With its gorgeous styling and unparalleled performance, the e-tron GT redefines electric mobility

Until as recently as just 10 years ago, had anyone suggested that electric cars would go mainstream in the next decade and that carmakers would start announcing plans to stop manufacturing IC-engined cars and replace those with EVs, that person would have likely been laughed out of the room. But that’s the way it’s panned out; most car manufacturers — those who’ve been making IC-engined cars for many decades — have admitted that electric is the future. And some have already announced plans to phase out petrol and diesel engines completely over the next 10-20 years, going all-electric in the process.

Over the last decade, while the EV story was evolving in ways that most hadn’t anticipated, there was also a unique twist in the tale. Rather than an established carmaker from Japan or Europe taking the lead with EVs, it was a US-based upstart that moved ahead rapidly and aggressively, carving up the market, and leaving others floundering in its wake. In the world of pricey, high-performance electric cars, Tesla is now the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room, and other manufacturers are now playing catch-up. However, if there’s one carmaker from the old guard that’s taking the fight to Tesla, it’s Audi.

Audi e-tron GT

Audi, which launched the e-tron range of SUVs in India earlier this year, has announced it will stop development work on new internal combustion engines after 2026, and will go electric-only from 2032. Of course, this is a massive shift and is likely to happen in a phased manner, with some markets going all-electric before others, depending on charging infrastructure and country-specific norms and guidelines. Market-dependent factors notwithstanding, Audi decidedly wants to take the lead with high-performance electric vehicles, taking Tesla head on in the process.

After the e-tron SUV line-up, the German company has now launched the e-tron GT in India. This is an all-electric luxury grand-tourer with the pace, power, and driving range that’s comparable to the Tesla Model 3. The numbers are certainly impressive; the RS e-tron GT is powered by dual electric motors that together produce 475kW (637bhp) and 830Nm of torque. The car can accelerate from zero to 100kph in just 3.3 seconds (that’s actually a bit quicker than Audi’s own RS 7 Sportback super-sedan), and can hit an electronically-limited top speed of 250kph. With a full charge, the RS e-tron GT has a 481km driving range of up to 481km, and can take on an 80 per cent charge in around 20 minutes when using a DC fast charger.

Audi e-tron GT

The regular e-tron GT, with 390kW (523bhp), isn’t too far behind the higher-spec RS version, accelerating from zero to 100kph in 4.1 seconds, which is as quick as a late-1990s Porsche 911 Turbo S. With a full charge, the e-tron GT also has a range of up to 500km, which should be more than adequate for most users. Of course, the e-tron GT is about much more than just its range and acceleration numbers; it’s a beautifully built luxury grand touring car that’s designed to take on the best of its IC-engined competition.

“It’s the most beautiful car I have ever drawn,” said Marc Lichte, Head of Audi Design, when the e-tron GT concept was first shown in Los Angeles in 2018. “The foundation for aesthetics lies in the proportions; short overhangs and a long wheelbase combined with a lean cabin on a powerful body. The e-tron GT features all of the above,” he added. And indeed, the e-tron GT is a strikingly good looking car, with sinewy, muscular bodywork and an assertive stance that lends it a subtle touch of menace. Whether it’s stoplight drag races or all-out driving across twisty, challenging mountain roads, you know the e-tron GT isn’t going to back down. And, yes, the car has the tech to back up its sporting intent; adaptive air suspension that optimises ride and handling characteristics according to the driving mode selected, quattro AWD for extra grip and stability in wet weather conditions, launch control with boost function for extreme acceleration, four-wheel steering and tungsten carbide brake callipers for immense stopping power — these are just some elements that Audi has heaped upon the e-tron GT in a bid to make the car go like a full-on supercar, only one that’s powered by electric motors rather than turbocharged petrol V8.

Audi e-tron GT

In keeping with the ‘GT’ in its name, the e-tron boasts a spacious, luxurious cabin that happily accommodates four adult occupants. “Electric mobility adds to the lightness and functionality of the interior, with as much space as in the next-higher segment. Compact on the outside, spacious on the inside,” says Lichte, about the e-tron GT’s interiors. So, yes, the interiors are as well appointed as you’d expect, with Nappa leather upholstery, 18-way adjustable sports seats, 3-zone air-conditioning and a high-end B&O sound system. There’s also Audi’s class-leading virtual cockpit, fully digital instrumentation, MMI navigation and infotainment and full smartphone connectivity, along with a host of electronic safety and driver aids, including a lane departure warning system, park assist plus with 360-degree cameras, ABS, traction control, and multiple airbags.

cockpit

Clearly, Audi isn’t messing around with the e-tron GT; the car has been designed to represent the highest levels of EV tech, with specs and performance numbers that are the best that’s currently available anywhere in the world. As with most good things in life, the e-tron GT costs a fair bit — you’ll pay Rs 1.80 crore (exshowroom) for the privilege of owning one, while the higher-performance RS version comes with an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 2.05 crore. That’s a lot of money, yes, but the e-tron GT is a pathbreaking car, one that portends the eventual demise of the IC-engine. Electric power is now ready to take over the world, and there’s no looking back.

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