The concept: sporty, comfortable, and sustainable
Following the Audi prologue design study that announced the new design language of the full-size class models in 2014, the e-tron GT represents the next evolutionary stage in the Audi design language. The exterior design of the all-electric gran turismo is an innovative synthesis of form and function, as is typical for Audi. It is the starting point for the design of future electric models from the brand, which will have a significantly more flowing design than today’s cars.
Sportiness and comfort – these are the two classic characteristics of a gran turismo. The design of the Audi e-tron GT develops this idea further and adds the new perspective of sustainability, which plays an important role especially in the context of electric mobility. The body line enables advanced aerodynamics. The drag coefficient of just 0.24 reduces energy consumption on long-distance journeys in particular, thereby increasing the range: In the Audi e-tron GT, efficiency arises from aesthetics – and vice versa.
These basic ideas of dynamism, confidence, and sustainability are also found in the interior of the e-tron GT. The instrument panel, which is turned toward the driver, rests within a spacious interior design that is characteristic for a gran turismo. Upon request, Audi offers a leather-free design package that consists mainly of recycled materials – a concept that will shape the understanding of luxury in the course of electric mobility even more strongly at Audi in the future.
Exterior design: dynamic sculpture with harmonious proportions
The fully electric gran turismo is a dynamic sculpture. It stands on the road as if molded from a full volume, sharp edges contrasting with athletically taut surfaces. Like Audi’s current models of the full-size class, the e-tron GT demonstrates that the proportions lay the foundation for good design and a strong presence: With a wheelbase of 2.90 m (9.5 ft), it measures 4.99 m (16.4 ft) in length. The four-door coupé is 1.96 m (6.4 ft) wide and just 1.41 m (4.6 ft) high, and its wheels have a diameter of between 19 and 21 inches. The track width is 1.69 m (5.5 ft) at the front and 1.66 m (5.4 ft) at the rear.
The packaging of an electric car with a large battery and the flat silhouette of a gran turismo need not be mutually exclusive, as is demonstrated by the e-tron GT. The key to this is a recess in the rear section of the battery pack: The rear passengers can put their feet in what is known as the foot garage, which allows them to sit in a lower position and enjoy generous headroom. The luggage compartment in the rear has a volume of 405 liters (14.3 cu ft) (the RS model with the standard Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System offers 350 liters (12.4 cu ft) of space). The storage compartment under the front hood offers another 81 liters (2.9 cu ft) of space.
Flat and powerful: the front section
The Singleframe on the expressively designed front of the e-tron GT is an indicator for the electric drive – the low-wide grille has an inverted color scheme. Its radiator grille, which reinterprets the classic honeycomb pattern, is available in light hekla gray for the first time at Audi and, optionally, as the body color – another first. A mask in dark Manhattan gray frames the sculptured three-dimensional grille and the lateral air inlets. The Singleframe is almost completely closed; the only open areas are in the lower of the six corners.
The technology packaging of the electric drive allows for a flat front end, thereby providing the driver with a fascinating view over the front end and directly onto the road. Strongly curved fenders frame the hood, thereby focusing the view.
Side view and rear: progressive, dynamic, and emotive
The side view makes the flow of the design particularly obvious. The elongated hood and flat windshield transition into a quickly sloping roofline. The graphics of the side windows are drawn upward in a wedge shape. The greenhouse extends low and taut over the powerful body, which is 17 millimeters (0.1 in) lower than on the Audi A7 Sportback. It is drawn in sharply toward the rear – the gently inclined C-pillars flow elegantly into the muscular shoulders of the body. The long, flat rear window ends in a black zone that holds a number of the vehicle antennas.
Sharp edges stretch across the large wheel arches that are drawn far to the outside – these quattro blisters symbolize the electric all-wheel drive. They are a stylistic feature of many Audi models, but nowhere else are they as strongly pronounced as here. The heavily contoured midsection of the car rests on a powerfully molded sill area. The inserts above the sill trims identify the battery pack as the car’s powerhouse – a design motif that the Audi e-tron GT has adopted from the Audi e-tron electric SUV and further refined.
The diffuser at the rear gives the e-tron GT a characteristically sharp look, extending far upward and standing in clear visual contrast to the bumper. A flat light strip connects the lights to one another. The spoiler with the integrated spoiler lip runs parallel to it and rounds out the sporty look.
Great individuality: nine colors, different packages
The color palette of the Audi e-tron GT comprises nine colors. Apart from the plain color ibis white, these include the metallic or pearl effect colors Ascari blue, Daytona gray, floret silver, Kemora gray, mythos black, Suzuka gray, tactical green (new), and tango red. The Audi exclusive program from Audi Sport GmbH offers customized paint finishes.
Audi can provide two variants of the black styling package upon request. The first variant comprises the Singleframe, its mask, the area of the sills and door inserts, and the diffuser. The black styling package plus comes with the rings and badges in black gloss. The three carbon packages are even more exclusive, with the largest adding highlights on the air inlets, the door inserts, and the diffuser. Audi can also provide the housings of the exterior mirrors and the roof in carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) upon request. As standard, the roof is made of heat-insulating glass. Wafer-thin vapor-coated metal layers reflect long-wave infrared radiation, thereby preventing the interior from heating up.
Team work: aesthetics meet aerodynamics
The e-tron GT looks as if it were shaped by the wind – and it is. Its exterior design was developed in close collaboration between designers and aerodynamics engineers. The result is an excellent drag coefficient of 0.24. The frontal area measures 2.35 m2 (25.3 sq ft). In the course of development, Audi relied heavily on computer simulations, which took more than nine million working hours.
The aerodynamics concept starts with the air inlets on the front section. The exterior upright air curtains guide the air into the wheel arches such that the air flows close to the wheel, and is then released through the outlets at the end of the fender. For the 20- and 21-inch wheels, Audi offers versions with aero blades that cover the majority of the fender and thereby further improve the airflow. The blades are made of high-performance plastic, are only 2 to 3 millimeters (0.08–0.12 in) thick, and very light.
Active aerodynamics: two controllable inlets and an adjustable rear spoiler
There is one controllable cool air inlet (SKE) each behind the large ribs in the front mask and behind the openings in the Singleframe, which ensures active aerodynamics. In the interest of efficiency, its two slats remain closed as much as possible. During sporty driving and increased cooling air requirements, they open steplessly and separately from one another, thereby allowing air into the Y-shaped ducts. They guide some of the air to the front wheel arches to cool the brakes. The rest of the air flows to the radiator and the condenser of the air-conditioning system. The two controllable cool air inlets are thus part of thermal management.
The second major factor in the concept of active aerodynamics is the rear spoiler, which, depending on the speed, extends electrically in two positions. At a speed of 90 km/h (55.9 mph), it extends to the first position (Eco), and at 170 km/h (105.6 mph), it moves to the second position (Performance). The rear spoiler works together closely with the underbody that ends in a wide diffuser. This allows the air to flow cleanly off the rear end, and the lift that occurs at the rear axle at high speeds is almost fully compensated.
When the adaptive air suspension (standard in the RS model ) lowers the body, it increases this effect: The air flow and handling stability are improved even further. This is due in part to the fact that the trims under the rear axle are perfectly flush with the smooth underbody in this case. Spoilers and air dams upstream of the wheels channel the air flow. The bolting points of the cover plate under the high-voltage battery come with bowl-shaped indentations, similar to the dimples on a golf ball. This allows the air to flow even more easily than over a totally flat surface.
Intelligent solutions for details complete the aerodynamics concept. The flat slant of the windshield ensures that rainwater flows off via the roof instead of off a special strip at the side as usual. The airflow around the exterior mirrors is carefully adjusted all the way to the rear of the vehicle, and small edges on the rear lights help the air to flow cleanly off the vehicle. The e-tron GT is also top-class when it comes to aeroacoustics. Its windshield is made of noise-insulating glass as standard, and the side windows and rear window are available with this type of glass upon request. Dark privacy glazing for the rear is available as a further option.
The body-in-white: ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum
Targeted insulation measures throughout the entire body keep annoying noises out of the interior, and the electric motors are encapsulated separately. The body-in-white consists of 13.4 percent parts made of hot-formed and therefore ultra-high-strength steel. They form the strong backbone of the occupant cell: This material is used for the A- and B-pillars, the roof rails, the center tunnel and four cross members; the two cross members at the bulkhead are designed as pipes with different cross sections. The body-in-white is already very light, and the optional CFRP roof saves another 12 kilograms (26.5 lb) in weight at the highest point of the car. It thereby moves the already low center of gravity to an even lower position.
Aluminum makes up 60.5 percent of the material used for the body-in-white. The front strut domes and parts of the rear wheel arches are made of cast aluminum. The front and rear longitudinal members, rear cross member and crash barriers in the doors and sills – each comprising seven chambers – are all made from extruded sections. The outer skin is made entirely of aluminum sheets. Audi truly pulls out all the stops during the production of its complex geometries. For example, the side panel frame has an extreme drawing depth of 35 centimeters between the lowest and the highest points.
All terms marked in the text are explained in detail in the technology lexicon at www.audi-mediacenter.com/en/technology-lexicon. The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.