Before we start, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. Yes, the Audi e-tron GT shares a platform with the highly acclaimed Porsche Taycan – our favourite EV for some time now. As luxury sportscar members of the Volkswagen Group, it’s only natural to give both brands access to the same platform and substantial parts bin. The key is to make sure that the end product is distinctive and embodies the character of each manufacturer.
We’ll hold fire, for now, on whether we think it’s mission accomplished for Audi. What we can say is that the RS e-tron GT isn’t just one of the most stunning cars on the market, it’s also a phenomenal piece of engineering.
This four-door saloon manages to be both muscular and elegant – a true high-performance EV grand tourer. The more you look at it, the more you appreciate the RS e-tron GT. From its wide-track, low-slung aerodynamic body to its powerful haunches, sculpted bonnet and mean LED headlights, it turns heads.
Active aerodynamics include the rear spoiler, which extends electrically to two different positions, depending on the speed.
Inside, it’s everything you’d expect of an Audi. Not just in terms of the layout and tech, but the quality of materials used and faultless finish.
There’s plenty of seat adjustment, meaning that your driving position can be as low or high as you like. The lower the better for me, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so comfortable and involved behind the wheel of an EV. Well, yes I can, because it was probably a Porsche Taycan.
Up front there’s a 12.3-inch driver’s digital display behind the steering wheel and a 10.1-inch central touchscreen. Refreshingly, the e-tron GT’s interior isn’t totally minimalist and there are buttons for essentials such as climate control.
A special mention for the optional head-up display fitted to my test car. It’s a £1,395 option, but well worth it because it projects important information (inc your speed and the traffic signs) on the windscreen, allowing you to focus on the road ahead.
The rear seats aren’t just for show – there’s space for two adults to sit comfortably and even rest their feet under the front seats. The only slight disappointment is that there are only 350 litres of luggage capacity in the boot (down 100 litres on a standard e-tron GT), though there is another 85 litres in the ‘frunk’ under the bonnet.
The RS e-tron GT’s two electric motors and 93kWh battery (84kWh of which is usable) produce a combined 598hp, or 646hp for 2.5 seconds when you floor it in Dynamic mode or use launch control.
The rear motor drives via a two-speed automatic transmission split into high and low ratios. During sensible driving, the car takes off in second gear. Short-ratio first is used if you floor it and sometimes the shift into second is perceptible.
Shrugging off its kerb weight of 2.3 tonnes, it’s blisteringly quick off the mark with a 0-62mph time of 3.3 seconds.
However, you can’t forget that the RS e-tron GT doesn’t have sports car proportions, especially in town or country lanes. At just under five metres long and nearly two metres wide, is not far off the footprint of a Range Rover.
That said, on the right roads, it delivers a physics-defying drive, thanks to fast and precise all-wheel steering, superb body control and remarkable grip (helped by Quattro all-wheel drive and serious rubber.
In short, the RS feels totally planted, whether you’re cruising on motorways or pushing it on flowing A-roads.
Ride comfort is impressive too, even on huge 21-inch wheels, thanks to adaptive air suspension, while the huge Brembos are well up to the job of stopping this not-insubstantial road-going missile.
Of course, no car is perfect, and there are a few issues with the RS e-tron GT. For instance, the view via the slim rear window is challenging at best. Thankfully, there is some clever tech to help with tricky manoeuvres, but weirdly the top-down view is graphical (unlike some other Audis we’ve driven where there’s a proper live video monitor).
It’s expensive too. The standard e-tron GT starts at £87,800, while the RS e-tron GT kicks in at £119,950. Our ‘Carbon Black’ test car was laden with extras and weighed in at a hefty £132,120.
Then there’s the RS e-tron GT’s range. Officially it’s up to 294 miles, but even if you drive like a saint (very hard), its real-world range is likely to be closer to 240 miles. While it’s not awful, some other high-end manufacturers are offering a real-world 300 miles on similar-priced cars.
The good news is that it incorporates the latest 800-volt charging capability (just like the Taycan), which means a maximum recharge rate of 270kW. In other words, a 10-80% battery boost will take around 23 minutes via a 150kW charger.
Ultimately, here’s the thing. The RS e-tron GT is such a sensational car that its few gripes are forgiven, as long as you have a lottery win burning a big hole in your pocket.
Finally, let’s go back to the beginning. Yes, it is definitely worthy of an RS badge. As for the Porsche Taycan, we’d say there’s little to separate the pair. If anything, the Audi’s ride is slightly softer, and better suited to everyday driving. At the end of the day it will come down to price, which badge you like best and whether you prefer a Porsche interior.
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