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Audi e-tron GT 2020 unveiled in LA

Two electric motors, 434kW and 3.5 seconds 0-100km/h time for Audi’s new e-tron GT.

Audi has accelerated its move into electrification with its second all-electric e-tron model, committing the GT four-door coupe to production within two years after being shown this week as a concept at the Los Angeles motor show.

The e-tron GT will follow the road into Audi’s electric showroom in 2020, joining the e-tron crossover earmarked for an Australian launch next year, as well as the plug-in hybrid A3 Sportback and Q7 SUV sold locally in limited quantities.

While the e-tron name carries over to the GT, the four-door coupe varies from its SUV sibling as it is built on the 'Premium Platform Electric' (PPE) architecture jointly-developed with Porsche.

The four-door is impressive in size at 4960mm long, 1960mm wide and 1390mm high sitting on a stretched 2900mm wheelbase. The concept was shown with 22-inch wheels – likely to be standard or at least an option when it hits production.

Audi has created a lightweight body with a mix of materials to gain strength and weight advantages. The roof is carbon-fibre, for example, while many of the loose panels are aluminium and some structural parts are steel as Audi leaned on Porsche for technological advice.

The design is touted as Audi’s new language, with an extended roofline sloping gently to the broad tail with its slim tail-lights. Despite the e-tron GT being a four-door design, there is similarity here to the latest Porsche 911, and could share many elements with the upcoming Taycan model.

It differs from the current design language with a passenger cell that tapers more to the rear and has more strongly defined wheelarches and haunches that emphasise the low stance of the car.

Air vents on the wheelarches and the solid rear diffuser also show the GT spent some time in the wind tunnel, realised by its low drag coefficient to reduce fuel consumption and wind noise.

The car has two luggage compartments with the rear space beneath the tailgate offering 450 litres and, at the front, an extra 100L of volume.

Audi has created a lightweight body with a mix of materials to gain strength and weight advantages. Audi has created a lightweight body with a mix of materials to gain strength and weight advantages.

Other design poiconts are the pronounced sill, the large five-spoke wheels and honeymbed, single-frame grille in two colours to emphasise its horizontal line.

The GT concept uses matrix LED headlights with laser high beam and, as a bit of theatre, Audi equipped the car with a short animated light show that it said “welcomes the driver”.

The concept was shown with a new exterior colour known as ‘kinetic dust’, described by Audi as “a warm, dark colour akin to titanium” to match the technology of the e-tron “without being ‘technoid’ standoffish”.

Inside the e-tron GT mixes sensible functions with a luxury feel, designed with a large centre console with screens and, ahead of the driver, a freestanding instrument panel.

Indicative of the performance role intended for the GT, it has four sport seats inspired by motor racing in both rows for optimum lateral support even while cornering at speed.

With the concept car, Audi has deliberately employed sustainable materials which it believes is a statement of contemporary automotive design. 

The car has no animal-based products and the interior is completely vegan. It uses synthetic leather on the seats and other trim surfaces, fabrics from recycled fibres for the seat cushions and armrests, and microfibre material on the headlining and window pillars.

Even the deep-pile floor carpet is made from sustainable Econyl yarn, a recycled fibre made from old fishing nets.

With the concept car, Audi has deliberately employed sustainable materials. With the concept car, Audi has deliberately employed sustainable materials.

The driver can personalise the screen displays, including virtual instrument dials, easy-to-read navigation maps with information on the range, or various infotainment function menus. These are controlled by the touchscreen with tactile feedback.

Power for the e-tron GT comes from two electric motors mounted on each axle with a total of 434kW. An electronic control system coordinates the drive between the axles as well as between left and right wheels. 

Audi said the GT is expected to be able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in about 3.5 seconds before going on to 200 km/h in just over 12 seconds. The top speed is regulated at 240 km/h to maximise the range. 

When not being used as aggressively, the driver will switch the car to an overdrive function to keep the drivetrain cool and ensure maximum range.

Audi claims the GT concept has a range of more than 400km using the new WLTP standard.

Energy comes from a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of more than 90kWh, which takes up the entire underfloor area between the front and rear axle.

It has a recuperation system that increases the range by up to 30 per cent. This involves both electric motors and the electro-hydraulically integrated brake control system.

The battery in the Audi e-tron GT concept can be charged using a cable or wirelessly through induction pads.

Induction charging will take roughly a night to top up the battery, while the plug-in method can be as quick as 20 minutes for an 80 per cent top-up for around 320km of driving distance.

Audi says the e-tron GT will be developed into volume-production models by the end of 2020 with initial deliveries made to customers in early 2021.

How does the e-tron GT rate against the Audi R8? Tell us what you think in the comments below.