WORLD PREMIERE: Audi e-tron GT Concept — Move Over, Tesla

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When Audi first debuted the e-tron SUV a few months ago in San Francisco, we were very impressed. As was the rest of the automotive world. It’s the first-ever fully-electric production car that Audi has ever produced and it’s a helluva first attempt. But one of the more interesting takeaways we had from that event was that Audi had yet another electric car in the pipeline, one that was promised to be even more impressive and it was said to be coming soon. Well, it’s here and it’s much more impressive than the e-tron SUV. It’s the Audi e-tron GT Concept.

The Audi e-tron GT Concept is an all-electric four-door coupe and it will be making its official public debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show later today. If you recognize its shape, it’s because it wears a similar “Sportback” body style as the Audi A7, which is no bad thing. The A7 is a great looking car. But we actually think this e-tron GT is even better looking. In fact, it might be the best looking electric car when it hits the road next year. While it is a concept car, it’s very close to being production-ready. So most of what you see will translate directly to the road.

Along with its Sportback body style, it also gets a new face, with a unique grille and headlight design not seen on any other Audi, not even the e-tron SUV. Its Singleframe Grille is still hexagonal but it’s wider and features a sort of two-tier design, with the top half being closed off and painted and the bottom half being a functional grille. Despite most electric cars not having functional front grilles (Teslas), the e-tron GT’s are functional, as are those on the e-tron SUV, and they’re there to allow for better brake and battery cooling. Because of Audi’s advanced cooling techniques, the Audi e-tron SUV’s battery and powertrain run cooler for longer than any other EV on the road. The same will go for the e-tron GT.

Out back, the Audi e-tron GT Concept is genuinely pretty, especially when you look at it directly from behind. Those massive rear haunches are beautiful, the way they crest over the rear wheels and wrap around the back end of the car. It’s a great looking design and far more muscular and emotional than any other EV of the sort.

That color is also interesting. Audi calls it “Kinetic Dust”. In some lights it looks grey, while in others it has hues of bronzes and browns. According to Audi, it’s designed to look like titanium. That paint is accented by matte titanium-finish trim pieces, such as the surrounding window trim, to contrast the metallic paint.

Inside, the e-tron GT Concept might have the coolest cabin we’ve seen from an Audi in a very long time. There are hints of Porsche inside (which isn’t a surprise when you consider that the two brands collaborated for this chassis), as well as the Audi PB18 e-tron Concept. The seats look fantastic, with thick, sporty bolsters, and the seat fabric is even made from recycled materials. In fact, the entire interior is made from recycled materials and is actually vegan, as all of the “leather” inside is synthetic.

I think what I love most about the interior is that it looks high-tech and futuristic but also completely usable right now. It doesn’t look like a far-out concept, where you can easily pinpoint features that won’t exist on the production version. This interior looks like it could ship to dealers today. It gets its own version of Audi’s new Touch Response MMI system and a Virtual Cockpit that’s unique to it. I also like the oddly shaped steering wheel, which looks like a futuristic version of the one found on current Audis.

However, It’s what’s under the skin that’s most exciting. The Audi e-tron GT Concept is built on the same underpinnings as the Porsche Taycan and both brands have worked together on the technology behind the e-tron GT.

Two electric motors put power to the wheels, one at each axle, providing real-time Quattro all-wheel drive. Electric Quattro, of course, as there’s no physical connection between the two axles. One part of the e-tron GT’s press release that we liked seeing was that the all-wheel drive system in the car was designed to provide optimum traction and “just the desired amount of slip”. Sounds like fun.

Together, those permanently excited synchronous motors make a whopping 590 hp. That’s enough to get the Audi e-tron GT Concept from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, according to the folks in Ingolstadt, and to 124 mph in just over 12 seconds. It also has a top speed of 149.1 mph, which is an incredibly specific top speed. All while having a total range of 248 miles.

One of the advantages of the Audi e-tron GT over its competition from brands such as Tesla is its ability to nail those performance figures over and over again, without needing to cool down in between each run. Also, it doesn’t need to be put into a special mode, have the computers check battery levels and temperatures and prep the battery first. You just ready yourself and put your foot down. This is again thanks to Audi’s advanced cooling techniques.

The e-tron GT also gets the same energy recuperation systems as the e-tron SUV. So it has three stages of regenerative braking that can be selected by the driver and all braking up to 0.3 g is handle by regen and not the physical brakes.

Much like Porsche’s claims with the Taycan, the Audi e-tron GT is capable of 800-volt charging. At 800-volts, the e-tron GT’s battery can charge up to 80-percent in just 20 minutes. So you can stop, charge, go to the bathroom, get a cup of coffee and hit the road. Nice and easy. Of course, 800-volt charging infrastructure isn’t really here yet but when it is, the e-tron GT is already capable of taking advantage.

Next year is going to be a very exciting one for Audi and its fans. In fact, it’s going to be a very exciting year for any customer looking for an electric car. Come 2019, the four-ringed brand will have to fully-electric vehicles on the road. First it was the e-tron SUV. Now, the Audi e-tron GT.