Audi has just unveiled its long-awaited e-tron Vision Gran Turismo concept.
Initially conceived as part of a design competition (itself now in its fifth year) in collaboration with PlayStation’s all-time bestselling franchise, Audi’s Vision GT goes one step further than the 26 fantasy design studies that have gone before it from OEMs and design houses alike: this is a fully-functioning car in real life, too.
Indeed, in just 11 months Audi has taken the project from a fun idea to an all-electric track car that will see use as a ‘race taxi’ to entertain VIPs at upcoming Europe-based Formula E races (among other events), piloted by ex-DTM driver Rahal Frey and Le Mans legend Rinaldo ‘Dindo’ Capello.
Given that no Gran Turismo title has ever featured Formula E, this could be seen as ironic, but Audi’s recent takeover of the Abt Schaeffler Formula E team is what ties things together here.
The car itself takes some inspiration from the fearsome Audi 90 quattro (also a GT absentee...) that raced in the IMSA GTO class in 1989, both in select styling references and in the racing livery.
Conversely, its DRG is firmly in line with the ‘e-tron’ concept family that has been growing throughout the current decade, centred around the ‘inverse single frame’ – a face that sees a body-coloured panel surrounded by a blacked-out trapezoidal frame, which itself encompasses the LED headlights and slatted air intakes.
An area above the horizontal centreline of the four rings channels air through the nose, and up out the vented bonnet.
The two eras meet in the middle – or more specifically the sides, rather than the squashed-A5 roofline – wherein vertical air outlets and inlets mimic the old 90 quattro GTO’s boxy widebody flares, but are bridged together by Audi’s thoroughly modern surfacing in the form of a crisp bone line defining where the door flares out and then tucks back in. This in turn creates a very deep light catcher below.
All of this is bracketed by retro ‘turbo fan’ wheels.
The rear is dominated by a bright red rear wing, beneath which the skinny tail lights are almost camouflaged against the red elements of the racing livery. A large blacked-out central section of the rear fascia again references the 90 quattro GTO, specifically the blacked-out registration housing it had.
Naturally, sat beneath all of this is a whopping diffuser, uninterrupted by any exhaust system since, of course, the car is electric.
The cockpit is a little more futuristic, with a glass HUD screen acting as an IP, plus long, flat dash buttons and a very skinny, trapezoidal screen-festooned steering ‘wheel’ sitting in front of the left of two dramatic red bucket seats. The rest is stripped-bare and lightweight, but still with some ‘e-tron’ aesthetic in its surfacing and graphics.
Marc Lichte, Audi’s design chief, comments: “Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are only hard to implement in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels. Our aim was a fully functional car.”
“The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo shows that electric mobility at Audi is very emotive. This car incorporates numerous elements of our new design language such as the inverted single frame in the vehicle’s colour that will be typical for our new e-tron models.”
Unless you’re a valued guest of Audi, the e-tron Vision GT will only be accessible via your nearest PlayStation 4 and a copy of Gran Turismo Sport, as of today.
We suspect its ability to make 600kW (815bhp) propel 1450kg past 100km/h in under 2.5 seconds via all four wheels is best experienced between the close barriers of a very real Formula E circuit, though, so you’d best start making some important friends if you fancy it…