An Audi like no other

Friday, February 12, 2021

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ON February 9, Audi unveiled its future in the form of an all-new full-electric high-performance four-door sports coupé, the e-tron GT quattro. The new vehicle sparkles with the shine of the company's now famous tagline Vorsprung Durch Technik, or as translated into English, 'Progress through technology'.

There is plenty of significant technology on display in the e-tron GT staring with its ultimate nod to the future, the transition to battery electric propulsion. Quattro means all-wheel drive for Audi and the system has also evolved for electrification. Rather than the traditional methods of routing engine power to all four wheels via mechanical transfer cases and differentials, the e-tron GT quattro drives all its wheels with electric all-wheel drive. Two electric motors sit at each axle, one in front, the other in rear. They combine to give the vehicle 476 horsepower and 464.7 lb/ft of torque. In boost mode torque rises to 472 lb/ft and horsepower to 530 for a maximum of 2.5 seconds. This sends the e-tron GT Quattro to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 245 km/h.

These electric motors are fed by lithium-ion batteries with a collective output of 93kWh. Using the net energy output of 85 kWh the e-tron GT quattro can travel up to 487 km on one charge. Audi's sophisticated thermal management system and 800-volt architecture allows charging power as high as 270 kW from DC sources enabling very short charging times. For example, 100 km of range can be recovered in just five minutes of charging at that high a level. There is AC charging at 11 kW with an option to double that. On board, there is intelligent recuperation during coasting and braking up to 265 kW. The motors are only silent if you want them to be since Audi has implemented e-tron sport sound. Above the legal requirements for all electric vehicles to have an alert sounds for pedestrian safety, the e-tron can be made to generate a fuller sporty sound, inside and outside, based on several driving parameters in the COMFORT and DYNAMIC modes.

Aiding range are the design and construction aspects of the e-tron GT Quattro. Body lines create a low drag coefficient of only 0.24 making the car extremely slippery to the wind. Active aerodynamics, switchable brake and radiator air inlets, a closed and flat underbody, wide rear diffuser, and a rear spoiler that extends in multiple stages all play their part. The car boasts a low centre of gravity due to drivetrain and passenger compartment placement. The installation position of the battery packs and electric motors create an optimal load distribution across the body. Audi, one of the pioneers of the automotive use of aluminium, has continued their expertise in the lightweight material on the e-tron GT Quattro for its outer skin.

Inside, the freedom of not having a traditional internal combustion engine and mechanical drivetrain means the Audi designers were able to solidify the feeling of open space for passengers while retaining a driver-centric character and as with all Audis, luxury in theme in convenience technology and interior material choice.

All of this is what Audi says is its reinterpretation of the GT (gran turismo) philosophy in the segment. In the e-tron GT Quattro it's created a four-door coupé that's elegant to look at, powerful and dynamic enough to long distance and everyday driving.

However, it doesn't stop there as with the e-tron GT quattro Audi revealed a first for its high-performance division, the RS e-tron GT. Audi fans will immediately recognise the RS badge as the one applied to its most sporty vehicles. This case is no less as the RS e-tron GT has 598 horsepower and 612 lb/ft torque. Under launch control conditions horsepower rises to 646 horsepower for a 0-100 km/h sprint of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 255 km/h.

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