Audi Pulls the Sheet Off e-tron GT Concept in LA

After some healthy automotive foreplay, Audi finally took the wraps off its new e-tron GT Concept at the LA Auto Show. Offering the best elements of the brand’s design language, the vehicle previews a production model that’s scheduled to appear late in 2020, as well as Porsche’s upcoming Taycan EV — which will share the Audi’s drivetrain and platform.

Relatively handsome, if you like Audi sedans and oversized grilles on electric cars, the GT avoids getting overly ambitious with the futuristic styling we see on a lot of mainstream EVs. We’d call this “extremely modern” rather than some truly visionary design you’d expect from a concept car. It’s safe but not so safe that anyone should be left fretting.

However, it’s not quite the Tesla destroyer the media is eternally hunting for. Despite boasting some impressive specifications, the e-tron is roughly on par with the Model S when viewed broadly. But it should still make for healthy competition while encouraging the American brand to step up its game. 

A pair of electric motors driving each axle draw power from a 90-kWh battery pack. Combined, the duo produces 434 kilowatts of energy, or about 590 horsepower. Audi says the machine will rush to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds, which is actually a little better than we had originally presumed. But it is not faster than a 4,891-pound Tesla Model S P100D running at full tilt.

Charging times are another story. Boasting range of about 248 miles, according to Europe’s new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, the Audi’s 800-volt battery system is supposed to be capable of restoring 80 percent of its total range in around 20 minutes. That’s should make it (and the Porsche Taycan) one of the quickest-charging EVs on the market.

Handling should benefit immensely from the e-tron’s rear-axle steering, advanced all-wheel drive system, and exceptionally low center of gravity — Audi went so far as to compare it directly with the R8.

Minus one internal combustion engine, the e-tron GT has a small front truck with 3.5 cubic feet of available space. While a handy area for storing carry-on luggage, most of the serious storage duties will go to the rear compartment, which measures a hair under 16 cubes. Since this is a concept vehicle, the interior is likely to change. Still, you can comfortably count on a wealth of tech and more luxury than you probably ever needed.

Considering Audi only launched its first battery-only vehicle a couple of months ago, the e-tron GT looks like the brand is making solid progress into the brave new world of “electro mobility.” But it still has a long way to go. Audi wants to sell twelve automobiles with all-electric drivetrains by the end of 2025 and have its product line featuring enough electrification to “cover every relevant market segment from the compact to the full-size class.”

Hopefully the world is ready by then.

[Images: Audi]

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