General

Review: Audi RS E-tron GT is the best car I’ve driven this year

The 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT

It’s no surprise that Audi’s fastest car bears an RS badge, as those two letters stand for “RennSport” or “Race Sport” by way of English translation from the original German. What’s more interesting is that the crown holder isn’t the most popular flavor of the automaker’s mid-engine R8 supercar, but rather an all-electric Grand Tourer that adds an extra set of doors to its sibling’s spaceship aesthetic.

More than just a pack of consonants plastered onto the back of a battery-powered interstellar rocket, the 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT isn’t just the best Audi you can buy right now, it’s also one of the strongest around. the whole line of choices for anyone seeking high-quality transportation with personality, style and grace. This astonishing car is proof that electric vehicle development is on its way, as luxury badges emphatically demonstrate that there are far out of reach reasons why you might want to go gas-free.

As long as you have the scratch, that is.

The 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT in red

This is what you want your $140,000 EV to look like.

Audi

Light on his feet, less temperamental than Tesla

Much of the initial wow factor associated with the RS e-tron GT derives from the twin motor provided by its electric powertrain. The system manages the front and rear axles and is linked to an 85 kWh battery, giving it a rated power of 590 hp. In addition, an overboost feature uses the full power of the vehicle’s cooling system to boost things up to 637 horses and 612 lb-ft of torque for 2.5 of the 3.1 seconds it officially takes the Audi to reach 60 mph. achieve when using its launch control system.

If those numbers seem absurd, it’s because they are. While it’s not as fast as the mightiest model Porsche Taycan (which shares the e-tron GT’s 800-volt platform), it’s a snap in real-world testing that the actual timed run drops below three seconds. Also keep in mind that, despite being a second slower than the 1,020-hp Tesla Model S Plaid, the e-tron doesn’t need any of the theatrical aspects associated with that vehicle’s Drag Strip mode launch control (which takes up to 15 minutes). requires battery conditioning before turning on) . Just hold the brake and flatten the go pedal in Dynamic mode and the Audi is gone – again and again, thanks to the GT’s excellent thermal management.

Slingshot party tricks eventually wear out, but the overall effect of the RS e-tron GT’s instant torque never does. Beneath the right shoe lies a bottomless pool of pound feet that you can be plunged into at any point, rewarding the driver with the kind of responsive, reality-bending thrust more often associated with big circus guns. Combined with the vehicle’s two-speed transmission, four-wheel drive system (which instantly shifts power delivery from one wheel to another to maintain traction and stability), and the RS edition’s standard rear-axle steering, the e-tron GT betrays almost none of that. are about 5,100 pounds curb weight.

Even cornering, its mass is largely obscured, concentrated as low as in the chassis (with the vehicle’s overall ride height two inches shorter than the gas-fired RS7 sedan). It’s especially upon braking the terrifying top speeds easily accessible to the Audi that its true weight is revealed, especially on the winter tires my test vehicle was fitted with. I was asked to learn a new language to communicate with a car whose every move was shrouded in a shell of electrons, but that’s part of the fun of entering into a new culture – one that ultimately is electrical anthropology. in the lives of drivers on every rung of the price ladder.

Interior of the 2022 Audi RS e-tron GTInterior of the 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT

More than enough comfort, without a half-baked “high-tech” interface.

Audi

Limit where it matters

If the Audi RS e-tron GT had only been exceptionally fast – a hallmark of luxury EVs – it might not have made such a strong impression. Fortunately, the rest of the package is equally formidable.

Visually, the RS e-tron GT has a beautiful profile, more graceful than its Taycan cousin yet vicious enough to convey the firepower carefully coiled beneath its sheet metal and glass. Reinforcing the sense that the GT is something special: the motion-activated, context-sensitive digital symphony of sound that rises and falls both inside the car (to tickle the pilot’s ear canal) and outside (to keep pedestrians informed of the Audis) . presence). It’s a swirling cloud of faintly electrified industrial pan-pipe musings, running from bass clef to treble as speeds pick up.

Inside, the environment of the e-tron is luxurious without being overwhelming. Forget wraparound screens, gesture controls, or augmented reality. Instead, the GT presents a pair of LCD panels (driver cluster and center console) coupled with climate control knobs and switches and steering wheel buttons that can work with almost anything else (the only misstep being the do-everything circular multi-function touch controller on the console, which can be easily bypassed).

In addition to its design limitation, the cabin itself is comfortable fore and aft, provided your torso is short enough to scrape under the car’s sloping roofline at the rear. With decent under-hatch storage and a handy albeit short front windshield, the e-tron GT lives up to its grand name by providing excellent accommodation on longer journeys.

The car’s power pack also allows for longer stays, provided you can find a station that takes advantage of the Audi’s maximum charging speed of 270 kW. When properly connected, the battery can add just over 100 kilometers of driving distance after just five minutes of charging, or 23 minutes to 80% full if it’s low. Your experience will vary, but even on relatively slow 7 to 11 kW chargers, I had no trouble keeping up with the e-tron GT around Montreal, nor taking a 250-mile road trip in colder weather through mountainous terrain.

The 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT in redThe 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT in red

Not the fastest, not the best range, but maybe the best overall.

Audi

More money, less reach, but not a deal breaker

A road trip was indeed a positive experience, despite the overall range being one of the few weak spots on paper for the RS. Fully charged, it has been officially rated at 232 miles by the EPA, which I was able to easily match even when riding on high rolling resistance rubber. While the range is more than enough for the demands of real-world driving, it’s still well below the 350 miles promised by the Mercedes-Benz EQS, or the 405 driving miles for the Tesla Model S.

The RS e-tron GT surpasses its rivals in range and also manages to surpass them in price. With a starting demand north of $140,000 (before adding tens of thousands in optional equipment), the RS trim is nearly 40% more expensive than its base model and several of its main rivals, with only the upper Taycans surpassing its window decal.

Whether that matters to you depends entirely on how you plan to use your electrified steed. If long-haul journeys are regularly on the menu, longer range is of course more convenient, but if you prefer to fly from one city to another, it doesn’t matter if you occasionally have to stop before the Silver Star for a fee crowd or Teslarati.

The Audi prompts a decision based on its convincingly expansive personality, which is based on its overall driving experience rather than tied to how long you can hypermile before having to stop and get onto the grid. The era of luxury BEVs courting customers beyond the limits imposed by their battery packs and aero profiles has begun, and the RS e-tron GT is in the front row.

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