Ironically, the most powerful Audi of the moment is electric. This is the RS version of the e-tron GT. This cousin of the Porsche Taycan took shape in 2018 at the Los Angeles show with a very noticed concept. Three years later, the commercial version of the e-tron GT celebrates its launch, and for the occasion, we took its wheel on the roads of Lubéron.
A look that imposes
The first success of the e-tron GT is aesthetic. The reason ? Audi has relied heavily on the 2018 concept for its sedan and the differences with the final version are pretty slim. Audi’s sports car is available in two versions, Quattro and RS. Their design is almost identical, although the second has some graphic elements to accentuate its sporty side. On our test model, particularly well equipped, this results in carbon parts. This is the case for mirrors, the rear diffuser or the roof. These are particularly expensive options, the impact on performance of which is relatively limited. The carbon roof at 4,600 euros, certainly saves 12 kg on the scale but does not change the top speed (limited anyway to 250 km / h), nor the autonomy.
Regardless of the level of finish, the e-tron GT is in any case a pure stylistic success. Long, low and wide, it gives the impression of sticking to the road. As for its numerous air intakes or its rear spoiler, they not only add style, they also help to improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle, reducing friction and, consequently, improving its range.
Welcome aboard, pilot
While Audi has taken great care in the design of its electric GT, it has not forgotten the atmosphere on board. Above all, the German manufacturer wanted to differentiate itself from Porsche and its Taycan by offering a decidedly different cockpit. Unlike Porsche’s racing car and its very airy interior, the RS’s gives the impression of being in an F1 seat. The design of the dashboard, the orientation of the screens and the driving position put the driver in the shoes of a pilot.
This is also how Audi explains the overabundance of physical touches both on its steering wheel and on the center column. But the profusion of buttons, can also produce the opposite effect, that of an excess. On this point, our preference goes to Tesla, which favors a clean environment and an oversized screen.
Finally, in terms of the on-board system, Audi benefits, with its MMI, from one of the most successful solutions on the market. That of the RS e-tron GT does not bring new features and strangely does not include the head-up display in augmented reality which will however equip the Q4 e-tron. Nevertheless, it gives pride of place to the application (iOS or Android) which in addition to the traditional functions (overview of the level of autonomy, pre-conditioning or programming of recharges) now allows you to park your car with your smartphone.
In fact, all you need to do is have the myAudi application and be connected to your vehicle via Bluetooth to activate the parking assistant. The car is therefore able to identify a place on its own and to park in it, but it can also leave the hand to its owner who, even outside the vehicle, can move it using the directional keys. In addition to the obvious show off of the maneuver, this feature allows, among other things, to park his RS on a particularly narrow location.
Finally, it goes without saying, Audi’s latest baby is compatible with iOS or Android and allows switching from MMI to CarPlay or Android Auto, wirelessly please.
Less powerful, but more comfortable than the Taycan
The RS e-tron GT is slightly less powerful than its cousin at Porsche. More exactly, it leaves the Turbo S version in first place thanks to around thirty horses. However, it is the most powerful Audi of the moment with technical characteristics that cannot leave anyone indifferent. The Audi racing car has two synchronous engines that accumulate 598 hp. This value can even reach up to 649 hp in peak by activating the Boost function. The torque of 830 Nm and the two-speed transmission set the e-tron GT apart in the current automotive landscape and, in fact, provide rather rare driving sensations.
This theoretical power is felt as soon as the foot strokes the accelerator pedal. With a 0 to 100 km / h in 3.3 seconds, the car takes off violently gluing its passengers well back in their seats. The “dynamic” driving mode is a treat of precision and commitment, and offers a decidedly muscular drive. Conversely, the RS softens without batting an eyelid when it switches to “efficiency” or “comfort” mode, offering astonishing peace and flexibility.
This is what surprised us the most about this test of the RS e-tron GT. Fresh off our test Porsche Taycan, we expected to experience similar sensations. It has not happened. Despite very similar technical characteristics, the chassis choices of each of the manufacturers give very different results. Where at Porsche, each decision is dictated by the search for performance, Audi responds with a desire to also offer a comfortable car, in the spirit of Grand Touring which it claims to be. As a result, the car with the four rings displays greater versatility. Capable of both freeing your jaw from each acceleration, it also allows you to calm down to the rhythm of a silent and smooth driving.
We have the same battery, but not the same autonomy
Equipped with the same high-capacity battery as the Porsche Taycan, the Audi RS nonetheless displays better autonomy scores than its cousin within the VW group. Indeed, the 83.6 kWh payload battery allows, in theory, to travel 472 km (WLTP cycle), where the Taycan Turbo tops out at 450 km. First of all, note that in either case these values are particularly generous. In our case we have oscillated between 22 and 30 kW / 100 km depending on the type of driving adopted. By extension, we could deduce that it is possible to drive, on average, between 330 and 380 km with a battery charge.
Autonomy therefore remains Tesla’s favorite field. Its Model S exceeds 600 km (in WLTP cycle), leaving the Germans far behind on this point.
On the other hand, when it comes to recharging, the RS e-tron GT is doing very well, offering, like the Taycan, a fast charge up to 270 kW. As the Ionity network is gradually expanding, this argument is gaining weight and paves the way for long-distance travel. In concrete terms, on a fast charging station, the e-tron GT can recover 80% of the battery in just 23 minutes. Even more interesting: a 5-minute charge allows you to set off again for 100 km. Finally, note that the car has two hatches for recharging. The left one is reserved for AC charging (up to 22 kW), while the right one, in DC Combo, is reserved for fast charging.
Tesla had better watch out, the long-awaited answer from traditional manufacturers is there. After an ultra-sporty Porsche Taycan, Audi is launching a second equally successful offensive. Of course, German cars are much more expensive and cannot compete in terms of range, but when it comes to build quality, design or performance on the road, they set the bar higher. In the galaxy of astronomically priced electrics, the Audi RS e-tron GT is arguably the one that offers the most versatility, with power barely less than the Taycan Turbo S and significantly greater range. In any case, the electric sedan with the four rings is a clear success.