Emotionally charged design and lightning fast response, with 0-62mph acceleration in as little as 3.3 seconds – the new Audi e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT are about to conduct electricity in an exciting new direction for the Vorsprung durch Technik brand. Launching simultaneously this spring, the new GT sports cars combine breathtaking and instantly accessible accelerative force and zero local emissions with compellingly incisive handling, exceptional trans-continental cruising comfort and ultra-sophisticated infotainment and driver assistance technology.
“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.”
Sustainability is the new premium: materials, colours, and equipment
The concept of premium sustainable mobility as defined by Audi naturally extends beyond the powertrain to features such as the optional leather-free design package for the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT. It includes upholstery in a combination of artificial leather and the new material Cascade, which is produced using a proportion of recycled materials such as polyester fibres made from old plastic bottles, textiles, or residual fibres from selvages. The microfibre material Dinamica, which has similar properties to Alcantara and comprises recycled fibres, is also incorporated in elements such as the centre console, the upper sections of the door inserts and the upper part of the instrument cluster.
A leather package in various colours is also available as an alternative. It combines similar enhancements to upper and lower elements in either Fine Nappa leather or Dinamica microfibre. Regardless of the model chosen the floor carpet and floor mats are made from Econyl, a material consisting of 100-percent recycled nylon fibres from production waste, fabric and carpet remnants, or old fishing nets.
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.
Drivers can also modulate the sound via Audi drive select. In the “efficiency” profile, only the AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System) is active, which already generates a broader sound than is legally required. In “comfort” mode the exterior sound is fuller, and it becomes even more powerful in the “dynamic” profile, when the interior sound is also added.
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.