Audi e-tron GT Teased, RS Performance Variant To Follow

Audi’s Tesla Model S rival will be rolling off the German production line by the end of 2020. 

The e-tron EV lineup within Audi is set for yet another addition. This time however, it is not another electric SUV, like the e-tron or e-tron Sportback that kickstarted the Audi EV game. Instead, Audi has taken a leaf out of Porsche’s book and are taking aim at the Tesla Model S, with its new Audi e-tron GT. 

Teased ahead of its official debut later this year, the Audi e-tron GT will be Audi’s first foray into the performance EV fastback market. That said, as the e-tron GT was developed alongside the Porsche Taycan, there is no doubt that this Audi will be a serious thorn on Tesla’s side. 

Headlining the e-tron GT will probably be the claimed 0-100 km/h time of 3.5 seconds, made possible by twin electric motors that produce a combined 590 hp. Much like the Taycan too, the e-tron GT will be able to perform repeated acceleration runs thanks to a complex battery cooling system. To add to that, if 3.5 seconds seems a tad slow, there will even be an even more performance-oriented RS variant on the horizon for this EV fastback. 

Though as with most electric cars, driving the e-tron GT is to be a nearly silent affair. To that end, Audi is very proud to have developed the e-sound specifically for the e-tron GT. For customers who order the optional sound package, in addition to the statutory acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) played through the front speakers, the Ingolstadt automaker has added a rear speaker to emit the turbine-engine sounding noise you hear here. 

According to Audi, two control units continuously remix the artificial you hear above to based on speed and accelerator position, to perhaps mimic the tones and intensity internal combustion engines today. Different drive modes will also have subtly different sounds, in addition to allowing the driver to manually configure the intensity of the audio experience through the Audi Drive Select system. Two additional interior speakers are included within the interior to further ‘provide an emotional sound experience’. 

Speaking of the interior, not much is known yet as no interior shots were provided with the teaser. The exterior however is a different story, as despite the interesting orange dazzle camouflage, the look of the e-tron GT is analogous to a futuristic cyberpunk take on the current basic A7 four-door fastback design.

To be built alongside the R8 V10 in Audi’s Böllinger Höfe plant in Germany, production of this performance EV fastback is set to begin at the end of this year. Considering the Taycan is an unexpected sales success here, maybe the e-tron GT will find a following here too. If it ever arrives here that is. 

PRESS RELEASE: Passion for detail, maximum precision, and top quality: The new Audi e-tron GT reflects all the passion with which Audi develops and builds cars. For the production of the electrically powered Gran Turismo at Audi Böllinger Höfe at the Neckarsulm site, the company uses customized new technologies – however, the finishing touches are applied by highly skilled hands. And since the dynamic work of art must also sound good, Audi has brought musical flair and technical competence to bear in composing a unique sound for the e-tron GT. It sounds powerful and progressive – just as an Audi should. 

Production of the Audi e-tron GT

The Audi e-tron GT is the brand’s first fully electric car to be built in Germany. The Gran Turismo will start rolling off the production line at Audi Böllinger Höfe at the Neckarsulm site at the end of 2020. The small-series production facility has been expanded, upgraded, and converted for its new role. The skilled craftsmanship from the previous facility has been retained and is supplemented by digital processes and smart technologies. During the expansion, production planners made use of new virtual methods. The tests of the work procedures on the assembly line and the logistic processes were conducted in the virtual domain for the first time, with container planning also performed with the help of VR technology. Production of the e-tron GT was designed without physical prototypes – a first at Audi.

Large areas of the body of the all-electric Gran Turismo are constructed from ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum. To produce this material mix in the planned quantities, a body shop was established that combines the skilled craftsmanship of the employees with the full potential of automated production technology. It consists of an innovative body assembly line along which each body passes twice. It is constructed around what is called the two-way framer, in which ten robots are used to attach the inner and outer side panels. It combines all manufacturing steps involved in joining the sides in a single system – thus making production of the Audi e-tron GT possible on the existing floorspace.

The inline measuring procedure for the bodies is also new. It guarantees even greater accuracy and can respond very quickly to minute deviations. At the end of the body assembly line is where precise craftsmanship comes into play: Experienced workers fit the add-on parts and check the finish of the completed body. The expressive design of the Audi e-tron GT places unusually high demands on production quality – the side wall frame, for instance, has a remarkably large draw depth of 35 centimeters (13.8 in) between its highest and lowest point.

The expanded assembly line includes 36 instead of the previous 16 cycles. The e-tron GT shares it with the R8 – this integration of two technically completely different cars is unique in the Volkswagen Group. Both models are moved using the same driverless transport vehicles and an electrically powered monorail system. At one station of the line, humans and robots work side by side. A 3D printer is also on hand to produce customized assembly aids at the employees’ request. Once completed, every car is driven for 40 kilometers (24.9 mi) on public roads, which also includes sections on the highway and in urban traffic.

“With the integration of the Audi R8 and Audi e-tron GT, a unique combination of craftsmanship and smart factory technology is coming to life at Böllinger Höfe,” says Production Head Wolfgang Schanz in summary. “I am especially proud of the passion and spirit of our team.”

The e-sound of the Audi e-tron GT

Whether it’s quality, design or technical characteristics – the Audi e-tron GT is a car packed with all the passion of Audi. This also applies to the sound of the electrically powered Gran Turismo. Engineers Rudolf Halbmeir and Stephan Gsell conceived and designed the progressive electronic sound – on the computer, in the sound laboratory, inside the moving car, and in customer studies.

As with every electric car, the e-tron GT also features the statutory acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS), although embedded within a broader acoustic spectrum. A loudspeaker fitted in the front of the vehicle emits the AVAS sound. For customers ordering the optional sound package, a second, large loudspeaker is added in the rear. In parallel, two loudspeakers in the interior provide an emotional sound experience. Two control units continuously remix the e-tron GT sound based on variables such as speed or accelerator position. The Audi drive select system allows drivers to set whether and how intensively they wish to experience the sound.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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