Audi’s path to electrification is proving to be quite energetic. Its first effort, the E-Tron SUV launching early next year, is a powerhouse that’s the first EV to allow drivers to fully disable traction control for maximum driftiness. Their next major all-electric model, revealed this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will be even more of a kick in the pants: the E-Tron GT is a four-door sports coupe engineered for an extremely low center of gravity. To the tune of great handling and 590 horsepower.
The car, which will hit the streets in late 2020, first debuted Monday night at a party in downtown Los Angeles hosted by longtime Audi brand-partner Robert Downey, Jr., the actor, and then officially Wednesday at the show itself. Though the vehicle echoes the lines of the popular A7, its dimensions are slightly smaller, and its several inches lower. Its styling is also considerably more dramatic, with an assortment of cooling ports to keep brake, battery and motor temperatures in check, a grill/fascia that’s a significant departure from the conventional sedan lineup and sculpted wheel arches and rear shoulders. It’s also got the latest dynamic LED headlights and taillights, which are fast becoming Audi’s signature play. Down low from the front, it all adds up to a pronounced sporty aesthetic, much like the upcoming Porsche Taycan electric sports sedan manufactured elsewhere within the Volkswagen Group. Indeed, the two brands collaborated on the materials development – which includes composite body panels to keep it lightweight – and the electric powertrain. The concept comes shod with 22-inch wheels, which are often impractical due to their weight, their cost and that of the accompanying tires and their dimensions, and thus may not actually make it to the production model.
Inside, the GT has the free-floating, minimalist vibe popular with premium electrics, designed to match the quiet powertrain with a calming interior presence. It uses sustainable materials everywhere from the carpet to the paneling. That said, this one has the added edge of sport seats and fairly dramatic contouring – so it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
The car’s low posture comes despite the presence of the battery in the floor. The 90kWh battery pack, presumably squished down via some technological voodoo, could be good for more than 248 miles of range, and it’ll deliver juice to the dual front and rear motors fast enough to propel the GT to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The company claims that its cooling strategy for the battery will allow multiple full acceleration runs in rapid succession, without any of the performance fade that other EVs experience when pushed hard. The motors will use a similarly finely-tuned Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system to enable precise torque-vectoring, which will help with both safety and performance in tight turns.
Finally, Audi will use the GT to help accelerate the overall charging technology for its EV lineup. It’ll offer conventional cabled charging but also wireless induction charging, via a pad installed in the vehicle’s customary parking spot. If high-speed charging is available, the car’s 800-volt system will allow it to reach 80 percent capacity in 20 minutes, providing about 200 miles of range in short order. Couple that with the GT’s briskly repeatable performance – assuming both play out as promised – and you have a getaway vehicle that’ll be able to whisk you away from trouble all day long.
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