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Audi’s Electric Sports Car: The 2021 e-tron GT Previewed

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Auto123 put on the racing gloves and attended a virtual presentation of the 2021 Audi e-tron GT.

Last week, journalists took part in not one, but two virtual presentations spotlighting Audi's first electric sports car, set to hit the market next summer. Part of the fledgling e-tron family of products, the Audi e-tron GT was, you may recall, first presented as a concept in 2018.

During the two media presentations last week, the production model was on hand but camouflaged. Which hid some details but didn’t prevent us from noting a clear resemblance to the prototype of two years ago. The folks at Audi explained, meanwhile, that the GT will be built at the same plant as the R8.

Borrowed from Porsche
We also know that the e-tron GT will borrow from the Porsche Taycan its 800-volt fast-charging architecture, battery technology and other elements of its engineering pedigree.

The similarities pretty much end there, however. Audi has promised a vehicle with a unique look inside and out, and a completely different sound. In fact, the second virtual workshop was entirely dedicated to sound.

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2021 Audi e-tron GT, profile
Photo: Audi
2021 Audi e-tron GT, profile

A distinctive symphony
Sound? Yes. An independent design team worked to give the e-tron GT a distinct auditory signature. A team of acousticians explained to us the long process of finding the right sound. Audi had actually already worked with sound enhancement systems in some models such as the TT, but creating a wholly new sound is quite different. The team built a progressive electronic sound in the lab based on customer suggestions. In the end the e-tron GT's auditory signature consists of a combination of 32 different sounds (including a cordless screwdriver and a model helicopter).

Audi even added that the sound will vary a little from one region of the world to another to take into account certain geographical realities. The sound will also adapt to the speed of the car, and it will kick in earlier in Europe (at about 20 km/h) and later in America (at about 30 km/h).

If that’s not enough, customers will be able to add an optional sound package that adds a second large speaker to the rear of the vehicle, working in concert with two speakers inside the cabin at the rear doors. In Efficiency mode, the car is silent except for the pedestrian warning sound. In Comfort mode, the rear exterior speaker is added. In Dynamic mode, the outside sounds are louder and the sound of the passenger compartment is enhanced.

2021 Audi e-tron GT, three-quarters rear
Photo: Audi
2021 Audi e-tron GT, three-quarters rear

Familiar interior
Digital instrumentation dominates in the cabin, just like in the e-tron SUV. The instrument cluster is divided into two screens, one for navigation and infotainment and the other for the climate control system.

Power is provided by two electric motors, one one the front axle and one on the rear. Together they deliver 590 horsepower, and take you to 100 km/h in only 3.5 seconds and to 200 km/h in 12 seconds. Top speed is limited to 240 km / h.

There are also regenerative braking modes that work in stand-alone mode or via paddle shifters on the steering wheel. According to Audi, they recover 30% of the energy used in braking and rout it back into the battery.

2021 Audi e-tron GT, from above
Photo: Audi
2021 Audi e-tron GT, from above

Speaking of batteries
Installed under the floor of the cabin between the front and rear axles, the lithium-ion battery that powers the Audi e-tron GT has a capacity of 90 kWh and delivers 400 km of range in the European WLTP cycle, which means approximately 330 to 350 km in North America. In addition to a charging cable that allows for 800-volt charging with 80-percent energy recovery in 20 minutes, it will also be possible to recharge by induction thanks to the Audi Wireless Charging device, at a capacity of up to 11 kW.

Audi's e-tron GT is scheduled to arrive in the summer of 2021, but take note it will be in very small quantities. It's too early to talk about pricing, but it’s unlikely buyers will find anything in the product offer listed below $125,000.

2021 Audi e-tron GT, front grille
Photo: Audi
2021 Audi e-tron GT, front grille
2021 Audi e-tron GT, rear light
Photo: Audi
2021 Audi e-tron GT, rear light
Audi e-tron GT concept, three-quarters front
Photo: Audi
Audi e-tron GT concept, three-quarters front
Audi e-tron GT concept, three-quarters rear
Photo: Audi
Audi e-tron GT concept, three-quarters rear
Audi e-tron GT concept, interior
Photo: Audi
Audi e-tron GT concept, interior