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First drive: Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi AG.

First drive: Audi RS e-tron GT
Having a spin in a prototype version of the mighty EV from Audi, the RS e-tron GT.

 



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Audi RS e-tron GT

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

First revealed as a concept in 2019, Audi's production e-tron GT is nearly here. Sharing a platform with the excellent Porsche Taycan, Audi's take blends extra comfort and quietude with the Porsche's frenetic pace and should appeal to a slightly different demographic. It's similarly capable, though, and still hugely desirable.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Audi RS e-tron GT prototype
Pricing: 138,000 (approx., see copy)
Engine: 175kW front motor, 335kW rear motor
Transmission: Single-speed front, two-speed rear
Body style: Four-door coupe
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Combined economy: tbc
Top speed: tbc
0-62mph: <3.5sec
Power: 510kW combined (693hp)
Torque: tbc
Boot space: tbc

What's this?

If the world's most conspicuous camouflage hasn't given it away, this is a late prototype of Audi's equivalent to the Porsche Taycan, the e-tron GT. It's the RS e-tron GT specifically, which like other RS variants in the Audi range will sit right at the top of the tree, offering the most power, kit, and the largest price. In the Taycan hierarchy, though, it's roughly equivalent to the Turbo; Porsche has presumably pulled rank so that its Taycan Turbo S will remain the most potent EV in the group.

In RS form, the e-tron GT gets a 175kW (238hp) motor up front fed through a single-speed gearbox, and a 335kW (455hp) rear motor through a two-speed, much like the Taycan. Similarly, it'll only use the lowest of those two rear ratios if you're launching the car in its sportiest modes, with others starting in second for a smoother but still pretty healthy rate of acceleration. The 90kWh battery pack should give a comfortable 200 miles, and 250 miles on a charge is purportedly within realistic reach.

Other kit standard to the RS includes a steered rear axle and new carbide brake discs, with a claimed 90 per cent reduction in brake dust compared with regular steel discs and a near mirror-finish. Three-chamber adaptive air suspension is also standard - it drops the car 10mm in Dynamic mode, 22mm when cruising on the motorway to benefit aero, and raises it 20mm at low speeds to help clear obstacles. As standard, 20-inch wheels are fitted to the RS, with 21s optional - and these are again fitted to our test car.

How does it drive?

There's... well, not a lot to see inside the GT, as it's one of the few things Audi is keeping (literally) under wraps. The Alcantara steering wheel's nice though, as is the tasteful use of something approximating wood, while the vegan-friendly fabric seats, made from recycled materials, are a welcome change from Audi's usual dour and not-so vegan-friendly leather.

Audi has aimed for a more relaxed, grand-tourer feel than the Taycan, and that's how it plays out on the road. The seats and driving position are particularly comfortable, there's a touch less road noise, a touch more compliance in the suspension, and a more progressive feel to the steering in particular.

It's still wildly capable and brutally fast, as demonstrated a night earlier launching the car down a quarter-mile runway in a smidge over 12 seconds despite a lousy reaction time. The instant responses also make it natural to drive quickly and pick your 'throttle' opening as you begin to open it up mid-corner, while easily-adjusted braking regen, with a paddle behind the wheel, gets close to offering one-pedal driving. The brakes themselves feel reasonable, considering their efforts to blend friction and regen.

Four-wheel steering, a centre of gravity lower than that of an R8 and adaptive suspension sharpen things up, and help to hide a kerbweight that's well on the wrong side of two tonnes. It feels much like Audi's own RS 7 Sportback in many respects, only shorter, lower and more responsive.

Verdict

Audi tells us the prototype is technically identical to the eventual production model - it's really just the styling and interior design that are yet to be revealed. On this evidence, the high-end EV market has another very strong contender. As the car is some way off appearing in UK showrooms, the only price mentioned at the moment is a rough ballpark figure for the e-tron's home market of Germany, where the RS should go for something like 138,000. That means it isn't cheap, but the non-RS model will be nearer 100,000 and while Audi's no doubt hoping to snare a few potential Tesla buyers, it seems equally likely a few RS 7 customers will jump ship, too.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

0 0 0 0 0 Interior Ambience

0 0 0 0 0 Passenger Space

0 0 0 0 0 Luggage Space

0 0 0 0 0 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Antony Ingram - 5 Nov 2020









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2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.

2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi RS e-tron GT prototype drive. Image by Audi AG.








 

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