Audi e-tron GT review
The electric Audi RS e-tron GT has more performance than you’ll ever need and the ability to entertain on a twisty road, but Tesla still does a longer electric range.
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The new Audi e-tron GT is an electric four-door coupe with powerful motors and seats for five people.
As the future of Audi’s RS models, the e-tron GT makes cars like RS6 and RS7 feel like morse-code machines at a Space X Starlink launch.
The new RS e-tron GT is designed to cleave the air cleanly, so all the vents are real, and aerodynamic addenda such as the diffuser and flat under-floor actually provide meaningful benefits.
Like its sister car, the Porsche Taycan, the new RS e-tron GT uses two electric motors – one to drive the front wheels and a second to drive the rears.
This combination produces 598hp as standard, but a two-second overboost function ups this to 646hp when you launch the car. As a result, we blasted the car from 0-62mph in just 3.0 seconds. Perhaps a more relevant acceleration time is the one from 30-70mph, which you tend to use when overtaking or accelerating down a slip road. The RS e-tron GT covered it in a mind-boggling 2.7 seconds.
The Audi RS e-tron GT’s 93kWh battery has slightly less capacity than the Taycan’s 95kWh unit, but still serves up an official 283 miles of range. That’ll be fine for most people, but it’s some way off the 400-mile range you get from a Tesla Model S.
Despite having huge wheels and rubber-band tyres, the RS e-tron GT is perfectly comfortable in Comfort mode, and even when you switch it into Dynamic it’s still fine.
The RS e-tron GT weights a hefty 2.3 tonnes, which you’d think would prove troublesome on a twisty road, but it isn’t so. The Audi changes direction well, helped by the four-wheel steering, four-wheel drive and rear limited-slip differential, plus the fact that the batteries are stored in the floor, lowering its centre of gravity. It grips strongly, too, but if there’s a downside, it’s that the brakes feel a touch artificial at first.
As with most electric cars, the Audi RS e-tron GT is very quiet indeed, although you can pay a bit extra for it to make a noise. Oh yes, Audi has engineered in an optional unusual electronic ‘whoom’ noise when you accelerate. You can decide whether it’s worth shelling out extra for.
The RS e-tron GT weighs a considerable 2.3 tonnes, but you'd never know it from the way it drives.
You can charge the RS e-tron GT using rapid 270kW public fast chargers (if you can find one), which will boost its battery from empty to 80% full in just 30 minutes. A new 11kW wireless charging feature will be available in the e-Tron GT. This lets you charge your car by parking above a large charging pad – just like wirelessly charging your smartphone.
The Audi e-tron GT was co-designed with Porsche and is based on the same underpinnings as the Taycan. As a result, it looks just as wide and purposeful and has a similar sloping roofline. The rear doors blend into the wide haunches to give the appearance of a sporty coupe, despite the fact it’s a four-door electric car.
Watch our Audi RS e-tron v Porsche Taycan Turbo group test
The interior features a sizeable touchscreen for the infotainment system, and below it lie conventional buttons for the heating controls – brilliant! There’s also a large, clear digital display in place of conventional analogue dials behind the steering wheel.
The Audi e-tron GT’s long body provides good legroom, but headroom is a little tight for tall passengers in the back, and a central rear passenger will feel decidedly unloved. The e-tron GT Concept features a 366-litre boot, which is accessed through quite a small boot opening. The load area can be expanded by folding down the back seats (which you’ll have to do by opening the rear doors). It also has an 81-litre storage area under the bonnet, although this is pretty much filled by the huge bag for the charging cables.
The Audi e-tron GT starts from £79,900, although that’s for a very basic car in plain white. The RS e-tron GT starts from £110,950. Those numbers will rise very quickly indeed when you add a few vital options, such as metallic paint.
Watch Mat race a Tesla Model S across the UK with the RS e-tron GT
It’s long and low, but has good space for four adults. You wouldn’t want to be the fifth passenger though.
The Audi e-tron GT looks really long and low, but the shape is somewhat deceptive, because there’s good space for four fully formed adults in there.
Those up front get loads of space, and there’s plenty of adjustment for the driving position.
Anyone in the outer two rear seats gets a decent deal, too, because Audi has sculpted the rear of the two front seats to create extra legroom. The floor has also been tweaked to provide a ‘foot garage’, which in layman’s terms is space under the seat for your feet.
However, anyone consigned to the central rear seat will feel pretty hard done by, because headroom is compromised, there’s a large central tunnel to straddle, and the seat itself is narrow and uncomfortable. One for short trips only.
There are some storage spots dotted around the cabin of the Audi e-tron GT.
Firstly, the door pockets are big enough to carry a medium-sized bottle of water. There are also two cupholders in the centre console (right where you’d like to rest your elbow), with a long, narrow storage box beside. However, this isn’t big enough to accommodate the largest of today’s smartphones.
Never mind, even a big phone can fit in the lidded cubby between the front seats.
The glovebox is a decent size, and will easily carry numerous packets of travel sweets/Jelly Babies.
The boot isn’t huge, at just 366 litres, which is a shame. A Tesla Model S, for example, has 744 litres.
However, fold down the Audi’s 40:20:40 split rear seats and you’re left with a fairly flat area with no step that’s fine for taking longer items.
The boot also has all the usual stuff that makes life easier, including smaller side storage boxes, a 12V socket and a luggage net to stop stuff rolling around. There’s also a handy hook to hang your takeaway curry from.
Acceleration is so quick it’s almost unsettling, but the range isn’t as good as a Tesla Model S’s.
The 93kWh battery in the RS e-tron GT is claimed to offer a range of 283 miles, although on our brief test we worked the real-world range to be nearer 200 miles. Hmm.
Still, it can be charged at a 270kW charger, which should take the battery from 10% to 80% in around half an hour.
However, far more common are 50kW chargers, which will charge the battery to the same level in around 90 minutes.
The e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT both have two electric motors. The lesser car produces 476hp, although a 2.5-second boost function raises this to 530hp. The RS model we tested has 598hp, which can be boosted to 646hp for 2.5 seconds.
Using the car’s on-board timer, we covered the 0-62mph sprint in 3.0 seconds. Three times in a row. To the tenth. The car is quick.
Acceleration is predictably Tron-like. Put your foot down and the car launches forward like little else. In fact, if you sneeze when you put your foot down, it’ll end up on the headrest, not the steering wheel.
This wild acceleration is accompanied by a ‘whoooom’ noise engineered into the car by Audi. It sounds suitably futuristic.
However, other noises are largely absent, because there’s basically no engine or wind noise. The same can’t be said for road noise, however, because that can be annoyingly present at speed.
Grip is super-strong, and the RS e-tron GT changes direction with an enthusiasm that belies its 2.3-tonne kerbweight. Yes, push it hard and it’ll wash wide of your intended line, but most of the time it’s fine.
The ride, too, is remarkable, given the diameter of the alloy wheels (21 inches on the car we drove) and the rubber-band tyres it wears. The air suspension simply deals with whatever it encounters, so nothing impacts your enjoyment.
This is a very fine place to while away the miles, but the view out isn’t very good at all.
Audi e-tron GT colours
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