Audi e-tron GT review - Engines, performance and drive
Blistering performance is guaranteed from any luxury EV, but the e-tron GT is fantastic to drive
Like most things that are new in the automotive world, EV tech is largely filtering down from the top. That means it’s typically the most expensive option in whichever class you’re shopping, and in the luxury saloon segment that means impressive driving characteristics are a prerequisite to match - or beat - existing flagship models. Audi’s 563bhp S8 saloon is a case in point, and the e-tron GT steps up to the mark with a ride and handling set-up that is truly impressive - at least on the air-suspended e-tron GT Vorsprung which is the only model we’ve yet sampled.
There are four selectable drive modes, with comfort being the best suited for UK roads. It’s pleasantly soft with an underlying firmness that feels very Audi-esque, while body roll is almost non-existent which means you rarely even have to contemplate switching to the sportier Dynamic mode. Doing so shifts the torque bias towards the rear wheels, which allows for rear-wheel drive style drifts on the track if you’re so minded, while the ride and steering firm up a little. Efficiency mode has a front-wheel drive bias, with slightly slower motor responses designed to maximise range, while the Individual mode can be personalised to taste.
The e-tron GT is a big heavy car at 2.2 tonnes, but positioning all the battery weight low down in the floor means it’s very well-balanced and not prone to roll. Like the Taycan there’s an impressive sense of poise when cornering, although the Audi’s softer suspension plus lighter steering means the Taycan feels considerably more agile.
Still, there’s a directness and precision to the e-tron GT’s steering that makes it easy to place the front end through corners, while remaining relaxed and unfussy on the motorway, a compromise which many drivers will doubtless prefer. The weight of the car is effectively masked by the air suspension over all but the most challenging bumps too, while the four-wheel steering of our Vorsprung test car reduces the turning circle to that of a family hatch.
Braking is handled by cast iron discs as standard, although carbon discs are optional, and there’s also a regenerative braking function from the twin electric motors which Audi calculates takes care of 30 percent of retardation in normal driving conditions. It’s useful, but the braking effect is relatively weak, and Audi hasn’t developed the system to the point where you can drive using just the accelerator pedal in stop-start traffic as you can in a Nissan Leaf.
For drivers who remain unmoved by the magic of electric propulsion, a Sound Package is available that creates digital engine noise inside the cabin and exhaust notes for the benefit of passers-by.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
In the e-tron GT quattro the front electric motor punts out 235bhp while the rear can muster 429bhp, but the car’s total maximum output is much less than the sum of its parts at 469bhp. Of course that’s still a mightily impressive figure, which accounts for the 4.1 second 0-62mph time in Dynamic mode with launch control assistance. In this lively set-up, the electronics make a total of 523bhp available for a maximum of 2.5 seconds.
In the RS the rear motor’s output is boosted to 450bhp, with 590bhp available in total - or 637bhp in boost mode, hence the 3.3 second 0-62mph time. The RS is flat-out at 155mph, while the standard e-tron quattro is not far behind at 152mph. As you’d expect from an EV there’s no requirement for changing gear, but in fact the rear motor on the e-tron does have an automatically-selecting two-speed transmission with a low ratio for maximum acceleration.
In this review
- 1Audi e-tron GT reviewSpectacular looks and performance, plus contemporary EV tech, make the Audi e-tron GT one of the most desirable luxury saloons around
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingBlistering performance is guaranteed from any luxury EV, but the e-tron GT is fantastic to drive
- 3Range, charging and running costsZero tailpipe emissions will save company drivers thousands, but the e-tron GT will be relatively expensive to charge and maintain
- 4Interior, design and technologyStunning exterior design is matched by a suitably high-tech interior, although it’s not as futuristic as you might have wished
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spacePassengers are cosseted in fine style, but this isn’t the most practical of large saloon cars
- 6Reliability and safetyThere are no question marks over safety, but reliability has yet to be proven