Audi invited us to drive the 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT in the Adirondack Mountains, a mere 10 minutes from my home north of New York City. How could I pass up that opportunity when I traveled across the country to see it for the first time in 2019? The drive made for a memorable (and inexpensive!) lunch date with my wife to boot.
The Audi RS e-tron GT is a high-performance electric car based on the same VW platform as the Porsche Taycan. Audi’s gorgeous take on the platform is slightly more muted in its flashiness on the outside and more of a luxury sedan feel on the inside. Performance-wise, it is a 637 hp supercar clocking in at a 3 second 0-60 time and a top speed over 150 mph coming from all four of its big 21-inch wheels. But everything feels a lot more smooth and luxurious than the sporty jolting of its sibling.
Just like the Taycan, the 93.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with an 800-volt system capable of charging at up to 270 kW. Interestingly, Audi hasn’t committed to a faster 350kW battery charging update in the future as Porsche has. Audi estimates 232-238 miles of range for the GT depending on the trim, which is also significantly more than Porsche, which hovers around 200, conservatively speaking.
This car isn’t cheap either. Audi passed on the RWD option that Porsche included in its lineup and therefore starts at higher $100,000. The RS version we drove is around $140,000.
Audi RS e-tron GT design:
- US models will come to market with standard 20-inch 5-double-spoke alloy wheels with gray accents; vehicles equipped with the performance package have 20-inch 5-double-spoke alloy wheels with black accents; the RS e-tron GT comes with standard 20-inch 5-spoke AERO wheels or available 21-inch wheels
- Standard for RS e-tron GT models is a lightweight, high-strength, five-layer carbon fiber reinforced plastic roof – a first for an Audi vehicle and a segment-exclusive feature
- Available HD Matrix-design headlights with Audi laser light for greater high-beam visibility
- Strongly chiseled lower doorsill lines that emphasize the battery pack as the car’s powerhouse and foundation
- Inside, standard is a leather-free interior featuring recycled materials; Dinamica® and Alcantara come standard; Nappa leather is available
- The “monoposto” cockpit angles the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit and 10.1-inch MMI touch response displays toward the driver
- Standard is a full-circumference, flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara; a perforated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and capacitive hands-on detection are available
Check out this gallery of images from roughly one hour with the vehicle:
Perhaps my wife said it best: If this is the type of car you want, a low-to-the-ground sports car with not a lot of extra room, there isn’t going to be much to complain about. It is a niche market for sure, but Audi has absolutely nailed this one.
The GT is just fun. The curves on roads are as fun as slalom rather than a hindrance. The car has all the power and braking to get you to your desired speed and place on the road in an instant.
Obviously, the low 200s mile EPA range is going to put some people off, especially with Tesla running around with 300-400 mile cars. Keep in mind, Tesla is a lot less conservative with its range numbers, using a higher coefficient than other companies when publishing its range results. But still, it isn’t even close here.
Porsche Taycan vs. Audi GT
As for the Porsche Taycan vs. Audi GT comparison, I think you can sum it up best that Audi is aiming more for a distinguished luxury rocket, where Porsche is going for a race car lightly disguised as a street hypercar. You can’t lose either way, but you might feel less punch drunk after a few hours in the Audi.
Is the Audi RS e-tron GT practical? Perhaps if you handicap it within the sports hypercar sector. It does have four doors, room for 4.5 people, and more room in the trunk than a Porsche or you’d expect. The tires are big, but I don’t think Audi would be happy if I took it off-road. That said, the road to the event was a dirt one full of potholes, and the GT had no issues whatsoever.
I think the big takeaway for me is that electric drivetrains not only allow you to put hypercar type performance in a somewhat normal car, but it also leaves room for niceties like luxury and some space, good visibility and handling as well.
I can’t wait to get more seat time in a GT. Meanwhile, my wife was eyeballing the e-tron SUV lead car and asking how much that costs.
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