Audi unveils flagship e-tron GT

Audi has unveiled the new Audi e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT, which the company says “are about to conduct electricity in an exciting new direction for the Vorsprung durch Technik brand”.

“Audi has signalled its intent to play a pivotal role in the evolution of sustainable mobility in the premium sector, and after opening our account with the e-tron SUV, which is notable as the best-selling German premium BEV globally, we are stepping up the pace again to further that aim,” says Andrew Doyle, Director of Audi UK.

“The new e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT are products of the same assiduous Vorsprung durch Technik approach to electrified driving, but embody it in a highly emotive and exciting new Grand Tourer format that exploits the technology’s incredible performance potential even more fully and will be invaluable as a means of hastening its wider acceptance.”

Drive and recuperation
The e-tron GT accelerates from rest to 62mph in 4.1 seconds, while the RS model needs 3.3 seconds (in boost mode in each case). Top speeds are governed at 152mph and 155mph respectively.

The front electric motor in the e-tron GT delivers 175 kW (235 bhp), to which the rear motor is able to contribute a further 320 kW (429 bhp), however both keep reserves available for extreme driving situations, meaning that the sum of their individual outputs exceeds the drive system’s total output of 350 kW (469 bhp) by some margin. Up to 390 kW (523 bhp) can be made available for 2.5 seconds in boost mode via launch control. The total torque is 464.7 lb-ft. In the RS e-tron GT, the electric motor on the front axle shares the e-tron GT’s 175 kW (235 bhp) output, while the motor in the rear provides 335 kW (450 bhp). The total output is 440 kW (590 bhp), and the total torque is 612.2 lb-ft. In boost mode, the output briefly increases to 475 kW (637 bhp).

The electric motor, its power electronics, and the transmission form a compact block on both axles. The rear electric motor transfers its torque to a two-speed transmission. The short-ratio first gear enables stunning acceleration when the launch control function is deployed. When it isn’t, the e-tron GT starts off in second gear. Generally speaking, the long-ratio second gear improves efficiency and also provides large amounts of reserve power.

e-tron sport sound
To further enrich the driving experience, a unique ‘soundscape’ is also available for all e-tron GT models. The e-tron sport sound, which is standard equipment for RS e-tron models and optionally available for the e-tron GT quattro variants, comprises two control units and amplifiers in the luggage compartment. These generate separate exterior and interior sounds and transmit them via two loudspeakers each outside and inside the vehicle. Data about the rotational speed of the electric motors, the load, the vehicle speed, and other parameters serves as the basis for the synthesised digital sound, the nuances of which vary depending on the work performed by the drive system.

quattro reloaded: electric all-wheel drive
The e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT usually travel with electric all-wheel drive engaged, except when “efficiency” mode is activated via the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, in which case front-wheel-drive is prioritised. On slippery road surfaces, or when high power requirements or fast cornering demand it, the electric motor for rear-wheel drive is also activated in this mode around five times faster than with a mechanical quattro drivetrain. The electric all-wheel drive regulates the drive torque distribution between the axles continuously, fully variably, and within a few thousandths of a second. The quattro principle with which Audi revolutionised road car dynamics more than 40 years ago has fully evolved in order to make the leap into the new era of electrification.

When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the drive system usually switches to sailing mode, allowing the grand tourer to glide relaxedly and with impeccable refinement. The only exception occurs when ‘dynamic’ is the defined setting in Audi drive select, in which case the car recuperates in overrun mode. In both situations, the driver can use the paddles on the steering wheel to adjust two manual recuperation levels or select an automatic level in the MMI system. In this case, the predictive efficiency assist regulates sailing and recuperation on the basis of data from the navigation route and the on-board sensors.

While braking, the electric motors perform decelerations alone up to around 0.3 g, i.e. the vast majority of all brake applications in everyday driving. This allows them to recuperate up to 265 kW. The hydraulic wheel brakes are activated only when the driver brakes very heavily, with recuperation remaining active almost until the vehicle comes to a standstill.

Battery and thermal management
The lithium-ion battery system at the heart of the Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT is located between the axles, at the car’s lowest point. This provides a low centre of gravity appropriate for a sports car and a weight distribution between the front and rear axles that is very close to the ideal value of 50:50.

The high-voltage battery can store 86 kWh of energy net (93 kWh gross) in both models. It integrates 33 cell modules, each comprising twelve pouch cells with flexible outer skin. 30 modules form the lower level that features a wide recess in the rear section which creates space for the rear passengers’ feet. The upper “floor” of the battery contains three further modules situated below the rear seats. The connections, fuses, and the main control unit are located under the centre console. The system voltage of 800 volts enables a high continuous output and shortens the charging duration; in addition, it reduces the weight of, and space required by, the wiring.

The inner structure of the battery containing the modules, the frame surrounding it, and the cover plates are made of lightweight aluminium. The battery system contributes significantly to the rigidity and crash safety of the body to which it is attached via 28 screws. Beneath its cell space there is a compound structure of flat extruded sections through which coolant flows that circulates in its own low-temperature circuit.

High-tech thermal management: four separate coolant circuits
Four separate coolant circuits regulate the temperature in the high-voltage components and the interior, each at its own temperature level. They can be interconnected flexibly when required. If the driver demands a high output several times in a row, valves couple the coolant circuit of the battery with the refrigerant circuit of the air conditioning system – the intensive cooling helps to maintain performance at a consistently high level. The refrigerant circuit also helps with cooling during fast DC charging, which can heat the battery up to 50 degrees Celsius.

A heat pump that heats the interior with the waste heat of the high-voltage components is a standard feature of the e-tron GT. It can reduce the loss of range caused by climate control significantly, especially in winter when it replaces the thermoelectric heating element. Customers can manage pre-entry climate control of the interior and charging via their smartphones using the myAudi app. The e-tron GT is optionally equipped with a deluxe thermal conditioning system that also includes the exterior mirrors and the rear window.

One of the key features defining the character of the new e-tron GT models is their suspension. The standard suspension, which is forged or cast largely from aluminium, is reserved for the lead-in e-tron GT quattro model, and features a double wishbone configuration and electronic adaptive damping. The e-tron GT Vorsprung and all variants of the RS e-tron GT build on these foundations with adaptive air suspension, which is also optionally available for the e-tron GT as part of a package. Its three-chamber system can lower the body from its standard setting by up to 22 millimetres and raise it by up to 20 millimetres.

For dynamic handling: rear-axle differential lock, high performance braking
The Audi e-tron GT is equipped as standard with a self-locking centre differential which further optimises traction and stability, reduces load change reactions and enhances precision by way of minor brake and steering interventions on the wheels. RS e-tron GT models also feature a regulated rear-axle differential lock based on a multi-plate clutch which can be actuated fully variably and has a locking range that extends from zero to 100 percent.

As a further aid to low-speed manoeuvrability and maximum stability during higher speed work all-wheel steering is fitted as standard to the e-tron GT Vorsprung and to all RS e-tron GT models. At speeds of up to 31mph a spindle drive turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to travel by a maximum of 2.8 degrees, and above this turns them slightly in the same direction.

Driver assist systems
Numerous driver assistance systems are either standard or optionally available for the Audi e-tron GT  and RS e-tron GT. The Audi pre sense front and Audi pre sense basic safety systems are standard, as is the lane departure warning system, while other key technologies, including adaptive cruise assist, intersection assist and surround view cameras, are bundled into “Tour,” “City Assist,” and “Parking Assistance” packages. The assist package plus comprises all three and is standard for the e-tron GT Vorsprung and RS e-tron GT Carbon Vorsprung, which also add a night vision assistant and a head-up display.

The Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT – UK OTR Pricing
Audi e-tron GT quattro
Audi e-tron GT quattro Vorsprung
Audi RS e-tron GT
Audi RS e-tron GT Carbon Black
Audi RS e-tron GT Carbon Vorsprung

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