2021 Audi RS e-tron GT review: price, specs and release date
The Audi RS e-tron GT is the first all-electric car to receive the brand's hallowed RS performance badge. Is it worthy of it?...
On sale Spring 2021 | Priced from £130,000 (est)
When a car maker is looking for big sales, building something SUV shaped is a good start. But when it’s more interested in attracting as much attention as possible, a new model that’s low and sporty can be a better option, and that explains the Audi RS e-tron GT.
It will be the brand’s fifth electric car, after the E-tron, E-tron Sportback, Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback SUVs. And yet, there are still plenty of people out there who don’t automatically think of Audi when considering alternatives to a Tesla. Above all, the E-tron GT’s job is to change that.
Put simply, this four-door coupé is Audi's take on the blisteringly quick and deeply impressive Porsche Taycan. Plus, it's the first electric car to wear the RS badge that has – for quite some time now – marked out the quickest, and most exciting cars that Audi makes.
Still, when it comes to the bare numbers it seems to justify its introduction into that esteemed lineage. Its twin motors (one at each end to give four-wheel drive) develop 612lb ft of torque and 590bhp, with this figure rising to 646bhp during launch control starts. So, despite the fact the RS e-tron GT weighs around 2.3 tonnes, it will hit 60mph from a standstill in less than 3.5sec and go onto a top speed of 155mph.
The car we're driving here is a late prototype, so some of the other numbers are still to be confirmed. However, Audi is expecting the 83.7kWh battery, which the RS e-tron GT shares with the Taycan, to deliver an official range of 249 miles. Hook the car up to a powerful but presently rather scarce 350kW charger, and you’ll be able to top its battery back up to 80% capacity in 22.5mins.
2021 Audi RS e-tron GT on the road
Performance feels every bit as impressive as the numbers suggest; as is the case with all electric cars, the RS e-tron GT responds immediately to prods of the accelerator pedal, and combined with the prodigious shove on offer, this means acceleration is extreme.
In fact, the RS e-tron GT gains speed so savagely that the sensation itself is very nearly uncomfortable, and so you don’t find yourself really noticing the artificial, sci-fi whirring that comprises the car's soundtrack. Fortunately, it’s got the braking performance to haul itself to a stop in a stable, controlled fashion, and the brake pedal feels smooth and progressive in its responses. That’s frequently not the case in electric cars.
But as astonishing as the car’s straight-line pace undoubtedly is, it’s the way it goes around corners that boggles the mind the most. A car this heavy shouldn’t be able to change direction as immediately and effortlessly as this, yet a slight twist of the wheel is all it takes to get the RS E-tron GT’s nose to dive into a bend.
The steering itself is a bit lighter and not quite as communicative as the Taycan’s, but its effect is basically the same: you find yourself shaking your head in disbelief at its responses and marvelling at the RS e-tron GT’s grip and body control. That its standard air suspension then affords it the ability to settle down and become a comfortable, refined cruiser when you're done carving through corners is the icing on the cake
2021 Audi RS e-tron GT interior
As the interior of our prototype test car was just as camouflaged as the exterior, we can’t really speak to the quality of the materials. However, small gaps in its cladding revealed tasteful wood-veneer and gloss-black panelling, which complemented the high-definition infotainment and driver’s display screens smartly.
The driving position is excellent and visibility generally good for such a low-slung car, although some may find the fabric-upholstered seats (you can have a totally ‘vegan’ interior, apparently) a bit too wide to be properly supportive during hard cornering.
There’s enough leg room in the back for taller adults, and plenty of room for feet thanks to a cleverly shaped battery pack. And while that dramatically sloping roofline does cut into head room a bit, it’s hardly claustrophobic in the back.
So, what about boot space? Well, Audi minders quickly slammed the boot shut when we tried to take a peek, however it looked big enough for a suitcase or two in the quick glance we managed. Unsurprisingly, it’s probably similar to the Taycan’s in terms of outright capacity and shares its conventional bootlid rather than the more practical hatchback found on the Tesla Model S.
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