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Audi’s next all-electric model revealed as e-tron GT

e-tron legacy: Audi will bolster its e-tron line-up to include a GT sporty sedan that will sit atop the emissions-free SUV and Sportback, which are both expected to launch later this year.

Flagship sporty sedan to follow Audi e-tron SUV and Sportback from around 2020

16 Mar 2018

AUDI’S all-electric vehicle range will be topped by a flagship four-door e-tron GT to be produced at the turn of the decade, revealed the brand’s chairman of the board of management Rupert Stadler.

While little is known about the new Tesla Model S fighter, reports indicate Audi will tap sister-brand Porsche to leverage the emissions-free Mission E platform as the basis for the grand tourer.

The single, teaser image released reveals a sketch of a swoopy sedan cloaked in shadow wearing the classic sportscar proportions of a long bonnet, slim window profile and short rear overhang.

Described by Audi as “a sporty spearhead”, the battery-electric Gran Turismo sedan will sit atop the e-tron SUV, slated for launch later this year and previewed in concept form at the Geneva motor show, as well as a production version of the e-tron Sportback from last year’s Shanghai motor show.

Mr Stadler hinted the e-tron GT would inherit some characteristics of the German marque’s sportiest models.

“We interpret sportiness very progressively with our fully electric e-tron GT, and this is how we will take our high-performance brand Audi Sport into the future,” he said.

Production of the e-tron GT will begin around 2020 at Audi’s Boullinger Houfe site in Neckarsulm, Germany, while the car-maker will also convert its Brussels facility to assemble batteries for the e-tron SUV with electric motors coming from Gyor, Hungary.

To make room for the retooling, Audi’s next-generation A1 will instead be built in a Seat facility in Martorell, Spain, which will in turn push Q3 production to Hungary in new-generation guise.

Also buoyed by a positive earnings effect of around €1 billion ($A1.58b) in 2017 due to increased research and development efficiencies, Mr Stadler said the future plans will put Audi in a strong position going forward.

“We intend to play a leading role in the tremendous upheaval facing our industry,” he said. “By 2022 alone, we planned more than €40 billion ($A63.26b) for development activities and investment.

“We are making Audi fit for this mission with our Action and Transformation Plan.”

The plan will see “positive earnings effects totalling €10 billion ($A15.81b) by 2022” to “accelerate the organisational realignment for future business models”, according to Audi.

In addition to its all-electric e-tron models, Audi has also identified autonomous technologies as an area of further development, calling its Aicon “the technological vanguard for the Action and Transformation Plan”.

Revealed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, the Aicon is a Level 5 self-driving vehicle that ditches all driver inputs including steering wheel and pedals, and is powered by four electric motors for a driving range of between 700 and 800km.

Audi member of the board of management for finance, IT and integrity Alexander Seitz said the streamlining process has freed up considerable resources.

“We are implementing our program of measures quickly and systematically, we are becoming more efficient and we are investing freed-up resources in new, profitable growth,” he said.

“This has already allowed us to decide four additional new models and derivatives with an unchanged budget.”

By 2025, the German premium car-maker will offer over 20 electrified variants across its model range that is expected to account for one in every three vehicle sales globally.

Meanwhile in China, Audi will also bring to market “ten SUV versions without predecessors” over the next five years in conjunction with its joint-venture partner FAW, with seven of the new models to be produced in the world’s largest car market.

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