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Audi E-Tron GT Concept Electric Sedan Charges Toward Production

Consumer Reports logo Consumer Reports 11/29/2018 Jon Linkov
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Audi unveiled the next member of the E-Tron all-electric vehicle family at the 2018 LA Auto Show: the E-Tron GT Concept. Audi calls the sleek, four-door coupe a concept, but a production version is coming for the 2021 model year, according to the automaker. Unlike the E-Tron SUV and Sportback models, this is a low-to-the-ground four-door coupe, befitting the GT (Gran Turismo) name. Pointing at its driving character, the E-Tron GT will be built by Audi Sport, the performance arm of Audi.

The production version of the E-Tron GT concept is set to go on sale in 2020.

Here is what we know so far: 
 

Outside

The E-Tron GT is a wide, low-slung four-door with large 22-inch wheels and tires housed inside big fender flares. In profile, the car’s roofline steeply slopes toward the rear of the car and the tailgate for the cargo area.

Up front is a tall, hexagonal grille with a honeycomb mesh insert that can be found on all of Audi’s performance models. There are prominent air inlets to cool the battery and brakes, and LED headlights with laser high beams.

The wide rear end is punctuated by a strip of LED lights that runs the width of the car and blends into the taillights. 

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Inside the Cabin

The E-Tron GT concept has room for four passengers. Drivers are greeted with a large all-digital instrument display that can be changed among a number of functions, including instrument gauges, navigation mapping, energy data, and infotainment.

The center console has a large touch screen sitting high in the dash, with a smaller all-digital screen below it for the climate controls. This layout is much like that in the new A8 and A6, although it is far more stylized than the ones in those sedans. The gear selector that is in the console between the seats uses buttons, similar to what Acura and Honda employ.

Audi has highlighted that the interior does not use any animal products, calling it a vegan interior. We look forward to sampling it when the GT production car is available.

There are two places to stow cargo: nearly 16 cubic feet of room under the rear tailgate and  3.5 cu. ft. under the hood. Like the Model S, this is one benefit of not having an engine sitting up front. 
 

What Drives It

Audi worked with Porsche (like Audi, a subsidiary of parent company Volkswagen) to develop the technology for the E-Tron GT concept, which is based on the upcoming Taycan performance car.

The all-electric drivetrain uses a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery to provide power to drive the dual motors—one for the front wheels and one for the rear, giving the GT all-wheel drive. Power output is a claimed 590 hp. The concept has a range of more than 248 miles, according to the European rating system.

Audi claims the GT will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds, and to 124 mph in slightly more than 12 seconds. Top speed is limited to 149 mph.

The battery is mounted low, running under the cabin between the front and rear axles. The GT has two regenerative settings to charge the battery while driving: one that captures energy while coasting and one that captures energy when drivers brake.

The GT can be charged with a physical cable or by parking the car over the Audi Wireless Charging induction charger. This system uses a permanently installed pad with a charging coil that is connected to a power source. In simple terms, when the GT is parked over the pad, a magnetic field charges the battery through a coil in the bottom of the car. The car can charge fully overnight using this system.

Charging can be completed much faster using the wired 800-volt system. Audi claims it will take 20 minutes to charge the battery to 80 percent capacity, which will give a range of 198 miles. This system is the same as the one that is on the upcoming Taycan, and it would be much more powerful than the Tesla Supercharger.

Through its Electrify America initiative, Volkswagen has pledged to install about 900 DC-fast-charging stations across the country by mid-2019, totaling 5,000 charging ports. Further, Porsche says it's working on rolling out a nationwide network to support owners with 800-volt chargers at dealerships, which are often adjacent to Audi dealerships. Combined, these efforts will significantly increase the national charging network in time for the arrival of the Audi E-Tron models.

Of course, the GT can also be charged at lower-voltage charging points, including at home. 
 

Safety and Driver-Assist Systems

There is no word on which safety systems are on the E-Tron GT concept or when the production version will be announced.  
 

CR’s Take

It makes sense that Audi is continuing to broaden its electric vehicle offerings. Parent company Volkswagen is developing a charging infrastructure in the U.S. and has committed to invest $2 billion in manufacturing, promoting, and building infrastructure for electric vehicles in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal. 

a car parked in a parking lot© Provided by Consumers Union of United States, Inc.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2018, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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