Motoring editor Jeremy Taylor and sustainable fashion expert Jessica Saunders drive Audi’s electric grand tourer – the Audi E-tron GT quattro – on an extended six-month test. This piece is brought to you in partnership with rescuemycar.com.
Audi E-tron GT quattro
JS – So, let’s start with the very large elephant in the room. How can the GT be a grand tourer when it only travels 240 miles between charging stations? Not very vorsprung durch technik, as Audi like to say…
JT – I take the point and, as someone who famously ran out of electric power in a Jaguar i-Pace once, a subject close to your heart! This is going to be an interesting six month loan because, as brilliant as the E-tron GT is, everything is tempered by range – or lack of it.
It does. And we have to point out that, while every EV manufacturer claims an official range (296 miles in the case of the GT), none are actually capable of achieving that figure in the real world, the one that we and our readers actually inhabit.
We do have a home charger but, without that, driving up and down to London on a regular 198-mile return journey would leave the Audi’s 93.4kWh batteries close to exhaustion. Let’s see how it copes over the cold winter months, when demand on the battery is even greater.
The GT looks like a fabulous car, though. Stylish and unquestionably sleek. Our test car is a not insubstantial £90,380 and the leather-free version, with fabric seats. You could argue that, as leather is a by-product of the meat industry, it is also sustainable – but that’s an argument for another day.
And is the GT a coupe or a saloon? Probably a four-door coupe. Very much aimed at the executive and, although a little tight on leg and headroom room in the rear, super spacious.
I especially like the fact it’s not trying to be a sports car, although the Audi is exceptionally fast when called upon to perform.
It certainly is! Most of the time, it drives like a sensible saloon: silent and refined. Find a twisty road and the GT really comes to life; 0–62mph in just 4.1 seconds. And, thanks to quattro all-wheel drive, remarkable handling for a large car.
The cabin is refreshingly ‘normal’ for an EV – nothing flash and very straightforward. Some might prefer a few more whistles and bells, but the Audi is a proper grown-up car for grown-up people.
So far, so good then. Let’s see how you feel at 10.30pm on the M4 when the battery level is down to 24 miles and you have 20 miles to home!
That’s the problem, isn’t it? The measly range is always at the back of your mind. I don’t understand why your everyday Hyundai, costing half as much as the GT, will easily cover 300+ miles, yet a £90,000 luxury Audi can’t.
I sense there is more to come on this in our next report…
Inside The Audi E-tron GT quattro
JT – As mentioned above, we were seriously worried about the lack of range available from this classy grand tourer.
JS – That’s right. It was a battle comfortably travelling the 198 miles to London and back without having to recharge. Now the weather has turned even colder, temperature has impacted the GT’s battery ability still further, reducing the fully charged range to just 225 miles. Remember, Audi claim 296 miles as an official range.
Well, we know that an ‘official’ range is nothing like the real figure. Thankfully, the e-tron’s Drive Select button is here to help! Tucked away under the information screen, it offers four driving modes, including Comfort and Sport. You might think Comfort is the best for extending battery range but Efficiency is the sweet spot.
It certainly dulls the Audi’s performance but I don’t care if Efficiency helps me get to my final destination without stopping for a battery top-up.
Efficiency subdues the throttle response to reduce power consumption. It changes settings to the drivetrain, transmission and even the air conditioning – the latter being a major drain on battery life. It can impact range by as much as 30 percent in electric vehicles.
So, what I don’t understand is how the Audi calculates my mileage range before I even turn the wheels?
Like most modern cars, the e-tron has a computer brain to make the calculations for you. It factors in energy consumption from previous journeys, the outdoor temperature and even driving characteristics to work out an estimated range.
Hmm. I think I have a heavier right foot than you, which may help explain the lowly range! I can dial down on the inside heating but I’m not giving up on my heated seat though.
No need to go that extreme! Just remember, once the windscreen is clear and the e-tron is warm and toasty, turn down the heating again to maximise battery life.
Otherwise, I think we are both rather smitten with the big, comfortable and capable Audi. The boot has a small aperture but it does back a long way and will swallow up a family load of luggage. It certainly makes you feel good having one parked on the driveway.
Discover more about the Audi E-tron GT Quattro at audi.co.uk
Jessica Saunders is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.
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