2021 Audi e-tron GT quattro, RS e-tron GT debuts – two motors, up to 646 PS, 0-100 in 3.3s; 487 km range – paultan.org

At long last, Audi has finally taken the veils off the e-tron GT. Two variants are immediately available at launch, which are the e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT. Prices start from 99,800 euros (RM489k) for the base model, while the RS starts from a cool 138,200 euros (RM677k). European presales have already begun.

Design-wise, the bulk of Tony Stark’s machine remains true to concept, and the styling language you see here was brought upon by the Audi Prologue concept that was revealed back in 2014. It’s a looker, arguably one of Audi’s best in recent years. The long wheelbase, wide track, flat silhouette, flared wheel arches and long bonnet are all easy on the eyes, with wheel sizes ranging from 19 to 21 inches in diameter.

Key design elements include slim full LED headlights (Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lights are optional), closed-off singleframe grille with inverted colours (the inner section of the grille is now body-coloured), bold air curtains, and a tapering midsection – how very athletic. All LED lighting choices offer front and rear animations for the ‘coming and leaving home’ function.

It has got good proportions, too. The e-tron GT quattro measures 4,989 mm in length, 1,964 mm wide, 1,413 mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2,898 mm. The RS e-tron GT, on the other hand, has a slightly longer wheelbase (2,900 mm, 2mm longer), and narrower front and rear tracks (1,702 mm front, 1,667 mm rear, versus the non-RS’ 1,710 mm front and 1,694 mm rear tracks).

In typical GT style, the roof quickly tapers off to a curvy rump, which is a stark contrast to the edgy fascia. It’s perhaps less busy, but things like the protruded haunch, diffuser and connected LED tail lights very clearly stand out. There’s also an integrated spoiler lip that extends in two stages depending on the driven speed, but the specifics of this has yet to be detailed.

On the subject of aerodynamics, the e-tron GT has a drag coefficient value of 0.24 Cd. This is thanks to the switchable air inlets (below the headlights and corners of the grille) for the brakes and radiators, the active rear spoiler, and a fully closed underbody. Even the wheel designs are optimised with aero blades that are just two to three millimetres thin.

The acoustic windshield comes as standard, but the side windows and rear glass can also be upgraded to the same noise-insulating glass. The GT gets a heat-insulated glass roof as standard, though a lightweight carbon-fibre roof can be had for a small fee. Audi also offers carbon-fibre parts for the wing mirrors, if that’s what you fancy.

Inside, the cabin is still quite conventionally styled for the most part. There are no oversized touch displays, and the familiar wraparound-style dashboard is slightly tilted towards the driver, while much of the cockpit appears to be driver-focused.

From left: e-tron GT quattro, RS e-tron GT

The 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus rests in a nice, hexagonal binnacle. Like its cousin the Porsche Taycan, lighting controls are now touch-based. In the middle is a reasonably-sized 10.1-inch touchscreen display (with MMI Navigation Plus as standard) that rests in a piano black bezel, whereas the passenger dash gets a backlit e-tron badge as a bonus. No secondary display here like the Taycan, unfortunately.

A three-zone climate control system is standard, and Audi chose to go with the conventional route with physical switchgears as opposed to a touchscreen system. The rather sizeable centre tunnel houses the compact drive selector switch, the push-start button, some stowage space for wallets and smartphones, and twin cubbies.

Drivers and passengers seat low in the car, and Audi says rear passengers will get generous headroom despite the presence of a large underfloor battery pack. This is due to a “foot garage” design that passengers can slide their feet into.

Seat upholstery choices are varied and include artificial and Nappa leather options. The standard leather-free design package features recycled materials, and the floor mats are made from Econyl, which is a material derived completely from recycled nylon fibres from production waste, fabric and carpet remnants, or old fishing nets.

An eight-way power adjustability system is standard for the front seats, but can be upgraded to a 14-way or 18-way system with adjustable bolsters and massage function. Further customisability such as seat belt and stitching colours can be done via Audi Sport GmbH.

Now, a twin-motor (permanently excited synchronous motors) propulsion system is standard for both the e-tron GTs. In the standard quattro variant, the front motor puts out 238 PS (175 kW), and the rear makes 435 PS (320 kW). Together, they produce 476 PS (350 kW) and 630 Nm, but power shoots up to 530 PS and 640 Nm in a short 2.5-second window during Launch Control. Here, the 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 4.1 seconds, and it tops out at 245 km/h.

In the RS e-tron GT, the front motor produces the same output, while the rear motor is only slightly more powerful with an output of 456 PS (335 kW). The combined system output is 598 PS (440 kW) and 830 Nm of torque, but in boost mode it can make up to 646 PS (475 kW). This is good for a century dash time of 3.3 seconds, and top speed is rated at 250 km/h.

Like the Taycan, the rear motor sends power to the wheels via a two-speed transmission. The first close-ratio gear provides peak accelerative performance, but drivers can choose to set off in the long-ratio second gear for the daily drive.

An 85 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (396 pouch cells arranged in 33 modules) offers a range of up to 487 km (WLTP cycle) on a full charge. Thanks to its 800-volt electrical architecture, the e-tron GT supports ultra fast DC charging of up to 270 kW. That means a five-minute charge time will provide 100 km of range. Charging from 5% to 80% SoC (state of charge) takes just 22.5 minutes. While charging at such high levels, four separate cooling circuits help regulate temperature to ensure optimal charge rates.

At launch, the car will come with an 11 kW AC charger as standard, but this can be upgraded to a faster 22-kW system. The standard mode 3 cable has already been converted to support 22 kW AC charging. The car features two charging ports, one on each side of the front fender. The left side is for AC charging, while the right side is for DC.

Another means of charging is by braking. The electric motors can recuperate up to 265 kW of power via brake regeneration, applying up to 0.3 g of decelerative force. As such, one-pedal operation is completely doable, meaning you won’t need to use the hydraulic brakes to slow the car down.

Steel discs are standard on the e-tron GT quattro, but the RS model gets cast iron discs with tungsten carbide coating (prevents flash rust). The range-topping option here is carbon-fibre ceramic discs with 10-piston grey calipers, but the latter can be painted in red or blue.

Elsewhere, the e-tron GT gets double wishbone suspension that’s made almost entirely out of aluminium. An adaptive three-chamber air suspension system can be optioned as well, allowing ride height to be lowered or raised by up to 22 mm, depending on the drive mode. Speaking of which, there are four modes – comfort, efficiency, dynamic and individual.

Last but not least, both the e-tron GTs get a wide range of advanced driver assist systems as standard, including Audi pre sense front, Audi pre sense basic, lane departure warning and cruise control system. There are optional Tour, City and Park packages which offer specific functions to suit the different needs of drivers, too.

There’s also a self-parking function – called park assist plus – that can be activated via the myAudi app on a smartphone, basically turning it into a remote control parking device. Audi is also offering the e-tron sport sound as an option, which is a synthetic engine note projected by four speakers. This is audible inside and outside the car, with the pitch rising or falling depending on speed and acceleration.

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