In our favour is the fact that I’m genuinely interested in this loping electric GT car, and how exactly the time in its company will pan out. Any cynicism or even ambivalence now would be terminal for our relationship, but that isn’t how we’re going to be starting out. I’m keen.
There’s also the fact that this Audi, as I’ve already discovered, is good company. It’s not perfect – it’s damned wide, yet the parking sensors are so sensitive that we’re already deep into wolf-crying territory – but it moves through the world like a mechanical panther. Quiet, sleek, smooth and, with 472lb ft of hair-trigger torque, superbly rapid if ever you need it.
Disparate elements – cockpit, steering, general aesthetic – are also more convincing than Audi’s current efforts elsewhere. The GT seems less desperate to impress you than, say, an RS7, and this insouciance makes it easy to warm to. Even in searing Tango Red. It really isn’t my colour and I think the car looks more elegant in Ascari Blue, Floret Silver or Kermora Grey (more of a pastel blue). However, the rakish silhouette does at least ensure red isn’t outright jarring.
So what is this thing? We’ll dive more deeply into the Taycan-shared platform later, but the car presents as a 152mph four-door fastback, and a deliciously low-slung one. It has air springs (standard on Vorsprung trim) and a motor on each axle, the rear of which drives through a two-speed ’box. A 93.4kWh battery is under the floor. The whole show weighs 2347kg, which is a hell of a lot, but clearly deftly managed.
At £113k, the asking price is also a hell of a lot. But it seems a bit more palatable when you consider BMW now wants £85k for an M3 Comp and a 911 Carrera S is £110k. It gets easier still to digest when you learn that £113k is for our all-singing Vorsprung model, with its B&O hi-fi, head-up display, rear-steer, matrix headlights, Pro sports seats and acoustic glazing, plus other bits we will get to in due course. A bare-bones E-tron GT costs £85k, which looks fair value for something so obviously bleeding-edge and, for want of a better word, slick.
So I like the cut of the E-tron GT. Would I like it more with 450bhp of inline-five stuffed longitudinally into its sloping nose? Head says yes. As does heart, though not with quite the same conviction as the head. It may be heavy and need copious recharging but you cannot say this car isn’t authentic. In what it represents and its execution, this is the most exciting Audi since the rear-drive R8. Petrol-ising it would, for better or worse (mostly better, it must be said) diminish that.