REVIEW | Audi's e-tron GT personifies sex on wheels, but it's not the most practical EV

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The e-tron GT is the second most-expensive model in Audi's all-electric range.

The sedan is aesthetically pleasing, but has a shortcoming when it comes to practicality.

The e-tron GT sells for R2.7 million in South Africa.

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It really takes some getting used to, but electric vehicles (EVs) require more than a moment for familiarisation. From the silent driving experience to the somewhat uninspiring display of thrust, EVs have been dividing opinion in South Africa for the best part of the last decade. And while we see the advantages these vehicles hold and how they are - at least post-production - good for the environment, they still struggle to sway the thought pattern.

Some automakers, however, have committed to the electric rage and confirmed that the next generation of all-new cars would indeed be of the sort. One such brand is Audi, which, without any confusion, made its intent clear. The local market, too, will see more EVs from the 'Four Rings' brand on showroom floors in the coming years, and 2022 acts as the catalyst for this new age of vehicles.

Audi launched six EVs in South Africa earlier this year, headlined by two very powerful sedans: the e-tron GT and the RS e-tron GT. The former of the two came under review recently, and it showcased Audi's ability to produce an electric sedan without doing away with sexiness and allure. Of course, the e-tron GT is potently fast and gets from here to there in the blink of an eye, but it struggles with practicality and could leave those interested in an electric Grand Tourer in a bit of a pickle.

The Audi e-tron GT is not a small car, and its size lends it a certain flair and attraction. It boasts a decent length at 4 989mm, and the 1 413mm height enhances the low-slung profile. It makes for interesting reading and adds to its character of being a GT. Factor in the seating for five passengers and a cabin designed with comfort at its forefront, and the e-tron GT suddenly looks like a very attractive and beautiful offering.

READ: SEE | Taycan, e-tron, iX - These are the 3 most costly EV line-ups in South Africa

But as we further delve into the GT's prowess, the car suddenly falls short when its practicality is put on the stand. Because the car has batteries running underneath its floor, it leaves ample storage space in the car's front and rear. Up front, where you'd typically find the engine, is 85 litres of storage space, and the boot offers 405 litres. It's a lot of space that's begging to be utilised.

Only, it can't.

The car's charging cables are located in the front storage bin, while the spare wheel takes up almost every inch in the rear. It makes it nearly impossible to fit more than a small overnight bag when hitting the road on that weekend trip, and even shopping bags would have to be packed like Tetris blocks. This boot reminds strongly of the Jaguar F-Type that's equally unpractical in the rear.

Audi e-tron
2022 Audi e-tron GT

Quick, despite the weight

As already established, the e-tron GT is a rather large car. It's not lethargic or cumbersome, but it's big. Its size is perhaps the most obvious giveaway, but also the weight of 2 350kg. And yes, it's a lot! To put in perspective, the Mercedes-AMG G63 weighs 2 560kg, and Audi's own RS Q8 weighs 2 315kg. The batteries, worth 93.4kWh in capacity, 85kWh useable, make up most of the weight, but they at least help keep the car's centre of gravity low.

Through a series of corners, the GT's weight shines through as hints of understeer push the nose forward while the wheels want to go in a different direction. Hit the brakes hard, and you can feel all 2.3 tones having to settle first. It's then that one realises that this car is brilliant in a straight line, but exuberated driving must be undertaken with care, and braking points must be established well in advance.

WATCH: What it's like driving Audi's electric e-tron 55 SUV ahead of its SA launch in 2022

It's scary to think that many owners might get a false sense of security with the vast power at their disposal; thinking that the car will stop with as much confidence as it increases speed with. Still, the adaptive suspension does wonders for the car's on-road mannerisms.

The e-tron GT sends 350kW and 630Nm to all four wheels via a single-speed gearbox. 0-100km/h takes just 4.1 seconds and the top speed is a claimed 245km/h. Audi claims a driving range of between 452 - 488km on a full charge. Realistically, though, the range can be between 300 - 350km, depending on one's driving style.

Audi e-tron
2022 Audi e-tron GT

In summary

Audi South Africa is taking one of the biggest risks in its history by going down the electric route. And they're not just taking a stroll, but are running at the forefront of the next phase in mobility. The automaker realises that they may be selling EVs in small numbers - for now - but they have no insecurities about their end goal.

The e-tron GT has its shortcomings. It is not very practical, and spirited driving can be curbed by the immense weight it has to deal with. Yet, it remains an impressive car. It excels as a daily and fits right in on those trips to your favourite wine estate - provided it's within striking distance of a charging station. Sensible buyers are likely to opt for one of Audi's electric SUVs, but it can't be denied that the GT is one of the most sensual-looking cars on our roads today.

And for many, that's reason enough to splurge R2 715 000.

The Audi e-tron GT comes standard with a five-year or 100 000km maintenance plan, an eight-year or 160 000km battery warranty, and a one-year or unlimited km vehicle warranty.


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