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Audi has revealed more information about its coming e-tron GT electric vehicle (EV), including broad output and performance figures of the RS e-tron GT flagship.
Described as an electric supercar grand tourer, the kissing cousin of the Porsche Taycan in RS guise will develop between 440kW and 475kW of power combined, as well as 830Nm of torque all up.
The upper figures are possible partly because of an overboost function in concert with launch-control technology, which is said to shave off between 0.2 seconds and 0.5s the 0-100km/h sprint time.
Employing a trio of electric motors – a single 175kW one up on the front axle and a pair making 335kW on the back axle, to drive all four wheels – Audi says "under 3.5s" will be possible as a result.
This compares to the top Porsche Taycan – the Turbo S’ from $338,500 before on-road costs – which delivers 460kW or 560kW and an eye-watering 1050Nm with overboost power plus launch control to take it to 100km/h from standstill in just 2.8s, on the way to 260km/h.
Tesla’s $161,311 Model S Performance, meanwhile, pumps out 451kW and 931Nm for an impressive 2.6s, at less than half the price of the Turbo S.
Like the Taycan, the e-tron GT’s flat floor architecture and low centre of gravity (COG) make very high cornering speeds possible, while strong thermal management means the driver has full access to all the available power as required.
Central to this are four different cooling and heating circuits within the car, to look after the thermal management of the battery pack and traction motors front and rear, especially when recharge output levels hit 270kW, which produces immense heat. There is also a heat pump to control the cabin temperature in winter.
“All are interconnected to cool and condition every part of the car, as well as the interior, so there is no wasted energy – hence the complexity,” according to an Audi spokesperson.
“Batteries are very thermally stressed at high-speed charging – up to 270kW – and this is nearly the same power needed to drive at 250km/h. The problem when charging is there is no air flow around the car, hence cooling is required, thus thermal management is required.
“We use a special functional feature to ensure that the driver can charge the battery with utmost capacity during a trip. When the car travels a longer distance with active navigation, the e-tron route planner issues suggestions of where to charge the battery. About half an hour before the car arrives at the selected charging station, the thermal management system starts adjusting the temperature of the battery to precisely match its state of charge and the charging station’s capacity.”
The RS e-tron GT uses carbon wheels of up to 21 inches in diameter, though the 20-inch ones are regarded best for aerodynamic and the standard 19-inch items for low weight, while the magnetic brakes employ the motors to stop the car, decreasing reaction and distance times dramatically while working as a generator to help recharge the batteries.
Carbon-ceramic brake discs will be available at extra cost in lieu of the standard steel discs, as will be discs with tungsten carbide coating for enhanced performance.
“The quattro AWD system helps put immense torque into the ground, managed by the torque vectoring tech, for insanely fast acceleration,” the spokesperson added. “The four-wheel steering (4WS) helps with stability and agility, for changing of direction, helped by very low COG.”
That said, Audi says even the RS e-tron GT will be firmly rooted in grand touring luxury as well as performance, with “state of the art usability” to help woo EV customers away from the Taycan and Model S, as well as the promising Lucid Air.
Key to this is air suspension and adaptive dampers with a strong focus on cushy refinement at one extreme (the e-tron GT’s set up is softer overall in feel than the Porsche’s), and hardcore grip at the other, while 4WS helps with low-speed manoeuvrability as well as high-speed stability and control.
“The three-chamber air suspension gives us the opportunity for a soft basic set-up for normal comfort driving,” according to Audi Sport engineer Jaan-Mattes Reiling.
“But it can also stiffen the air springs in milliseconds for sports driving, as well as lift and lower the car as needed – in efficiency mode that is 22mm lower than normal driving mode, which saves energy and increases range.
“Plus, the 4WS system gives the driver the feeling of a very small car great for city traffic but gives improved stability on the open road.”
All the aforementioned hardware is shared with the Taycan, although Audi selects a different tune as per brand and customer expectations. The air springs are brought in via an outside supplier. The Tesla Model S was a key benchmark, among a host of other rival vehicles.
Other e-tron GT information includes approximate weight (around 2300kg – which Audi says is “a small number for a full EV”) and a 50/50 weight distribution front and rear (“for optimal driving dynamics”).
Audi says that while there is much commonality with the Taycan underneath the e-tron GT – including the platform, motor, battery pack, suspension and steering components – the set-up of the traction systems, air-spring rates and other areas where adjustability is possible are different.
“This is so the e-tron GT’s feel is completely different to the Porsche,” a spokesperson said. “Our aim is to set up a GT with high-performance numbers, but also really fascinating design and high usability… it is what the focus groups wanted (from Audi).”
More information will be available when Audi continues is e-tron GT drip-feed data in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on this space.