New Audi E-tron GT vs Porsche Taycan
With hugely powerful electric motors, the Audi E-tron GT and Porsche Taycan are two of the most thrilling performance cars you can buy. But which one has the upper hand?...
NEW Audi E-tron GT quattro
List price £79,900
Target Price £79,900
The E-tron GT is the Taycan’s near-identical twin under the skin but comes with a slightly more palatable list price and more standard equipment
Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus
List price £87,541
Target Price £87,541
Our reigning Performance Car of the Year is the most agile and exciting electric car we’ve driven to date. Can it be beaten?
Can you name the last Porsche that wasn’t fantastic to drive? No, we’re racking our brains, too. Everyone knows how celebrated the 911 is, while the 718 Cayman is arguably an even sweeter steer and the Macan proved to the world that SUVs can actually handle.
Then the Taycan came along and gave us sports car thrills in the electric vehicle (EV) domain. Yes, Porsche achieved the seemingly impossible: a near-2500kg EV that could zing through bends like a… zingy thing. It went on to beat the Tesla Model S and win our 2021 Performance Car of the Year award.
But now it has a challenger: the new Audi E-tron GT. This test could well be tighter than Scrooge without his wallet, because the E-tron GT is essentially a Taycan 4S with a sprinkling of Vorsprung durch Technik. Indeed, the underpinnings, dual electric motors and 93kWh battery are the same as our chosen Taycan’s.
Thankfully, there’s some differentiation that means this test isn’t a guaranteed dead heat: the E-tron GT’s set-up is a bit softer and biased more towards a grand touring ethos. And on the face of it at least, it’s slightly cheaper, too.
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
You know that feeling you get on a rollercoaster when you feel as heavy as an anvil or the fairground waltzer makes your head go squiffy? These two do something similar when they accelerate from a standing start.
It’s partly because their standard four-wheel drive systems connect them to the road so effectively that you get zero wheelspin – and therefore zero wasted energy – but mostly it’s due to their colossal power and torque. And unlike a petrol performance car, in which you have to wait for the sweet spot of peak shove in the upper echelons of its rev range, these EVs give it all from the get-go; ultimate and insane grunt is delivered the instant their motors twitch.
The E-tron GT’s motors consistently produce 469bhp and the Taycan’s 483bhp, but both cars have overboost functions that push them to 523bhp and 563bhp respectively for 2.5sec bursts. That explains why the E-tron GT is slightly slower in the 0-60mph sprint (3.9sec to the Taycan’s 3.6sec). But they’re both pretty volcanic when you’re overtaking traffic, with the E-tron GT charging from 30-70mph in 3.1sec and the Taycan again having a small but significant edge, dispatching the same sprint in just 2.8sec.
We know the E-tron GT has purposely been given a softer suspension set-up than its rival, but it still provides Stickle Brick grip in corners and, if you link a few of them together, more entertainment than almost any other EV. For the record, our car had upgraded, 21in wheels, shod with ultra-wide tyres, and an £8910 pack that includes adaptive air suspension (the standard set-up is adaptive but with regular steel springs).
Pop it into Sport mode, which stiffens the suspension, and there’s minimal lean. And like the Taycan, which has adaptive air suspension as standard, the E-tron has a playful handling balance; both cars move about satisfyingly and predictably at the rear on the way into bends and, if you want them to, on the way out as well.
But the Taycan edges ahead here too, with even tighter body control that affords it greater composure on uneven surfaces, plus meatier steering that’s a little more reassuring when you’re pressing on. Mind you, the E-tron’s lighter steering is advantageous when manoeuvring at slower speeds.
These two brake better than most EVs, both in terms of stopping distances (just over 43 metres from 70mph is impressive for such heavy cars) and how smoothly you’re able to kill speed. You see, they use their motors to help recoup energy as you slow down – something that’s called regenerative braking – and in many EVs the integration of this with the ‘normal’ brakes is rather clumsy. Here, it’s generally very good, albeit not quite as seamless as in some Teslas.
At 70mph, the Taycan 4S is quieter than the Taycan Turbo we tested last year. The difference is most likely explained by the 4S’s smaller wheels and tyres, which also generate less roar than this E-tron GT’s fat tyres. Wind noise is subdued in both, although there is the occasional shunt under hard acceleration. That’s caused by the two-speed automatic gearboxes that drive their back wheels; they tend to thump when shifting into their higher ratio.
The E-tron GT’s suspension clumps away more noisily over broken surfaces, although its softer set-up manifests as an exceptionally calm motorway ride. The Taycan is plush-riding at speed, too, and far more settled than the Tesla Model S. Being stiffer and more composed, it doesn’t sway its occupants around quite as much as the E-tron GT does at lower speeds. The trade-off is that you experience firmer jolts over speed bumps.
Officially, the Taycan (fitted with the £3906 Performance Battery Plus) has a 288-mile range, while the E-tron GT’s is 295 miles. In our real-world testing, which is carried out on a private track to simulate a mix of city, country road and motorway driving, they both posted near-identical energy usage figures that suggest a real-world range of just over 230 miles.
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