2021 Audi E-tron GT First Review

Ingolstadt’s take on the Porsche Taycan combines striking looks with a high-class interior and never feels short of pace.

The new Audi E-tron GT Quattro shares a lot of underpinnings with the Porsche Taycan. You may already know this. Just how different can it feel to the Taycan, a car we like a great deal?  It certainly has its own distinct appearance. This striking four-door saloon is the E-tron GT Quattro. On Audi’s numerical power output scale it’s a ‘60’, though it doesn’t appear to be badged as such anywhere but on Audi’s online configurator. There is a faster version too.

Whatever its power it’s a big five-seater, at 4.99m long the same length as an Audi A6 but wider and much lower. Which, to my eyes, makes it look rather spectacular.

The underpinnings are the telling thing, though, and they’re Volkswagen Group’s J1 platform, which is also beneath the Porsche Taycan. As in, they’re really, really the same as the Porsche Taycan, down to wheelbase, battery size, motor positions and some outputs. There’s much more shared than most internally combusted cars from different brands on the same platform.

As with the Porsche, then, there’s a 93.4kWh total capacity battery with a 83.7kWh usable section, making a 480km range. One motor at the rear, another at the front, four-wheel drive and a two-speed gearbox for the rear only, which is rarely used (launch control and the most dynamic modes only).

The front motor has a 175kW max output while the rear motor makes a maximum of 320kW, but you can’t just add those to get the combined output. It never reaches them together, and then it only makes its maximum power for 2.5sec during a launch control start.

So the short of it is that it makes 350kW, or 390kW for a couple of seconds in specific conditions. That puts this 60 at the same output as a Taycan 4S.

Anyway enough numbers for now. (There will be more later, I’m afraid.) Open the GT’s frameless doors and you’ll find an interior rich on material quality and Audi design. No hint that you’re in any other brand than an Audi in here. This is one of the things that the VW Group does well, which is why, I suppose, we perceive that an Audi is a classier car than a Skoda even though so many of the mechanicals are the same.

It’s stylish, and despite the rakish roofline pretty spacious in the front with good enough head room, and adequate head room in the rear. Even though the floor is what’s filled with batteries there’s still a big centre console, aping a transmission tunnel, but that helps generate the individual cockpit sort of feel that’s probably right for this kind of driver’s car. There are a good many physical buttons too, which helps, though I did like the old rotary dial of Audi’s multimedia interface – still there to supplement a touchscreen it’d be bang on, but I don’t want to grumble about a car that retains so many physical buttons.

One of them changes the drive modes, which adjust comfort and steering weight but the general character of the E-tron GT remains the same. And Audi has set it apart from the Porsche.

Not in terms of performance, you understand. There’s not a lot they can do about that. A motor makes its motory power and although there’s noise augmentation, the sci-fi whoosh isn’t enough to separate the Audi and Porsche apart. As with the Taycan, it’s very fast – and there’s not a real-world scenario in which the 60 car’s 4.1sec-to-100km/h standing start acceleration would feel like a poor relation to the RS E-tron GT’s 3.3sec.

Power is delivered impeccably smoothly and quietly. And on the rare occasions the car does select first on the rear gear (standing start or at low speeds in its more dynamic modes), you’ll be pushed to tell.

You can pull a left steering-wheel paddle to increase throttle-off retardation, though it never gets anywhere near one-pedal driving. I’d like the option of greater braking on lift-off, even though I like the current default, which is to be able to coast or sail so it feels like an automatic internally combusted car.

I think Audi has worked to make the rest of the dymamics feel as ICE-Audi-ish and un-weird as possible too, for those coming to the E-tron GT from another Audi. And here’s where those initial fears about character have been allayed. Although who would be more fearful: Porsche that their car felt like an Audi, or Audi that theirs felt like a Porsche? Probably Porsche.

Anyway, the way in which the E-tron GT steers could only be from Audi. It has a lightness off of straight-ahead, a real directness early on, and a remoteness that the Taycan avoids that just goes to show they must mean to make all Audis like that on purpose.

In this 60 or RS form there’s an underlying firmness to it, although this car wore RS-sized 21in wheels with 265/30 and 305/30 tyres, which would explain that. There’s good composure but more body looseness than a Taycan.

Maybe. Even in this more modest of its forms it’s engaging, and has a little more lightness to its steering, if not any more outright agility, than the RS – its kerb weight of 2276kg is lighter than the faster version. And it suits having slightly less aggressive dynamics.

But I liked both this model and the RS. As much as a Taycan? Pretty much, you know. Marginally less engaging to drive but I’d want to look at it a lot more and it feels special.

Those other numbers I promised? It can charge at up to 270kW on a DC charger, 11kW as standard (22kW optional) on AC. Neither of which is as quick as plugging it into a pump for three minutes, but you knew that.

Matt Prior

Final Verdict:
" "

Lamborghini’s CEO on the marque’s future plans

Stephan Winkelmann has taken over Lamborghini in a state of fine fettle. We hear how he'll push on

New Mercedes-AMG S 63 spied in minimal camouflage

AMG will soon launch a tuned version of Mercedes’s flagship limousine

Audi to launch final combustion car in 2026, report says

Audi CEO Markus Duessmann has reportedly decided on a date for the switchover to pure-EV powertrains

Related articles