Audi simply unveiled its newest manufacturing automobile, and it’s a stunner. The Audi e-tron GT is a battery-powered, all-electric sports activities automotive, with—in top-performing $140,000 RS guise—motors on the entrance and rear axles able to producing 637 horsepower. This offers the sporty four-door with the flexibility to speed up from zero to 60 m.p.h. in about three seconds. In case you’re not fairly so aggressive with the go pedal, it also needs to have the ability to eke out nicely over 200 miles of vary on a cost.
Growth of its electrical automobile (EV) lineup—which at present consists of the pedestrian-looking e-tron SUV—is a prime precedence for Audi, which for years has staked out a place as a forward-thinking luxurious model, fast to embrace new varieties and tech. “Fifty years in the past, Audi was nothing in comparison with our principal opponents Mercedes and BMW,” says Marc Lichte, the model’s world design director. “And the explanation why Audi grew to become profitable was that Audi made some actually daring and progressive choices.” For Lichte, these embody common implementation of the marque’s Quattro four-wheel-drive system, its use of light-weight aluminum within the underpinnings of its automobiles, and its abidance of superior aerodynamics, as within the radical Audi 5000 of the Nineteen Eighties.
Designing an EV—with out the constraints of such exhausting factors as an engine, transmission, exhaust system, or gasoline tank—was liberating for Lichte. “I’ve carried out with my crew greater than 100 automobiles. However e-tron GT is the spotlight,” Lichte says. It is because it encompasses lots of the components that automotive designers typically embody in idea automobiles—autos meant to predict an evanescent automotive future. “We wish to sketch automobiles like this: massive wheels, brief entrance and rear overhangs, low cabin, lengthy wheelbase,” says Lichte. “That is dream proportions, and this dream grew to become a actuality with this bundle.”
Not that the design was with out difficulties: “We needed to give you a really low automotive. However there’s this big battery pack within the flooring. So the problem was to discover a technical resolution to search out house for the rear passengers,” Lichte says. “The answer was that the battery pack isn’t all one layer, like a chocolate bar. It has totally different layers.” So it’s recessed the place rear passengers’ ft will go, and is thicker beneath their seat. This enables the automotive to be two inches decrease than the already sporty Audi A7 sports activities sedan.
Lichte was capable of incorporate many exterior influences in his design for the brand new automobile, together with a constructing he’s sketching for the Bavarian Yacht Membership, the place he retains the smaller of his two boats, in addition to iconic Excessive Modernist merchandise like Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair. “My philosophy is—once I take a look at furnishings or industrial merchandise—if the mixture between operate and aesthetic is ideal in concord, then it’s a good product as a result of will probably be timeless,” Lichte says.
The e-tron GT’s design already garnered a celeb admirer. When Lichte first offered the idea on the 2018 L.A. Auto Present, he was joined by a good friend of the model. “Earlier than the presentation, I obtained an e-mail from Robert Downey Jr.’s assistant, who mentioned that Robert is actually loopy for Audi—not simply because we’ve knowledgeable relationship with him [through the Marvel Avengers movies, in which Audi has a product placement deal] however in non-public. And he mentioned, ‘Is there an opportunity to fulfill the designer behind these automobiles?’” Lichte says. Audi knowledgeable RDJ that Lichte can be in L.A. the next week to current the automotive. “And Robert mentioned, ‘Cool. What if we each current this automotive collectively?’ And we did it.” Because the designer remembers, “In fact, he loved the automotive. We drove it round all day.”
Initially Appeared on Architectural Digest