Some cars are game-changers, but the Audi RS e-tron GT is going to change… Audi. It might even change you.
SINGAPORE — This is the Audi RS E-Tron GT, and it is pretty much the best electric car I’ve driven. Granted, I haven’t driven them all, but Audi’s sleek, battery-powered, four-door sedan feels like a class above what’s generally out there.
That’s owing to three basic things: it is not a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) so it doesn’t totter around corners or jiggle over bumps like one, thank everything holy. Second, it was designed as an Electric Vehicle (EV) from the outset (and isn’t a combustion conversion). Third, it’s an Audi, and it plays to the brand’s basic strengths of quality and design.
The first two apply to a handful of other EVs here, namely the Tesla Model 3 and the Porsche Taycan, which is a close cousin of this car. So perhaps what lies at the heart of the E-Tron GT’s appeal is its Audi-ness? Strap yourself in to find outE
What’s on offer here?
In Singapore you get two versions of the Audi E-Tron GT. Both are five-seaters (although that’s being slightly generous) with the same 83.7kWh battery slung underneath the cabin and a motor at each axle, giving them four-wheel drive (or “quattro” if you speak Audi). Both versions also come with a two-speed auto gearbox for the rear motor, with a shorter ratio for violent acceleration and a taller one to improve range.
The difference between them is how fast they are. The basic E-Tron GT quattro (above, in grey) has 476 horsepower, but its motors can crank out 530hp for brief bursts and send you to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds.
If that isn’t enough for you for some reason, there’s the RS E-Tron GT, the version we drove. This one has 598 horsepower, with a boost mode for 646hp in spurts. Interestingly, that makes it the most powerful roadgoing Audi, ever.
As you’d imagine. It’s devastatingly quick. We’re talking 100km/h in 3.3 seconds, officer.
Woah… but it doesn’t look too “RS”.
True. There’s little of the fearsome, racy adornment that the snorting RS models get, but if you want to play spot-the-difference there’s the striking red brake calipers, the 21-inch alloys (an inch up on the E-Tron GT), and the small flashes of blue in the headlamps that tell you laser lights are in there somewhere.
But in RS trim or not, the E-Tron GT is a striking car to look at. It’s long and wide and impossibly low (it’s just 1.4m tall), so it screams “speed” in a classically phallic way. The long teardrop silhouette means it’s slippery, too, with a drag coefficient (a measure of air resistance) of just 0.24.
Audi already builds a car to similar form in the A7 Sportback (though you’d need the RS 7 Sportback to keep up with an E-Tron GT), but the grille-free front end and sharp, clean lines mean there’s no mistaking the E-Tron GT for anything else. But the real surprise is how different it looks from its sister car, the Porsche Taycan. Whereas Stuttgart’s effort looks more petite and svelte, the Audi looms larger in terms of its presence.
Why not buy the Taycan instead?
No reason not to, actually. The Porsche does actually feel more futuristic, what with its sliding charging port covers and its digitally-adjusted air-con vents, and it’s just as fabulous to drive.
Between the standard Taycan, the 4S, Turbo and Turbo S, plus the Cross Turismo wagon versions and two different battery sizes, there’s a lot more to choose from at Planet Porsche, too.
You get a smidge more boot space with the Audi (which can haul 405 litres of stuff in the back), though not enough to make a huge difference, really, and like the Taycan, the E-Tron GT has a frunk. You’ll get 81 litres in there, so a weekend’s worth of baju in a duffel would be an easy fit.
Another win for the Audi: the rear seating is slightly less cramped, although it’s still a 2+1 setup back there. The little “foot garages” in the battery that carve out room for your feet make it over from the Taycan, which is a good thing.
But if anything tips the balance, it’ll be how familiar the cabin is, and how the E-Tron GT keeps things simple.