Review: The new electric Audi RS e-tron GT offers an alternative to the Porsche Taycan
Marc Lichte, the 52-year-old German designer who has overseen all Audi products since 2014, believes the brand’s new all-electric e-tron GT is the most beautiful car he has ever designed. This is important because the e-tron GT must really look good, not only because it’s the brand’s new flagship electric vehicle, but also because its looks are one of the main things that separates it from its Porsche twin.
If you could peek under the Audi’s retractable sheet metal, you would find that it shares much of its underlying mechanical parts with Porsche’s Taycan. Audi doesn’t try to hide the fact that the two cars share the same EV platform. As a result, the Audi and the Porsche feel quite similar. They’re basically the same size, with equally narrow rear seats and 93.4 kWh batteries. They’re both so ballistically fast that, on the road, you’re unlikely to notice the Audi is a tenth of a second slower from 0-100 km / h and only has 637 horsepower in gear. boost mode while the Porsche tops out at 670. The top-of-the-line Audi RS e-tron GT we have here costs $ 4,900 more than the Taycan Turbo, but in this price bracket it’s a pocket change .
Since these high-performance German electric vehicles are so similar, the decision to choose, for most people, should come down to subjective questions: which one looks better, which infotainment system makes the most sense for you, and which brand is the most user-friendly. local dealer. The real threat to these two German machines, however, is Tesla’s new Model S Plaid. In theory, the American car should leave the Germans in the dust during a drag race, or even on a lap of the Nurburgring Nordschliefe circuit. (More on the elephant in the Tesla Shaped Room later.)
First, Lichte was right; the RS e-tron GT is the most interesting Audi launched during its tenure, and arguably the brand’s best design since the original TT coupe or the R8 supercar. On the road, the RS feels incredibly low and wide. The square fenders protruding from each 21-inch wheel are a not-so-subtle nod to the 1980 Audi quattro, the brand’s first all-wheel-drive car. More than once I have returned to RS to find strangers taking pictures of it.
The cabin does not quite meet the high expectations set by a stunning exterior. Inside, the dual-screen dashboard is familiar Audi equipment; this is not the big step forward that Porsche has taken with the interior of the Taycan. In Audi’s favor, however, is the fact that it still has plenty of physical buttons – for climate controls, for example – which are easier to use while driving and less distracting than a touch screen only.
A button between the front seats starts the car and produces a deep, spatial hum. It’s strangely quiet actually, and the noise lets you know this UFO is ready to take off.
The air suspension provides a surprisingly smooth and tightly controlled ride, even on rough roads; it’s bordering on miraculous given how low the RS is to the ground. A physical switch on the instrument panel sets the ride mode, adjusting ride height and throttle response, among other things. Dynamic Mode turns up the volume of that spatial hum and unlocks the kind of acceleration that slams your head against the seat. The steering is crisp, giving the RS the feel of a low-flying laser-guided missile. It is flawlessly precise but not tiring, fast but also comfortable. Without a doubt, the RS e-tron GT is the best fast four-door – electric or not – that Audi has ever made.
To all buyers, Audi is offering e-tron GT owners two years of free charging at Electrify Canada stations. (Tired, American owners get three years of free charging.) Electrify Canada’s DC fast chargers can add up to 190 kilometers of range in just 10 minutes – provided you can find one of their chargers. rapid CCs, which are currently relatively few in number. and far in between.
Audi cites an EPA estimated range of 373 km for the RS e-tron GT and 383 for the regular e-tron GT. Our test car estimated its own range of 422 km on a 99% full battery and was on track to cover over 400 km on a charge. That’s a lot for everyday use, but still a lot less battery life than the last Tesla.
Ah yes, the Tesla Model S Plaid. On paper, it has a lot more range and faster acceleration than the Audi or Porsche in a single 0-100 km / h sprint. The spacious rear seats and large trunk of the Tesla easily make it a better choice as a family car. But, you also have to deal with Tesla’s poor build quality record and the fact that the Plaid only has a half steering wheel.
Among long-standing German luxury brands, Audi currently has the largest range of electric vehicles in showrooms. The RS e-tron GT is the icing on the cake, a high-priced, high-performance electric toy that, while unlikely to ignite the sales charts, bodes well for the future. This is Audi’s first RS badge electric vehicle, but it won’t be the last.
2022 Audi RS e-tron GT
Base price / as tested: $ 179,900 / $ 194,535
Motor: two-motor electric
Transmission / drive: two-speed automatic / all-wheel drive
Fuel economy (equivalent in liters / 100 kilometers): 3.0 city, 2.9 highway
Alternatives: Porsche Taycan Turbo, Tesla Model S Plaid, Mercedes-Benz EQS
We agree with Lichte; this is his best design for Audi.
Our test car’s carbon-filled cabin was all black and therefore somewhat austere. More colorful trim options would be nice. The small rear window means that the view through the mirror is like looking through a porthole.
Audi has avoided one-pedal driving in the RS e-tron GT, so it will be comfortable for new EV drivers. Handling is sharper and more engaging than Audi’s V8-powered RS7.
The infotainment system is easy to use and will be familiar to Audi drivers, but that’s nothing new. All the usual driver assistance systems are available to make long journeys more enjoyable.
Tall passengers won’t have much fun in the back seats. Legroom is fine, but your hair can graze the roof. The trunk opening is tiny.
An expensive electric merry-go-round for drivers seduced by the stunning design of Lichte
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