Speaking at the recent Los Angeles motor show, Seebach confirmed that the E-tron GT – revealed in concept form at last year’s LA show and later driven by Autocar – will be offered with the same three powertrain choices as traditional Audi models, such as the A6, S6 and RS6.
The concept E-tron GT featured a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive electric powertrain making 582bhp and around 600lb ft. A 96kWh battery gave a claimed range of 250 miles, with 0-62mph quoted in 3.5sec. The production version, which will make its debut at next year’s LA motor show, will share its J1 electrical architecture with the Taycan, but it’s not clear if the Porsche’s three-variant lineup, comprised of the 523bhp 4S, the 670bhp Turbo and 751bhp Turbo S, will transfer over with identical specs.
More likely is that the base E-tron GT will start at a lower output, and therefore a lower price point, than the base Taycan. Both cars will use the same 800V electrical architecture, however, and weigh about the same. Expect standard and S models at launch, with the RS arriving slightly later.
Seebach also confirmed that, as Autocar first reported in September, plug-in hybrids are formally under development by Audi Sport’s engineers. The powertrains will be introduced on the next generation of RS models, and it is understood that the first Audi RS model to be offered as a PHEV will be the next-generation RS4.
That car will compete head to head with the next Mercedes-AMG C63, which, as confirmed in October, will ditch the current car’s V8 in favour of a 500bhp-plus plug-in hybrid four-cylinder powertrain. It will also be four-wheel drive, challenging Audi Sport’s long-established quattro system when it arrives in early 2022. Expect the new RS4 to arrive slightly later, given that the current model only went on sale last year.
Speaking separately at the LA motor show, Audi’s exterior design boss Andreas Mindt said his team is “absolutely” considering introducing the RS branding into the E-tron Sportback SUV for an ultra-fast variant aimed at the upcoming Tesla Model Y Performance.
Discussing the potential for an RS E-tron Sportback, Mindt said: “It’s very similar to what you see with the RS Q8. You have to start with the standard car and build it up.”
Such a model would carry over the classic RS design principles of big wheels and an aggressive bodykit to help differentiate, while changes to the chassis and steering will also be introduced. In a theoretical sense it’s relatively easy to turn up the wick for the electric motors, which in the standard E-tron Sportback together put out 402bhp in the most powerful Boost mode. One possibility already hinted at is the introduction of a third electric motor, which would not only significantly increase peak outputs but also allow torque to be apportioned across each individual rear wheel for more neutral handling qualities.