Another motor show, another Audi e-tron. The German carmaker has been churning them out recently—not just the e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback, but the PB18 e-tron supercar and the self-driving Aicon. The message from Audi is clear: It’s going in hard on electric and getting in there before rivals. Well, except Tesla. Saturating the automotive airwaves with product means BMW and Mercedes have to work hard to make themselves heard.
The chatter isn’t going to subside anytime soon. Between now and 2025, Audi will add 12 all-electric cars, giving it across-the-board presence in a diverse range of shapes and sizes. Last year, it sold over 1.8 million cars. In seven years’ time, it reckons a third, some 600,000, will be electric. If that’s the case we’re in for a turnaround of some magnitude.
What we haven’t seen yet is an affordable one. The e-tron GT does nothing to change that. It’s a concept at the moment, but it will arrive in production form at the end of 2020, joining the e-tron SUV (on sale early next year) and the e-tron Sportback crossover (coming late next year).
It’s been “developed in close collaboration with Porsche,” says Audi. We’d go further. It’s basically a Taycan, the car formerly known as Mission E. Very similar size, ethos, and power. Visually they’re not that far apart either. Expect the Porsche to be slightly faster/lower/sportier.
The e-tron GT uses a “more than” 90kWh battery pack that fills the space between the axles. There’s a motor front and back to provide quattro traction and torque vectoring. Total system output is 590hp, good for 100kph in 3.5sec and 200kph in 12sec (Porsche quotes the same figures, but puts ‘under’ in front of them). Max is 240kph, WLTP range is 402km, and 800-volt charging means you’ll be able to charge to 80% in 20 minutes.
So far, so familiar. And predictable. Now, for the other stuff.
Brake-energy recuperation will be a big deal. Up to 0.3g, you won’t be using the ceramic disc brakes at all, just reversing the polarity of the electric motors. That should take care of 90% of all your braking needs, and you’ll be able to pull paddles to vary the deceleration—just like engine braking on downshifting. That’s not new: Hyundai has it on the Kona EV. There’s a 450-liter trunk and a 100-liter ‘surprise’ under-hood area. Everyone’s doing them these days.
Inside, Audi claims a vegan interior. The leather is synthetic, there’s a microfiber headlining, and the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Presumably, they remove the dolphins from them first.
The skateboard electric platform endows the e-tron GT with a similarly low center of gravity to the R8. Safe to say it’s not being pitched in quite as sporting a direction. Don’t worry, though—Audi will doubtless have an electric R8 along before 2025.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.