THE ELECTRIC GRANTURISMO: The 2022 Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT
Written by Andre James / Photos courtesy of Audi
Chiseled like a supermodel's cheekbones, the head-turning architecture of the 2022 Audi e-tron GT and RS e-Tron GT looks every bit like a concept car brought to reality. "The most beautiful car I have ever drawn," said Marc Lichte, Head of Audi Design, who chose these words in the fall of 2018, when the brand presented the Audi e-tron GT concept at a show car in Los Angeles.
The Audi RS e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT are the first EVs from Audi Sport to be sold in the United States. They represent the third and fourth all-electric additions to Audi's US portfolio and contribute toward its goal of achieving a 30% electrified model portfolio by 2025. "The Audi RS e-tron GT is a milestone in the development of electrified high-performance models," said Lucas di Grassi, Formula E driver and entrepreneur, at the world premiere of the vehicle this past February.
The e-tron's enviable aesthetics have all arisen from attention to efficiencies. A lightweight, high-strength, five-layer carbon fiber reinforced plastic roof —a first for an Audi vehicle and a segment-exclusive feature—comes standard. Permanently excited magnets are an exhilarating performance element that the Audi e-tron GT shares with the world's most thrilling roller coasters. Found in both the front and rear axles of the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT, permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) produce 235 horsepower at its front motor and 429 horsepower at its rear. A net combined output of 469 horsepower (up to 522 horsepower for 2.5 seconds with overboost launch control) allows the e-tron GT to repeatedly accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top track speed of 152 mph. In the RS, a more robust rear motor enables a net 590 horsepower and up to 637 with overboost, which shaves .8 seconds off of the 0-60 mph sprint. These acceleration figures place the RS e-tron GT on par with the V10-powered Audi R8 supercar. Standard in the RS model is the e-tron sport sound, a high-quality and progressive sound that the driver can activate and modulate its amplitude via the Audi drive select system.
Audi drive select, the driving dynamics system with four modes and controlled damping, comes as standard in every e-tron GT. Standard three-chamber air suspension in the Audi e-tron GT enables a wide variation in spring rates to provide cushioned comfort for daily driving or a more reflexive tightness for track workouts. A standard rear differential lock with fixed locking values assists during various thrust and traction scenarios. "As a fully electric gran turismo, the e-tron GT reinterprets this balancing act by not reducing performance to the sheer output but by attributing a special creative importance to efficiency as well," said Lichte.
Thanks to its lightning-fast control operations, the electric all-wheel drive provides the e-tron GT with maximum dynamism, stability, and traction in any driving situation. When the driver releases the right-hand pedal, the gran turismo usually switches to coasting mode. While braking, the electric motors perform decelerations alone in the vast majority of all everyday driving situations.
All Audi e-tron GT models in the US boast a 93.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a unique integrated cooling structure underneath the battery pack. The 800-volt electrical architecture comes standard with the ability to charge at an industry-benchmark 270 kW using DC fast-chargers, allowing the battery to replenish from 5-80% in just 22.5 minutes, which is among the quickest charging rates currently available of any EV. An e-tron route planner calculates the charging stops such that the driver reaches their destination as quickly as possible. Preliminary manufacturer's estimated ranges based on approximation of EPA test cycles for a full charge are 238 miles for the e-tron GT and 232 miles for the RS e-tron GT.
Inside, the cabin is spacious and outfitted with recycled materials like Alcantara and Dinamica automotive suede in lieu of leather as standard (although Nappa leather is available). The instrument panel is based on Audi's "monoposto" design that angles the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit and 10.1-inch MMI touch response displays toward the driver. An Alacanara-wrapped full-circumference and flat-bottom steering wheel is standard, with capacitive hands-on detection available. The rear luggage compartment has a volume of14.3 cubic feet, with another 2.9 cubic-feet available beneath the hood. Those looking for the ultimate in personalized can look to the Audi exclusive range from Audi Sport GmbH.
The 2022 Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT will arrive in the US this summer. MSRP for the e-tron GT quattro Premium Plus is $99,900; $107,100 for the e-tron GT quattro Prestige; and $139,900 for the RS e-tron GT.