Audi's electric sport sedan is one of the most compelling products it makes.
I was recently discussing the state of the auto industry with friends, talking about how exciting it is to have my job as automakers shift to electrification and are starting to produce truly good EVs. One example I used was this E-Tron GT, a sleek electric sedan that's not just a great car, but easily my favorite recent Audi product.
The entry-level E-Tron GT has an electric motor at each axle putting out a total of 469 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels; power is boosted to 522 hp and 472 lb-ft with overboost enabled or when using launch control. The GT's Porsche twin, the Taycan 4S, has 40 fewer horses in normal driving but the same overboost figure. Audi says the E-Tron GT will hit 60 mph in 3.9, and it's more than quick enough both off the line in daily situations and when passing on the highway. Like the Porsche, the Audi uses a two-speed transmission that provides a unique EV driving experience and makes a cool sound when it shifts, but I wish the E-Tron's artificial "engine" sounds were more interesting.
Basically every modern EV has great acceleration stats, though, and luckily the E-Tron GT is great to drive overall. Air suspension is standard and provides a nice, supple ride with minimal body roll. My test car is equipped with the $6,000 performance package, which adds rear-wheel steering and torque vectoring along with a gloss black exterior trim, rad matrix LED headlights and other cosmetic bits. While its steering isn't as razor-sharp as the Taycan's, the E-Tron GT's electronic power steering is quick and direct, especially with the car in Dynamic mode. Even with these Pirelli Cinturato P7 all-season tires the E-Tron GT is very fun to take on a spirited run up a twisty road; it's the type of car I don't want to stop driving.
One area where the E-Tron GT is objectively superior to the Taycan is its range. The E-Tron GT has a 93.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack and is rated at 238 miles of range, while the standard Taycan 4S uses a 79.2-kWh pack and has 199 miles of range. The Porsche is available with the same larger pack as the Audi for $5,570, but that model still trails the E-Tron GT's range by 11 miles. Both cars have minimal regenerative braking, which is disappointing. While the E-Tron GT's brakes are plenty strong I wish it had a true one-pedal drive mode, something I've come to enjoy even for sporty driving.
It's taken me a while to warm up to the E-Tron GT's design, and the Tactical Green paint on this test car really helps. The metallic shade ranges from looking olive green to baby puke yellow depending on the light, and it suits the sharp lines of the GT. I would personally spec the $350 body-color grille insert, which helps break up the blackness of the cluttered front bumper styling. I'd go for the larger 21-inch wheels for $2,000 too, as they better fill out the wheel arches. But even in a boring color with small wheels the E-Tron GT has a lot of road presence, and that's what matters.
The E-Tron GT's interior is less successful to my eyes, at least in terms of how it looks. The angular design has some cool elements to it, but overall it looks jumbled together, like where the dashboard air vents line up with the door handles. (The design of the edges of the dash make it prone to smacking your knee against, too.) It doesn't help that this GT had an all-black interior with matte carbon-fiber trim; the optional red, brown or even light gray leather would make a big difference. The GT has a frunk but it's pretty small, and the sedan trunk's opening is shallow and annoying to load a suitcase into.
But as with every modern Audi the fit and finish is fantastic and all of the trim pieces feel high-end. This GT has the $4,000 Full Leather Interior package, which adds leather to more surfaces along with some microsuede panels, perforated Nappa leather seats with honeycomb stitching, 18-way front sport seats with ventilation and massage functions to the front seats, and a perforated flat-bottom leather steering wheel in place of the standard Alcantara wheel.
I'm glad the GT ditches the dual-screen infotainment setup found in the E-Tron SUV in favor of a single 10.1-inch screen, with physical climate controls on the dashboard below. Some of those toggle switches are unmarked tied to a small display screen for the HVAC system, which makes them a little annoying to understand. The E-Tron GT's MMI infotainment is otherwise slick and easy to use, with nice haptic feedback and crisp graphics. Audi's 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display remains one of the best on the market, though I wish it was a little more configurable.
The E-Tron GT starts at $103,895 including a $1,495 destination charge, undercutting the Taycan 4S by $4,055 -- and that's before adding the larger battery pack to the Porsche. This E-Tron GT is the $7,200 pricier Prestige trim level, which adds adaptive cruise control, ambient lighting, heated rear seats, a head-up display and an excellent Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system. All in this lean green machine is $121,690, still around $20,000 cheaper than the more powerful RS E-Tron GT, and it feels every bit worth the price.
With its combination of style, performance and quality I think the E-Tron GT is the most compelling product Audi makes. It's also a preview for the future of the brand, with Audi and Porsche getting ready to debut the first production vehicles on the jointly developed PPE platform as soon as later this year. With the E-Tron GT as good as it is, I can't wait to drive what comes next.