This week I’m reviewing the Audi RS e-tron GT and when it comes to Audi production vehicles, there’s nothing quicker. The benefits of an all-electric powertrain are certainly on display for all to see with this car, offering a crazy acceleration speed of 0-100km/hr in just 3.3 seconds.
Technically this speed was matched by the R8 V10, but go to the Audi Australia website and you won’t find it. instead, you’ll be greeted with an Audi front page that prominently features the e-tron and one of the top 5 menu items on the site is ‘Electric’ showing that Audi is taking the electrification journey seriously and the flagship in performance is the all-electric RS e-tron GT.
Having driven the car for a few days now, I’m getting my head around the performance of the vehicle which I have to say, is off the chain, ridiculous. I’m not like most people who climb behind the wheel of this car, in that I jump in with the background of a Tesla Model 3 Performance as my daily driver.
On paper, these two vehicles feature the same 3.3s acceleration time, but in practice, the two cars are incredibly different in the way they achieve that performance and how the driver experiences it.
Here’s the bit I love about reviewing cars is that you can’t tell everything you need to simply by reading and comparing stats online, proved most significantly by my drive yesterday.
The RS e-tron GT offers 440 kW of power or 475 in boost mode, and a massive 830 Nm of torque. That performance comes from an all-wheel drive system thanks to electric motors on the front and rear axles, powered by a 93kWh battery pack. While the large 2,420kg unladen weight is heavy (M3P weighs just 1844kg), it certainly doesn’t feel like it. That car has a low centre of gravity thanks to most of that weight being low, in the vehicle’s floor, which means body roll is virtually non-existing and the car is super snappy off the line (or at any speed really).
Yesterday I had the opportunity to take the RS e-tron GT on a mountain pass, a local road (one of the benefits of living in regional Victoria) and experience everything this car has to offer.
Audi Engineers have clearly made a very conscious choice to make the driving dynamics of this car exciting, engaging and requires you to be active behind the wheel.
When you’re done with picking up the milk from the shops and ready to have fun, you’ll want to flick the drive mode selector to Dynamic. In this mode, everything gets more exciting.
The steering and suspension become sharper, the throttle response is exceptional and the sound becomes the most fierce, preparing you to take on the corners at speeds you never thought possible.
When you plant your foot on the go pedal, you are most definitely NOT on autopilot. The car moves beneath you, like a ravid snake that wants to bite you, so you best be careful.
The power under you is something you feel and while Audi could have had traction control take over completely, they have conscious choice not to, in an effort to deliver a more exhilarating driving experience. Having driven the car in anger, I can confirm, this works and certainly delivers a visceral response that demands your complete attention.
Audi pumps artificial sounds into the cabin of the e-tron and as a concept, I hate artificial things, but in practice, I’m now much more open to this. Back in 2019 when I reviewed the Jaguar i-Pace, they did a similar thing, but the implementation wasn’t nearly the same. It felt like Jag were having a go, but small delays in the correlation between throttle application and performance meant this felt more gimmicky.
What Audi has created by leveraging digital sounds is a complete driving experience. This means when you come from an ICE vehicle, you don’t get left cold in terms of noise. The experience of driving this car.
The car uses massive rear tyres to achieve this stunning performance both in a straight line, but also around corners. Audi went with the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric and in the rear, they are huge 305/30R21. At Bob Jane T-Marts, you’ll pay $653 per tyre, at Supercheap Auto, it’s $648 so when they wear out, be prepared to spend big on rubber to get the most out of this car.
This car has a top speed of 250km/hr and if you’re on the track, you’ll be able to leverage active aerodynamics with a rear spoiler that extends automatically at higher speeds. The car’s floor is full of batteries and features a flat underside which combines with a large rear diffuser that commands the air to obey as it passes to the rear of the vehicle, allowing maximum stability to be delivered when you ask it around corners.
After driving the mountain pass and watching back the footage, it’s clear I don’t breathe for portions of the drive, my breath is taken partly by the stunning views, but mostly by the performance available on command, time and time again.
After relentless requests for the brake pedal, there were never any signs of brake fade, helped by the massive dinner plate-sized discs, guarded by the red callipers, letting everyone know they mean business. As amazing as my Model 3 Performance- is, brakes are the weakest chain in the performance link, so I’m glad to see it addressed in the Audi.
Having experienced the performance of this amazing vehicle, I want to appeal to those who buy this car, don’t keep it restricted to the urban city streets, that’s a complete waste, please take it and enjoy it in all of its glory on windy country roads.
While a price tag starting around A$250,000 the Audi RS e-tron GT will be well outside many budgets, for those that can afford it and would have otherwise bought an ICE vehicle, this gives you an amazing electric option that features even better performance, while having lower running costs as charging the EV is far cheaper than refuelling ICE vehicles and has a nice side benefit of helping the environment.
If you love the car but don’t prioritise performance over budget, then you should consider the non-RS version which is still quick at 4.1 seconds.
Now for the launch video.