New Audi e-tron GT 2021 review
The tech-packed Audi e-tron GT EV is a landmark model for the German brand
Stunning to look at, impressive to drive, ecologically as sound as it gets nowadays, and with sizeable doses of interior style and practicality to go with it, the new e-tron GT is a landmark car from Audi, even if it is eye-wateringly expensive at just over £80,000. If all EVs turn out to be like this but are more affordable, then the future looks very bright indeed.
Is the new £80,000, 152mph, 523bhp Audi e-tron GT the car of the future? No, it is the car of the present, albeit wrapped in a package that, for most us, will be merely something to aspire to rather than actually own for the time being.
With thunderous acceleration, a claimed range of 298 miles, zero local emissions and a DC rapid-charging system that can deliver an extra 60 miles of range in just five minutes, the GT is a present-day example of what’s possible from an all-electric vehicle. It is, if you like, an experiment for the kind of car most of us will be driving in 10 years’ time. Except it’s available today for £80,850.
Based on the same underpinnings as the excellent Porsche Taycan, the e-tron GT isn’t a whole lot different from the various Teslas we’ve come to know and mostly like in recent years. Yet somehow, the fact that this car emanates not from a car company in Silicon Valley that few of us had heard of around a decade ago, but from Audi, lends the idea of a genuinely desirable EV an extra element of momentum.
The e-tron GT is proof that EVs are very much here to stay and, more to the point, very much here to be enjoyed.
Powered by a 93kWh battery and a pair of electric motors, the four-wheel-drive GT might weigh as much as a Range Rover, at 2,347kg, but it generates 469bhp and 630Nm of torque. So with launch control and ‘overboost’ that gives it 523bhp for 2.5 seconds, it’s enough to lower its 0-62mph time from a claimed 4.5 seconds to 4.1.
Arguably, though, it’s the 298-mile range and the zero to 80-per-cent-full in less than 30 minutes charging capability that grab the headlines. This, and the fact that it looks knee-tremblingly lovely and is, as we’ve discovered, a very good car to drive, even on the most challenging of UK roads and in the poorest of our weather.
It even sounds quite fruity if you specify the optional sound package that digitally amplifies subtle engine and exhaust noises, not just into the cabin but also to the outside world as you rumble past. Attention to detail such as this pervades throughout the GT’s driving experience, and it’s just one aspect of many that makes this car feel that much more ‘normal’ than with other EVs. It feels like a fast Audi first and foremost, one that just so happens to run on electricity.
The cabin design helps, with a familiar theme that includes the same touchscreens and similar switchable TFT instruments that you’ll find in any other contemporary biggish Audi. The designers have deliberately not gone too futuristic inside, even though they’ve created lots of head and legroom front and rear and provided a decent, if unusually shallow space for your luggage behind the two rear seats. Some will no doubt bemoan the fact that the GT looks and feels too much like a regular Audi inside, but most will surely approve of Audi’s business-almost-as-usual approach to interior design.
There’s not much tech you’d crave, either, the GT coming as standard with a full package of driver-assist systems, head-up display, keyless entry, a B&O sound system, artificial leather that looks as convincing as it feels, a full-length panoramic roof, LED lights (matrix at the front) and a comprehensive infotainment system with live navigation.
The way the GT drives and its basic performance are also deeply and addictively impressive, with incredible response to the throttle followed by a sustained surge that will leave many gasping in disbelief.
You can swap between Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual modes to alter the throttle map, dampers, ESC responses and so on. In Comfort it rides extremely well on just about any UK road. In Dynamic it feels sharper, crisper, a touch less smooth in its ride, but still fundamentally refined. It glides when you want it to but also fires itself at the horizon if you fancy a bit of that, too, with a lot of flexibility in between.
The steering is especially sweet, with light assistance but genuine feel, even if the entire system is digitally operated. Thank Porsche’s input for this, as well as some very fine tuning from Audi. And the range? Despite some hard driving and some light cruising, on our evidence it could get close to its claims in warmer weather. It’s some car, the e-tron GT. It proves that the way forwards isn’t just bright, it’s dazzling.
|Model:||Audi e-tron GT|
|Transmission:||Twin electric motors, four-wheel drive|
|Charging:||270kW (5-80% in 23mins)|