You might be surprised how driver focused it claims to be
“Whassit like?” people ask when you park up. The shorthand answer is ‘comfortable’, with some of the Taycan’s tenacity traded for a quieter, softer and overall more peaceful experience. That GT suffix is fully justified.
And yet what’s beneath the surface promises much. The weight balance is nigh on 50:50 – the sportscar dream – while the quattro all-wheel drive “only prioritises front-wheel-drive while ‘efficiency’ mode is activated”, according to Audi, with more of a rear bias – itself controlled by a rear-differential lock on RS models – the rest of the time.
All but the base spec e-tron GT get all-wheel steering to help metaphorically chisel out a good chunk of its 2.4 tonnes in the corners, too.
It might have Audi’s daftest optional extra ever
Audi loves an optional extra. Uber-menacing black pack? Carbon-inlaid cupholders? Ingolstadt is happy to oblige… for a fee. However, the e-tron GT takes the art of charging for strange things to a new level.
As standard the centre of the ‘singleframe grille’ motif – the dimpled bit up front that tells you this is an Audi and not a Porsche Taycan – is coloured in light grey. If you’d like this section painted to match the colour of the rest of your car (which you do) then that’ll cost an extra £350, danke.
Seems like a bit of a rip off when Audi will paint the whole rest of the car in, say, metallic blue for just £950. Why so much more to make the gumshield in the middle of its mouth match? Pass the masking tape and brush – we’ll do it ourselves thanks.
Audi wanted cameras instead of door mirrors… and lost
The very observant among you are now wondering why the e-tron GT – now the flagship, top-dog electric Audi – has 20th Century door mirrors. Yet the e-tron SUV, which got the whole e-tron brand ball rolling a couple of years ago, made a big play of having optional rear-view cameras on stalks instead. ‘Virtual Door Mirrors’ according to the website. Yours for a princely £1,250. Don’t bother – they’re rubbish.
Well, it’s because Porsche doesn’t rate them. See, the e-tron GT is actually a Porsche Taycan wearing an Audi dress. That meant Porsche specified all the grown-up bits underneath before it lent them to Audi.
Bits like the battery, the motors, and the impossibly complex wiring loom. Said nest of cables would need totally re-wiring if Audi was plumbing in door cameras. So, it didn’t bother. Thank you, Porsche.
It has a more old-school interior than an A6. In a good way
Inside, you’d expect the e-tron GT to be more futuristic than Tony Stark’s downstairs loo. But look closely, and you’ll see that it isn’t. It borrows the clicky-button climate controls from the Audi A3 hatchback, not the touchscreen heater system found in the A7, A8 and Q8.
It even deploys good ol’ fashioned buttons to change its driving modes instead of a strokeable fingerprint sensor on the ceiling. It’s a proper Anti-Tesla.
It might be the best-sounding electric car yet (really)
Something called ‘e-tron sport sound’ is an option on the base GT and standard with the RS. In Audi’s words, it “provides a unique ‘soundscape’ that further enhances the driving experience”. Which appears to be a soundscape of marketing spin.
Yet “is that a V6?” muttered one passer-by, ogling the e-tron GT as we parked it up, suggesting the engineers have nailed a natural noise for a big sedan. From the inside, there’s tangible but not intrusive acceleration and deceleration murmur, neither piped-in faux engine noise, nor weird electric warble.
Just a hum that makes everything a bit less alien for driver and passengers. And for those on the outside? Well, apparently it sounds like quick Audis used to.
The sat nav is a recharge planning genius
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have ditched in-car sat navs years ago as Waze (and the increasing cleverness of Google Maps) trumped them, most pertinently with realistic traffic data. Car brains are pretty good at knowing where to go until there’s a jolly big jam in the middle of it all.
But perhaps the electric age will change that. Because rather than juggle a nav app and an EV charge point app, you can let the e-tron’s touchscreen take both jobs.
A drive from the tip of Scotland to the south coast of Wales was a stern test of its nav, but the car quickly located the best places to stop and charge on the way – telling us how long to plug in for, too. Which is perhaps more pertinent for getting home quickly.
A quick five-minute pause at a mid-range charger - to eke out enough miles to get us to a super-duper Ionity socket further down the road - is something our brains almost certainly wouldn’t have figured out if it was split between two apps. And naturally it’s much easier (and safer) to edit your route and charge points on the move this way, too…
You can barely tell the ‘base’ model from the RS
Alright, so Audi RS models don’t have quite as sparkling a reputation as those from M Division or AMG. The Ingolstadt Hall of Fame is certainly a little pokier. But RS badges have always at least been applied to something chiselled, handsome and supremely muscular (RSQ8 aside on one or two of those points).
That’s still the case – the e-tron GT is a stunner – it’s just both standard and RS trims basically look the same. Each tucks stocky wheels below fine, fine arches, meaning the RS feels like little more than a bonus badge and a bit more power. Clamber inside and Alcantara hasn’t been used with complete abandon. In fact it’s hardly present at all.
We’re not knocking how either e-tron is styled, it’s just the RS badges feel as out-of-context as the Turbo badges on upscale Taycans. Perhaps, as the F-150 Lightning morphs from V8 pick-up to full EV over the pond, we just need to accept the electric age is going to see famous suffixes used in a wholly different scenario…
But that lack of Alcantara is in part down to sustainability
Yep, you won’t find much of the man-made suede inside, but you will find a bunch of materials made from old drinks containers and rugs.
Some of the upholstery is made out of a material called ‘Cascade’, which uses a mix of polyester fibres from recycled plastic bottles and textiles, while the floor mats and carpets are made from ‘Econyl’, made entirely from recycled nylon fibres from old carpets and fishing nets. Handy if you’re still reeling from Seaspiracy.
It won’t spark the Audi electric revolution…
… that’s the job of the new Q4 e-tron SUV. Yep, the e-tron SUV kick-started Audi’s electric push, and the svelte GT takes it into Taycan and Model S territory. But the car you see here will account for just 0.5 per cent of Audi sales in 2021, and one whole per cent in 2022.
The big seller will be that Q4, which Audi expects to rocket almost immediately to 20,000 sales a year in the UK to cement its place as the company’s next most popular car after the unstoppable A3. Confidence, huh.