Having already launched the 2021 Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback electric luxury crossovers, the German automaker is following them with the Audi e-tron GT Prototype.
Debuting Tuesday at CES, the Gran Turismo is a four-door, four-passenger car employing technology that was initially developed for motorsports, first with Audi’s hybrids at Le Mans, and now with Formula-E.
“We learn so much from hardware, we learn so much from software,” said Audi Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi during the car’s unveiling, “I can see a lot of relation between the Formula E car that I drive, and when I drove e-tron GT Prototype. I’m really, really impressed on how this car relates to the Formula E in so many different levels.”
The e-tron GT Prototype’s architecture is shared with Porsche, not its Audi siblings, giving it a profile, that’s 2.5 inches lower than an A7 or R7. The low profile comes despite the fact that the battery pack is between the axles, as is becoming common in most EVs.
“The center of gravity of this car is extremely low,” Di Grassi said. “This allows you to accelerate, brake, and corner in a much better way.”
Speaking of battery packs, the GT’s is a 93.6 kilowatt-hour battery pack, and can be recharged up to 270 kW using a DC fast charger. It powers a two-motor system, one on each axle, which can transfer energy front to rear as well as side to side. This allows for 4-wheel drive, which is enhanced by 4-wheel steering, and three-chamber air springs.
“If you put all of that in combination, it creates the agility, that only when you drive it, you’re going to feel it,” Di Grassi said. “It makes this car a unique piece of engineering to drive.”
New for Audi, the e-tron GT will emit a pedestrian warning exterior sound to meet homologation issues at low speeds.
As with any battery-electric vehicle, aerodynamics are key to extending the vehicle’s range. The GT’s shape started in the wind-tunnel rather than on paper, featuring flush rocker panels, a streamlined greenhouse, and Audi’s LED distinguished new taillamp band in the back.
Inside, the e-tron GT will be Audi’s first leather-free interior, with seats made from recycled fabric, carpets made from recycled nylon, and a microfiber-covered dashboard and steering wheel.
The Audi e-tron GT production car will be built at Audi’s Böllinger Höfe plant in Neckarsulm, Germany, where the company also builds the R8, and will be among the earliest plants to meet Audi’s goal of its plants being carbon neutral by 2025.