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Driven: 2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.

Driven: 2023 Audi RS e-tron GT
Will Audiís high-performance answer to the Porsche Taycan Turbo be the electric GT of choice?

   



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2023 Audi RS e-tron GT

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We've tried Audi's go-faster RS e-tron GT in prototype form, but the finished product is now an established sight on UK roads. Is the high-powered saloon a real contender in a market dominated by its sister, the Porsche Taycan, or is even this most potent e-tron GT doomed to live in the shadow of its sibling?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Audi RS e-tron GT Carbon Black
Price: £132,120 (as tested)
Engine: two electric motors
Transmission: single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Battery: 93.4kWh lithium-ion polymer (83.7kWh usable)
Power: 598hp
Torque: 830Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 294 miles
0-62mph: 3.3 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Boot space: 350 litres

Styling

The e-tron GT's styling divides opinion, but there's no denying it's modern and eye-catching. It's a much bulkier and more muscular look than that of the Taycan, but then Audi and Porsche need to keep some differentiating factors between the two cars, which are based on exactly the same underpinnings. The two companies have certainly managed that, and we suspect there will be equal numbers of those who prefer the Porsche and those who prefer the Audi, which is exactly what the two VW-owned companies are after.

Interior

The RS e-tron GT's cabin is definitely sporty, with lots of black suede, perforated leather and carbon-effect fascia trim. That surrounds a high-tech user interface that includes a big central touchscreen and Audi's brilliant Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display. With its configurable, clear display, it's one of the biggest draws of modern Audis, and it works really well with the central infotainment system. It's a pity the smartphone integration tech doesn't replicate its maps on the screen in front of the driver, though.

Quality is, as you'd expect from Audi, absolutely first rate. Everything feels premium and well built, and the materials are generally excellent. Audi has also kept physical buttons for the climate control system, which as regular readers will be aware, is a big plus point in our book.

Practicality

You don't really expect all that much from a GT car when it comes to practicality, and you certainly don't expect a car as fast as this to be swimming with space, but there's more room in there than you might expect. For those in the front, space is more than sufficient, with a great seating position and plenty of head- and shoulder-room. Legroom is good in the rear, too, although headroom is unsurprisingly tight, and boot space isn't enormous. At 350 litres, it's about the same size as that of a VW Polo, and slightly smaller than that of a Taycan.

Performance

Like the basic e-tron GT, the RS e-tron GT gets a 93.4kWh battery, but just 83.7kWh of that is usable. Whether that might increase in future or not depends on Audiís engineers, but the power output doesnít need to change at all, because that battery feeds two electric motors that combine to produce 598hp. Thatís split between all four wheels, allowing the RS e-tron GT to get from 0-62mph in a mere 3.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. Itís neck-snapping pace.

But with a more gentle application of the throttle, the car will achieve almost 300 miles on a single charge according to the official economy test. Thatís a little optimistic, and we reckon about 230-250 miles to a charge is more like it, but thatís still more than enough for most journeys. And with 270kW charging available, it shouldnít take long to fill the battery again. Using a 150kW charger Ė just over half as powerful as the e-tron GT can cope with Ė it takes 23 minutes to fill the battery from 10 to 80 per cent, offering a usable range of around 200 miles.

Ride & Handling

While the RS e-tron GT can clearly live with the Porsche Taycan models in terms of straight-line speed, the real question marks surround the handling. Traditionally not an Audi strong suit, although there have been numerous exceptions to that rule, this is where the RS e-tron GT will be weighed and measured.

By and large, it stacks up well, with slightly light but very direct and responsive steering that really allows you to throw the car around. And with all-wheel drive and massive tyres, the car can cope admirably. There's a bit of body movement, but it all feels quite stable and balanced. It just isn't quite as tactile or as communicative or as agile as the Taycan, which remains the car to beat.

And in this RS form, it isn't especially comfortable, either. Sure, it's still a bit softer than the equivalent Taycan, but it's firm around town or on country roads, and potholes can drag at the steering wheel a bit. On the motorway, it's much better, and it settles down really nicely, but it isn't perfect by any stretch.

That said, it is reasonably manoeuvrable, and visibility is better than you expect from a four-door GT car like this. There are still some hard-to-see spots, but the view from the e-tron GT is better than it has any right to be. And with camera systems abound to help with low-speed manoeuvring, it's easy enough to park. The lane departure warning system is a pain in the wotsits, though.

Value

The 'basic' e-tron GT starts at a hefty £87,800 on the road, which makes it significantly more expensive than the cheapest Porsche Taycan. In fact, at £79,200, the Taycan costs around £9,000 less. However, the basic Taycan is rear-wheel-drive and 68hp down on the Audi, which also comes with standard kit including a panoramic roof and 20-inch alloy wheels. But the RS e-tron GT tested here is noticeably more expensive, at just under £120,000. And our test car cost more than £130,000 all told. That's Taycan Turbo money, and the Porsche is similarly powerful but better to drive.

Verdict

Thereís nothing wrong with the RS e-tron GT Ė itís a hugely capable electric GT car Ė but it doesnít have the style, the capability or the badge of the Porsche Taycan Turbo, and that lets it down slightly. And with that high price tag, it looks tough to justify alongside the standard e-tron GT. That said, those who have decided they donít want a Taycan Turbo do at least have a very viable alternative, and one thatís still rapid enough to keep them entertained on their favourite back road.



James Fossdyke - 27 Sep 2023



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2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.

2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.2023 Audi RS e-tron GT. Image by Audi.








 

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