finally climbing back into the E-Tron GT, you should be able to surge to 62 mph in less than 4 seconds
Top speed is set at 155 mph. Again, I’m telling you Porsche Taycan numbers. There’s no way that the Audi would be a lot slower with the same drivetrain. Yup, the Audi E-Tron GT’s performance and specs should be truly exceptional.
Exceptional enough to take on the Tesla Model S P100D? Well, we don’t know! What we do know is that Porsche is making a propulsion system which will provide identical results regardless of the power levels in the battery, and the system might end up in this new and awesome electric Audi.
Obviously, the Audi E-Tron GT won’t be cheap. The top-spec version could break the $100,000 mark. First of all, it is a performance-focused new electric car. It will jump-start the Audi Sport electrification division, share a lot of tech with the Porsche deity and look better than the A7. Heck, some have even suggested it will somehow replace the R8. $100,000+ for sure.
The Taycan is an obvious competitor, but it will be considerably pricier, sharper on the roads, and possibly a more cramped cabin. Nevertheless, the fact that the Audi E-Tron GT and the Porsche Taycan will share the same tech makes them competitors, whether or not Volkswagen Group likes it.
No, this is not an electric car. It doesn’t even exist yet, but when it does arrive, buyers will definitely be tempted. Especially in its motorsport form, which will sport around 650 horsepower and performance comparable to the last-generation supercars. Plus, it will have a V-8, take a minute or two for a tank refill, and have deadly sound. The E-Tron GT won’t have any of that.
The Model S is already quite old, and even in its most luxurious and ludicrous form, it can’t match the sophistication of the E-Tron GT. However, the Tesla is quicker than the E-Tron GT. It’ll probably be quicker than the Taycan as well, especially in its latest form, which takes less than 2.9 seconds to reach 60 mph. Nevertheless, I feel it’s simply too old to compare it to something as novel and advanced as the E-Tron GT. The next-generation Tesla Model S, well, that’s another story.
As a tool to reinvent Audi Sport division, the four-door coupé E-Tron GT has to feature the best. That, and saving money, led Audi’s Board of Directors to partner with Porsche on the development of the new car. The Taycan, Porsche’s new electric super sedan, will lend a lot of its tech to the Audi Sport new flagship.
I’m confident that this thing will look sexy, go like hell, and be a technological marvel that’s cheaper than the Porsche Taycan.
Hell, Audi may go as far as replace the slow-selling R8 supercar with the electric coupé sedan. After all, production is set to begin in 2020 at the Böllinger Höfe plant near Neckarsulm, Germany, the same place where Audi produces the R8. If you don’t believe me, this is what Rupert Stadler said about the car, “It’s a car that thrills at first glance, a fully electric gran turismo that stands for a new kind of sportiness.”
- Looks stunning
- Goes like hell
- It has Porsche guts
- You will always wonder why you didn’t get the Taycan
- Limited recharging network
Read our full review on the 2017 Audi R8.
Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Audi E-tron Quattro.
Read more Audi news.
Update 03/09/2020: A prototype for the Audi E-Tron GT has finally been spotted in the wild. Check out the latest spy shots and what we’ve learned in our special “Spy Shots” section below!