ELECTRIC WEEK: We test e-tron GT. Is it the sexiest electric Audi yet?

Some may say that this e-tron GT is the most exciting electric Audi yet. That’s difficult to argue. Great looking and eye-catching, it has an electric twist that never failed to attract extreme attention wherever we drove it. Low and wide in subtly metallic white, all that black trim, splendid face machined black wheels and matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light each side of a dark Audi trademark mouth, come together splendidly. A full-width taillight around the back does a disco dance every time it switches on or off.

Audi e-tron GT is wrapped in an extremely sharp suit

The Porsche Taycan’s sister car is based on the same VW Group J1 platform. It offers most of the same technology its Stuttgart sibling does. Albeit wrapped in an extremely sharp Audi suit. It’s assembled alongside the R8 at Audi’s Neckarsulm factory, which limits the number that can be built and guarantees exclusivity. It’s also a fraction longer, a little narrower and a bit taller than the Porsche.

Swing open the door to reveal superb plum leather and carbonfibre clad, chunky metal adorned high quality cabin. It has so many delightful and special little features in there, from that touch friendly enough, space age gear button to the cool e-tron logo that shines through the passenger side facia. Never mind, it’s packed full of all the very latest in Audi high tech. Yet this e-tron GT combines haptic touch screen controls with just enough knobs and buttons to keep us from crying foul.

A 12.3-inch virtual cockpit shines your choice of classic, sport and e-tron screens at you behind the wheel. The last mentioned is even something of a range anxiety elixir. Add 10.1-inch center dash touch screen above an array of oh-so-welcome knobs and dials for the air-con, heated seats, drive modes and the rest. See, we can still do the future with buttons. Incredible! Rear visibility could be better but backing up is eased by crisp and clear rear-facing and 360-degree cameras.

Practical for Four Adults and More, Too

There’s more than enough space in the rear for a couple of adults, whose feet fall into a neat notch cut into the underfloor battery. And there’s enough space in the 405-litre boot. Albeit our tester was smothered by a full-size spare wheel tied in there like a leather parachute. Nor is the long flat trunk a hatchback. You must make do with a narrow lid. That stolen boor space is partially recovered by another 81-litres of baggage space in the nose. If you remove all the charging cables and paraphernalia, that is.

The Audi e-tron GT hums when you turn on. To warn pedestrians, cyclists and horsemen of your presence. With a motor at the front and another on the rear axle for all-wheel drive, e-tron GT has a two-speed gearbox on the rear axle to maximize acceleration off the line. And improve efficiency. Something of a fast granturismo, this ‘entry-level’ GT produces 350 kW and 630 Nm for 2.5 seconds when you select launch control. Audi says that’s enough for 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 245 km/h.

It blasts off the line with great energy and thrusts you back in the seat thanks to that instantaneous electric torque. Acceleration is impressive and quicker than Audi’s claims as it goes through a quaint little transformation phase as the rear motor unit finds that second cog. After which there’s constant, endless and abundant power underfoot. Your GT pipes in Star Wars pod tones through its sport sound gadget, distantly gurgling and grunting as it progresses. And there’s always that effortless surge at your disposal.

Effortless IS the Real e-tron GT Catchword

That’s the big call word here. Effortless. If there’s one thing electric motoring at this level is, is effortless and e-tron GT stars at it. Steering is quick and honest if a touch leaden. Not unlike, say an A7. The most impressive aspect of this electric GT’s driving manner however is its agility and obedience. It totally defies its 2.3-tonne bulk. Audi reminds us that this e-tron GT’s center of gravity is lower than an R8. They really don’t need to. This one makes a mockery of its heft.

Supporting a 93-kWh battery and 800V architecture, you can charge e-tron GT at up to 270 kW if you can find a point capable of delivering that. At peak speeds in optimum conditions, you can add 62 miles of range in just five minutes. Or charge up 80 per cent just over 20 minutes. A full charge will give you 400 kilometres of range. If you can resist your urges to floor it and revel in those 350 kilowatts, that is. So, range anxiety is still real and certainly takes a little getting used to.

In a world where we have experienced that the likes of the BMW iX will go 600 km with a little discipline, and where some Teslas even manage over 700 on a charge, this Audi’s 400 km range is a limiting factor, whether you need travel far or not. It would be so much more complete with an extra couple of hundred kilos driving range, like some rivals now manage. Which means that the Audi it fails to ease range anxiety as well as say and iX does. You still need to plot your longer routes around rapid charging stations.

Perfect as an Everyday Driver Around Town

But it’s perfect for the everyday short haul. You can adapt the regeneration to your liking via the flappy paddles behind the steering wheel. Three tugs to the left make this GT almost fully single paddle drivable. Initial regen mode deceleration is up to 3Gs, so you only really need use the brake pedal in case of emergency or avoidance. All of which, unless you are going to use it on a trackday, makes the carbon brake option futile. Driven diligently, you may never even us the clamps. We hardly did.

So, there you have it. The Audi e-tron GT is tech-leader as much as it is a hugely impressive car. Way beyond just a comfy daily driver, it’s a practical enough four-door but with sharp, long, and low good looks that grab gob smacked attention wherever you take it. So yes, it is exciting. But this e-tron GT’s real strength is that it’s not trying to be a car of the future. It’s simply a quick, efficient, electric four-door that plays so handsomely to Audi’s peerless, and totally effortless strengths. – Michele Lupini

Testing & data: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Audi e-tron GT quattro
Motors: 2x electric, 350 kW 630 Nm combined
Drive: Direct AWD
Battery: 93 kWh lithium-ion
0-60 km/h:          2.16 sec
0-100 km/h:         3.91 sec
0-120 km/h:         5.18 sec
0-160 km/h:         8.34 sec
400m:               11.9 sec @ 194 km/h
80-120 km/h:        2.20 sec
120-160 km/h:       3.15 sec
VMax:               245 km/h
Energy Consumption: 20 kWh/100 km
CO2:                0 g/km local
LIST PRICE          R2.715M
RATED:              8
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