Why would I buy it?
- Practical, zero-emission grand tourer
- Punch in the gut acceleration
- Spiritual successor to R8
Why would I avoid it?
- Charging infrastructure restricts GT’s credential
- Tight cabin space, parts sharing with other Audi models
- Exorbitant price tag
After driving the AudiE-Tron GT, there’s a new entry on my bucket list – traversing cross-country across the European continent in the Audi E-Tron GT. It’s got a GT in its name after all and a proper grand tourer it is. The E-Tron GT is comfortable, fast, futuristic, and unpredictably practical as well. With a claimed range of 500km, a big battery pack, and superlative electronic wizardry, the Audi E-Tron GT can be a daily runabout as easily as a mile muncher. It’s no Italian thoroughbred, but it need not be because the E-Tron GT is leagues ahead in the future.
Engine and Performance
9 / 10
What we have here is not the top-tier E-Tron GT, there’s a 645bhp RS version available for quite a lot more money. Who would find 523 horsepower (in boost mode) and 630Nm something to scoff at? Or decree its 0-100kmph time of 4.1 seconds to be slow. The two motors on both axles are fed through a 93kWh battery pack. We can talk about how it can warp speed and bend the time-space continuum with a dab of right foot, but instead, we look at the E-Tron GT for what it is – a grand tourer.
When it’s ready to roll, artificial noises emanate from the E-Tron GT’s speakers to make up for the lack of mechanical sound. On the move, this GT is smooth, undramatic, and progressive. However, when launching the E-Tron off the mark in boost mode, all of the 534 horsepowers is put down to the tarmac and the GT launches into the horizon with an eerie silence, while your internals are courteously rearranged.
Unique to the E-Tron GT is the two-speed transmission for the rear-axle motor – a lower gear for slow speed drives, and a higher gear for higher speeds. And you can feel the transmission shift when hurriedly barreling down a smooth piece of tarmac. Behind the wheel, the GT is sufficiently quick yet comfortable for everyday drivability. Yet it isn’t intimidating or scary when pushed a little. All of the usable power is channelled to the road quite intelligently and though you’d sometimes feel the wheel spin under acceleration, it’s always under control, helped by traction sent to all four wheels, courtesy of e-quattro.
What’s more, when braking, it’s the electric motors that work more than actual brakes to decelerate recuperating energy in the process. Meanwhile, the paddle shifters behind the steering are for brake energy regeneration, which cannot be manually controlled. That said, it is reassuring to know there’s good braking prowess to keep things under control when pushing the E-Tron GT.
Ride and Handling
8.5 / 10
Apart from its powertrain, the ride and handling are what make any car a great grand tourer. Here, in the E-Tron GT, the former is taken care of by air suspension and the latter with the four-wheel steering. The E-Tron GT is a large car but remarkably doesn’t feel like it from behind the wheel. It’s easy to manoeuvre, even taking tight U-turns on single-lane roads is never a problem. When on the move, the GT wraps around you so well. The low centre of gravity and near 50:50 weight distribution make the E-Tron GT agile and well balanced when driven on twisties. There is a button to adjust the ride height, but the difference in ride height isn’t significant, thus hardly affecting the ride.
Even for quick direction changes, it feels planted and the responsive steering further helps in adding confidence to push its limits. The steering has varying weight (mostly artificial) depending on the mode, but regardless, it remains quick and direct. As for the ride, the air suspensions both fore and aft manage to glide over the gritty concrete surface without sending jolts inside the cabin. Even the sharp-edged creases, broken tarmac, or rutty surfaces are rounded off well with only an occasional thud sent inside; after all, it's riding on 20-inch wheels. That said, behind the wheel of the GT, we’d surely be avoiding broken roads and large speed breakers, owing to its low ground clearance.
Interior Space and Quality
7.5 / 10
In terms of looks, the E-Tron GT is nothing short of gorgeous with its flared rear haunches and striking proportions; indeed a spiritual successor to the R8. However, due to the low-slung ergonomics, it’s an effort to get inside the E-Tron GT. But once inside, the cabin fits like a glove. You sit surprisingly low and the road feels quite nearer – it’s like sitting atop a torpedo. The visibility around is tight, especially at the back. As for the cabin, it’s not very spacious either but it is high on ergonomics and built quality.
Even the sport bucket seats hug you right and tight quite comfortably, so spending long hours here shouldn’t be tiresome. The centre console, though, could have been a bit more aesthetical – it’s quite boring to look at, with two cupholders and a large slot which cannot store anything more useful than a card or a parking slip. There’s a touchscreen tilted towards the driver and an all-digital instrument cluster that’s shared across all the modern-day Audis. Even the steering wheel and its controls are quite familiar with other Four Rings, so the cabin still feels as conventional as it can get.
In the back seats, things are surprisingly better than I initially imagined – it’s best used for two, and taller passengers would struggle with space. However, there’s a good amount of head and knee space for my frame (I am 170cm), and I won’t mind spending four to five hours in the back seats at a stretch. Lastly, at 405litre, the boot is fairly large and more usable than what you’d expect from this road missile that can disappear into the horizon before you can say ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’.
Features and Equipment
7.5 / 10
The E-Tron GT is laden with flagship-level equipment. There are Matrix headlamps, an active rear spoiler, charging ports on both sides, a panoramic sunroof (optional, instead of a carbon fibre roof), and 20-inch aero wheels. On the inside, the bucket seats get both a cooling and heating function, three-zone climate control with an air quality package, 30-colour ambient lighting, and Audi’s phonebox feature seen on the Q5. On the centre console, there’s a 10.1-inch touchscreen with the latest MMI interface and modern-day connectivity and comes paired with 710kW, 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. It also gets a 360-degree camera with a park assist function.
The 800-volt battery pack has a charging capacity of up to 270kW DC, which can get the charge from five to 80 per cent in just 22 minutes. For conventional charging, the 11kW or 22kW AC charging will take around 9.30 hours for the same amount of charging. There are currently five Audi-owned charging points in and around the Mumbai area. But you can also charge the E-Tron at any other charging station, and use the Audi connected app to find locations for charging points.
If we take a look at the widely accepted term for a grand tourer, it means motoring at speed, in style, safety, and comfort. So, the AudiE-Tron GT is a proper grand tourer ticking all the boxes. Its electric nature becomes quite secondary compared to its GT credentials. Under everyday driving conditions, the E-Tron GT is docile, functional, and as practical as any other conventionally-powered super sedan.
Yet it is incredibly fun, surreally quick, and can as easily cover grounds across continents as it can look pretty in your driveway. At Rs 1.80 crore, the E-Tron GT is a futuristic alternative to the BMW M5, Porsche 911, Maserati Quattroporte, and Mercedes-AMG E63, to name a few.
Pictures by Kapil Angane