Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer

Published:02 March 2021

Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

 Audi’s take on the Porsche Taycan
 Goes for comfort over speed
 And succeeds

It only takes four or five of Milton Keynes’ 130 roundabouts to understand the Audi e-Tron GT quattro is a very different car to the Porsche Taycan. Despite sharing the same bespoke electric J1 platform – developed jointly by Audi and Porsche – the second e-Tron seems to have more in common with a combustion-engined S7 stepsibling, than its electric twin from Stuttgart.  

The e-Tron GT quattro we’re driving uses the same 469bhp powertrain as the Taycan 4S, capable of 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds when in a 523bhp boost mode. But the Audi’s performance doesn’t arrive in bottomless servings like the Porsche’s, nor is it point-and-click like a Tesla. Instead, the e-Tron GT’s power is progressive, its torque flat – and it makes the Audi effortlessly accumulate speed as opposed to gaining it instantly.  

What about the RS version?

The same is largely true of the hotter RS model that sits above it; with 590bhp and 637bhp in Boost mode, it has similar performance on paper to the hotter Taycan Turbo, but delivers it in a less aggressive way. Our standard quattro car, has the better range of 295 miles to RS’ 280, though. 

We’ll add impressions of the RS in due course, but here we’ll focus on the standard e-Tron GT quattro, as it’s arguably the more significant model and the one – Audi UK at least ­­­– thinks will be the most popular.  

What’s it like to drive?  

Riding on air – optional in the quattro but standard in the RS – our test car was firm but well-mannered around town and pliable on B-roads. Motorways were equally quiet in the e-Tron GT; even in Dynamic mode, the Audi’s adaptive suspension soaked up bumps from expansion joints, choosing not to send them straight to the drivers’ seat.

The added comfort comes at the expense of outright handling, so body roll and dive – when you step on the tungsten carbide-coated steel brakes – does creep in. Empty the quattro’s power reserves on the exit of a corner, and you’ll also get the bonnet to rise a little, along with some sideways sway as Audi’s all-wheel-drive claws you down the road.

But the Audi’s vegan fibres only unravel when you’re driving in a very un-GT-like manner, and every aspect of the Audi’s analogue handling and feedback – including the supremely flickable all-wheel steering – encourages you to do otherwise. Where the Taycan pushes you to drive harder, the Audi asks you to be professional.

It looks familiar

The e-Tron’s business-as-usual ethos continues to the exterior: Ingolstadt’s electric GT wears a Marc Lichte-tailored suit, and instead of looking like a Taycan at a court appearance, its unique design cues – from the Audi singleframe grille to the e-Tron light elements – move away from the Porsche’s sci-fi looks and add a dash of the familiar. 

Inside, the e-Tron GT forgoes banks of haptic touchscreens, and strikes a reasonable compromise of proddable displays and real switchgear. The steering wheel could be from any Audi of the last five years, but it’ll help make the e-Tron GT feel less alien to early adopters.  

Verdict

By bravely focusing on true GT performance, Ingolstadt has diverted the e-Tron GT from an unexciting also-ran to a fascinating new addition to the Audi range.

The standard e-Tron quattro is the most compelling of the two; on paper it has the longer range and the lower price, and it add all the comfort you’d want from a GT – with the inherent benefits an EV powertrain brings.  

The range-topping RS is more muddled. In a bid to be sportier but softer, it’s based on an unwinnable compromise, and leaves itself open to some unfavorable comparisons. There’s a reason Audi UK believes the quattro will outsell the confused RS 4-to-1.  

With the e-Tron GT quattro, Audi has used new technology to cover old ground, and It’s the most convincing EV it’s made so far.

Specs

Price when new: £79,900
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: Twin permanently excited synchronous motors 469bhp, 523bhp with overboots
Transmission: Single-speed front axle, two-speed rear axle, all-wheel drive
Performance: 4.1 seconds 0-62mph, 152mph, 0g/km (from exhaust)
Weight / material: 2285kg est/aluminium, steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):

Photo Gallery

  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer
  • Audi e-Tron GT review: an electric grand tourer

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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