The all-electric Audi e-tron GT offers a 298 mile range, and with 598PS, the RS GT model is the most powerful production car ever launched by Audi. It can also use a 270kW chargepoint, giving a 5% to 80% charge in just 23 minutes.
The Audi e-tron GT is a perfect halo model for the brand’s expanding electric range, which will have 20 pure electric models by 2025, with the Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback due in 2022 and an A6 e-tron with a 435 mile range due in 2023.
If some of the e-tron GT’s dimensions and overall shape look familiar, then you’re not mistaken: underneath the skin of the e-tron GT is essentially the same car as the Porsche Taycan.
Sitting low and wide, there are the two charging ports on each front wing (more on which later), the low, sloping roofline and the full-width light bar at the rear – with scrolling indicators of course. We think it’s stunning, especially so in the optional khaki Tactical Green.
In standard GT form, the e-tron has 476PS although this rises to 530PS when in boost mode (for the RS those figures are 598 and 646PS). This is fed through all four wheels, although in the Efficiency driver setting, it stays mainly in front-wheel drive switching to all four wheels if needed. This GT version is expected to account for 80 per cent of sales, and has a 298 mile range in Vorsprung trim and 296 miles as the standard GT. All RS models have a slightly reduced range of 283 miles.
Audi claims an average economy of 2.88-3.12 mls/kWh while performance is startling with a 0 to 62mph time of just 4.1 seconds in boost mode and a 152mph top speed.
Even with that pace, practicality is pretty reasonable with space for four adults (five at a squeeze) with good head and legroom, although foot space is a little compromised if the front seats are in their lowest positions. There’s also a 405 litre boot which is shallow but usefully long and an extra small boot under the front bonnet. Despite the looks though, the e-tron GT has a saloon boot and not a rear hatch.
We’re big fans of the Porsche Taycan and how that drives, so even before setting off we had a good idea of how this e-tron GT might feel on the road. That said, for all of Audi’s experience at producing fast saloons with its ICE RS models, while rapid they haven’t always been fully engaging on an emotional level to drive.
It doesn’t take long for you to realise that that’s not the case with this e-tron GT though. Settling down behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel, there’s a low-set driving position but still a good view out with the edges of the front wings slightly prominent helping you to place the car on the road.
We’d be lying if we said that you don’t feel that 2276kg kerb weight on the move, but at the same time it feels low down and you never feel hindered by it. Instead there’s just a wall of torque under your right foot that provides non-stop acceleration as you gain confidence behind the wheel.
There are four driving modes – Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual – along with two regenerative braking modes. As stated earlier Efficiency puts the e-tron GT in front-wheel drive switching back to four-wheel drive when required. Although most keen drivers would probably automatically default to the Dynamic mode, the reality is that you can actually drive faster in Comfort, the suspension cushioning you from the worst road imperfections and not unsettling the car, particularly when encountering troublesome mid-corner bumps.
And, believe us when we say that you will want to drive the e-tron GT hard. It’s very addictive. Yes, there’s lots of grip – especially with the huge optional 21-inch wheels fitted to our test car – and there’s obviously immediate acceleration always on tap, but it’s the way that the e-tron GT delivers all of that that’s so enticing.
With that low weight, the e-tron GT feels like it’s encouraging you through bends, building your confidence and enabling you to really lean on the tyres taking full advantage of the available grip through the corners. There are very few EVs that can boast this level of driver involvement and, perhaps unsurprisingly, only the Porsche Taycan has a similar level of feel.
It’s not perfect though. The regenerative braking can be set either automatically through the infotainment screen or manually via the steering wheel paddles. For us, the automatic level didn’t seem to have much effect, while the manual setting with two different levels isn’t that strong. When more and more EV drivers are getting more used to one-pedal driving, it feels a little odd that Audi didn’t opt either for more levels or at least a more aggressive regen level.
While on paper, the official range for the e-tron GT is 298 miles, there was plenty working against the e-tron on our test drive. For starters, there’s the car itself which, as stated, encourages more spirited driving, especially on the brilliant driving roads of Scotland where we tested the car, including part of the superb North Coast 500.
The other part was the weather which, with low temperatures, saw the fully-charged range of our e-tron GT drop to an indicated 210 miles. To be fair to Audi, that was a pretty accurate reflection of our actual range too with us averaging 2.7mls/kWh over around 170 miles.
Like the e-tron SUV, the GT boasts two charging points. A CCS rapid charging port on the passenger side front wing and a Type 2 connector in the same location on the driver’s side. At a 270kW charger, Audi claims a 5% to 80% charge in just 23 minutes. An 11kW onboard charger comes as standard and a 22kW charger is available as an option. A full charge at a domestic wallbox takes around 13.5 hours.
Unless you’re enjoying a lottery win, nobody would ever describe the £79,900 list price for the e-tron GT as cheap, but it does undercut the Porsche Taycan 4S. It’s a big jump from there however to the GT Vorsprung trim at £106,000, so it’s little surprise that a substantial 80 per cent of e-tron GT sales are expected to be the entry-level car.
The RS versions are obviously faster with the extra power, but pay the price in both that slightly reduced 283 mile range mentioned earlier and also financially starting at £110,950 and rising to the flagship RS GT Carbon Vorsprung at £133,340.
On paper, the e-tron GT will have a minimal effect on Audi’s overall sales or, despite its hefty price tag, probably even on its bottom line too.
However, as a halo model for Audi’s intentions in the EV market both in the immediate and long-term future, it’s a very strong marker for others to follow. With Audi expecting 20,000 Q4 e-trons to leave UK showrooms in 2022 and with an A6 e-tron due to go into production in 2023, the German firm is powering ahead with its electric line-up.
Even better is that this e-tron GT is easily one of the best EVs for keen drivers that we’ve been behind the wheel of – a crucial factor when you consider the current lack of competition in the sports car market. Considering the lack of driver involvement for Audi’s standard e-tron, if this GT is anything to go by, then for enthusiasts the EV future with Audi looks very bright indeed.