Reminiscent of the svelte A7, the e-tron GT takes the same sweeping lines and low, wide and long stance, but adds an electric powertrain and technology that marks the start of a long journey for the German brand.
The A7-alike style is augmented by huge rear haunches, bringing a muscle car look from some angles. Between the wheels, the sills are deeply carved, highlighting what Audi calls the ‘energy centre’. Whether that feature makes it to production is up for debate, but the car is described as near-production-level, so expect the aero-wheels and even the touch-sensitive door handles to appear on the finished car.
The e-tron GT is built around the J1 performance platform, which means the mechanical bits have been developed by Porsche for use on the Taycan, rather than other members of the Volkswagen Group. It houses two electric motors that produce a combined output of 590hp and an impressive 830Nm of torque. Performance is more than brisk then, with the e-tron GT expected to hit 62mph in a supercar-rivalling (or at least Tesla-rivalling) 3.5 seconds. 124mph takes just over 12 seconds to arrive, with the GT able to continue on to 149mph where conditions (and laws) allow.
Charging is just as quick, with the battery able to accept a charge from a 350kW rapid charger - that’s seven times faster than the current crop of rapid chargers in the UK. An 80% charge would take just 20 minutes, with a range of 249 miles on a full battery. That’s thanks to a 90kWh battery pack, which is on a par with the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC, but a little behind the 100kWh Tesla Model S.
The battery pack is integrated into the floor of the car, rather than sitting on top of it, freeing up space inside while also keeping the centre of gravity low and making it easier for the designers to sculpt that low-slung sports car profile.
Keeping the weight low-down in the car aids handling, improving stability and control. Audi’s famed quattro drive will also be in place, with a motor at the front and rear driving each pair of wheels. Driving performance is boosted further with the lightweight construction of the body, parts of which are made of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer - a material that is both strong and light.
Volkswagen Group bosses are pushing electrification, with new models coming from all of its many brands that feature pure-electric or hybrid technology. Audi says that some 30 per cent of its sales volume will be pure-electric by 2025 and that the e-tron GT is just one of 12 electric cars that it intends to launch before that date. The e-tron GT should be available in 2020.