Audi Confirms Production of E-Tron GT and Quattro SUV, More EVs to Come

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Established automakers have finally decided they have the stones to challenge Tesla. Over the last few months, premium manufacturers have issued a glut of product announcements on vehicles targeting the premium EV segment. Audi dabbled in electrification earlier than most before scaling back a bit. However, it’s now positioning three new battery-electric models for production — the E-Tron Gran Turismo, Quattro SUV, and Sportback crossover.

The “e-tron” branding (obnoxiously styled by the automaker in all lower case) has been affixed to countless concept hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. But with the R8 e-tron killed off (in 2016), the only production model currently wearing the badge is the A3 Sportback. Audi claims this will change when its first round of fully electric vehicles arrive later this year. Unfortunately, the E-Tron GT isn’t supposed to commence production until “early next decade.” At that point, Tesla’s Model S will be nearly a decade old.

German automakers all seem to have a pseudo sub-brand for electric vehicles they can’t seem to stop mentioning, but lack a clearly defined path. For Mercedes-Benz it’s EQ, which promised to have 10 models ready by 2022. However, the company has yet to officially endorse the production of any EQ vehicles and recently showcased the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe without making mention of the EQ performance hybrid system it teased in 2017.

BMW has the i Series and arguably the most well-defined EV subset. The i3 and i8 may be extremely different from one another, but they are unified in their distinctive styling cues and branding. They’re also real cars people can purchase right now.

Audi’s E-Tron occupies a strange middle ground. While the company has built vehicles bearing the brand-specific EV designation already, its overall strategy took a while to come into focus. Fortunately, things have cleared up since the company’s annual press conference. Rather than isolating its EVs as wholly different from the cars residing in Audi’s main stable, the automaker has decided to keep them relatively normal and push them hard.

The all-electric E-Tron Quattro is a prime example. It doesn’t look out of place slotted between Audi’s Q5 and Q7. But its 95 kWh battery pack makes it a completely different animal beneath the sheet metal. Good for a European-rated 310 miles (range will be estimated more conservatively in the United States), it’s ready to go head-to-head with the Tesla Model X and all-new Jaguar I-Pace. However, like those vehicles, it will not come cheap.

“The price of the e-tron has been fixed as of today: It is available in Germany starting at 80,000 euros,” said Rupert Stadler, Audi board chairman, during a Thursday conference. “The Audi e-tron stands here as a representative of many more electric cars that we will present to you in the coming years. The Audi e-tron Sportback will follow in 2019.”

Essentially an edgier, crossover-bodied Quattro, the Sportback will also use a trio of electric motors good for a total output of 429 horsepower. All in, Audi wants to bring 20 brand new electrified vehicles to market before 2025. Among them will be the aforementioned E-Tron Gran Turismo. While a great many details on the model are TBD, we’re expecting all of VW Group’s electric vehicles to share hardware — including Porsche’s Mission E.

[Images: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Cactuar Cactuar on Mar 16, 2018

    This French Canadian cannot unsee étron every time an "e-tron" Audi is mentioned. Audi should paint them all brown.

    • Mcs Mcs on Mar 16, 2018

      LMFAO - Maybe it will be joined by the merde sedan? Hey, if it breaks down a lot, they can just point to the badge and say they warned you. Anyway, that's what happens when you dare to use somewhat real names vs. meaningless numbers.

  • Volvo driver Volvo driver on Mar 16, 2018

    Why did the Germans take so long to catch up to Tesla?

    • See 1 previous
    • Hreardon Hreardon on Mar 18, 2018

      Crises have a way of focusing people, and the diesel crisis did just that. Volkswagen Group's electrification projects were a complete hash-up of efforts. The fallout from diesel-gate focused the company's resources.

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."