Few legacy automotive brands have embraced electrification as wholeheartedly as Audi. Not only has it publicly declared that it has effectively ended all development of its internal combustion engines, the German brand is in the midst of a BEV launch offensive as it tries to gain a decisive market advantage ahead of premium rivals.
Audi’s ambitions started modestly enough with plug-in hybrid versions of its existing model line-up, but it really signalled its intent with the Audi E-tron SUV in 2018, which was designed from the ground up to be an EV from the outset. It has since been joined by the smaller Audi Q4 E-tron crossover and, most interestingly of all, by the E-tron GT tested here.
Why interestingly? Well, like its other all-electric siblings, the E-tron GT shares its underpinnings with other EVs in the wider VW family, it’s just in this case the donor car is the groundbreaking Porsche Taycan. However, despite being very closely related (you only need look at the glasshouses and proportions of both to understand their monozygotic birth), Audi claims its take on the fast flagship saloon is very different and, as the name on the tin suggests, its car plays the elegant grand tourer to the Taycan’s sharper-edged sportster.
Given the near-silent, easy-going nature of EVs, it could be argued that this approach could be even more successful than the already five-star Porsche’s - the mix of hushed refinement, elegant style and extended range (nearly 300 miles is claimed) making the E-tron the ultimate expression of the EV art.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have teeth. The top-of-the-range Audi RS E-tron GT steals the headlines with its 637bhp output, but even this ‘entry-level’ model packs a maximum of 523bhp thanks to its two electric motors, promising performance that’s every bit as, ahem, electrifying as you’d expect.