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Actor Robert Downey Jr. and Audi Head of Design Marc Lichte
Concept vehicle shown.
The forward-thinking Audi e-tron® GT concept vehicle plays the hero at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.
drive
It’s fair to say that when you lead with Robert Downey Jr. and the Head of Design at Audi AG, you know there’s something amazing to follow. Such as it was for the reveal of the Audi e-tron® GT concept vehicle at the LA Auto Show’s Automobility LA 2018.
Audi President Mark Del Rosso introduced a clip of the actor and Marc Lichte driving around downtown Los Angeles the night before in the concept vehicle, calling it “a new supercar for Super Heroes.”
It was a heady reminder that when “Iron Man” kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008—10 years and 21 films ago—it also kicked off the relationship between Audi and Marvel. Downey’s character, Tony Stark, drove one of the first Audi R8s in America in the film.
That relationship has come full circle, with Downey teasing that the e-tron GT concept—a stunner of a Gran Turismo that’s innovative and dynamic enough to be a hero in its own right—will make an appearance in the much-anticipated Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame.”
After the short clip, Lichte came to the auto show stage to point out exactly what makes the e-tron GT concept such a marvel—starting with the super-low center of gravity of the vehicle, two inches lower than the streamlined design icon Audi A7, a flat-floor design more reminiscent of the Audi R8.
In other words, it has the design touches of a classic grand tourer: flat and wide, with a long wheelbase.
“This is a four-door super sports car, all-electric,” Lichte said. “I’ve never gotten a chance to do a car like this. The architecture of a vehicle like this—it’s a new kind of design language for us, yet something in our DNA.”
POWER PACKS A PUNCH
The aerodynamic design helps make the power output possible. And while the power numbers of a concept vehicle can be dizzying—when you get lost in the possibilities of engineering theory rather than road readiness—the e-tron GT concept is more impressive because it’s a concept nearing production. Lichte said the first production model will be available most likely in 2021.
With that in mind, the power numbers were mind-bending. With a system designed to go 0–62 mph at an estimated but unconfirmed 3.5 seconds, the e-tron GT concept redefines “grand touring” when everything goes by at a blur. That kind of punch is in no small part due to the way its all-electric power is distributed: through a dual motor all-wheel drive with torque vectoring along with all-wheel steering that both commands the road and helps you handle almost anything that comes your way.
THE INTERIOR LIFE
Maybe the most surprising thing about the e-tron GT concept is its alter ego. It’s an everyday car in disguise.
The lack of a combustion engine, the flat-floor design and the overall spacious dimensions of a grand tourer afford a lot of interior space. In fact, the e-tron GT concept seats four and offers ample luggage space: 15.9 cubic feet of space in back, with 3.5 cubic feet in the front trunk.
THE E-TRON GT CONCEPT VEHICLE COMES WITH A VEGAN INTERIOR.
More than that, in the concept version at least, animal-based products are not used at all: The More than that, in the concept version at least, animal-based products are not used at all: The e-tron® GT concept comes with a vegan interior. Sophisticated, synthetic leather is used on the seats and other trim surfaces, and fabrics made from recycled fibers are used on the seat cushions as well as the armrests and the center console. Microfiber material adorns the headlining and the trim of the window pillars. Even the deep-pile floor carpet is made from ECONYL® yarn, a regenerated fiber made from fishing nets and other discarded nylons. Those are the kind of touches that might make you mistake it for something else.
Audi President Mark Del Rosso
UNMASKING DESIGN
Until, of course, you look at it from the outside. That’s when you notice that the gently sloping Roof line of the e-tron GT concept extends into the rear and echoes the Sportback shape that is the brand’s hallmark. The cabin tapers strongly toward the rear, standing out when compared with current Audi vehicles. Wheel arches and shoulders are sculpted emphatically to visually underline the low center of gravity and dynamic potential of the Audi e-tron GT concept. These broad lines and the numerous functional elements of the body as well as the air vents of the wheel arches and the solid rear diffuser provide the low drag coefficient that is designed to reduce power consumption, while the contoured aerodynamics visually characterize the design.
There’s still the hallmark Audi Singleframe® grille located in the center of the front section. Compared with the Audi e-tron SUV, its architecture looks much more horizontal.
FLYING AWAY— ON ELECTRIC RANGE
The range of the concept car will be over 248 miles, as determined by the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The required drive energy comes from a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of more than 90 kWh, which fills the entire underfloor area between the front and rear axles.
That kind of power needs a new kind of recharging. That’s why the battery in the Audi e-tron® GT concept can be charged in multiple ways: using a cable connected behind the flap in the left or right front wing or via Audi Wireless Charging. A charging pad with an integral coil can be installed on the floor and connected to a power supply. With a charging output of 11 kW, the Audi e-tron GT concept can be freshly charged overnight.
Like the concept vehicle, the production model will by fitted with an 800 volt charging system, far above the current 240 volt standard. This will enable the vehicle to recharge 80 percent of its battery capacity in about 20 minutes, providing an estimated 200 miles of range. It can, of course, still be recharged at lower voltages as well, allowing access to charging networks nationwide.
PART OF THE NEXT SUPER-TEAM
With the world premiere of the all-electric Audi e-tron SUV in September 2018, we made a commitment to delivering the most dynamic electric vehicles available. The e-tron GT concept represents the next evolution in the power and performance that drivers expect from the Four Rings. By 2025, Audi plans on offering twelve models with all-electric drive, which we hope will provide roughly one-third of our sales, with a lineup that will include sedans, sportbacks and SUVs.
Over the next few years, e-tron—with the e-tron GT concept at its core—will provide an all-electric suite of vehicles that will give everyone the opportunity to marvel at the innovations and performance that have always been the hallmarks of our brand.
Concept vehicle shown.