In a world where fuel prices are only going one way, electric performance cars are becoming increasingly attractive for those in the market with supercar money. With lower running costs and power that matches up to petrol-powered supercars, the performance EV market is heating up. One such car is this, the 637 horsepower Audi RS e-tron GT, which could be one of the best electric cars in the world right now. It is the first all-electric Audi to wear the legendary RS badge, following on from a dynasty that includes the RS4 and RS6. It goes up against other electric cars like the Porsche Taycan, which it shares lots in common with, and it has a claimed 465 kilometre range and a starting price tag of over €142,000! But does it deserve full RS status and can it justify such an eye watering price tag?
The RS e-tron GT is one of those rare cars that looks absolutely fantastic from every angle, and it draws a lot of attention out on the road as a result. It uses the same platform as the Porsche Taycan which explains the resemblance. While styling is a very subjective thing, I personally prefer the look of the Audi over the Porsche, with its sharp lines, smooth grille and sloping roof line. You can have it in two different models, the entry e-tron GT Quattro and the range-topping RS e-tron GT that you see here.
Both cars have an electric motor on the front and rear wheels, four wheel drive, a two-speed gearbox for acceleration and a huge 93kwh battery. The entry Quattro has up to 523 horsepower which is impressive enough, but the RS model gets up to 637horsepower! More on the performance later. It’s easy to tell that this is the fully-fledged RS model with optional 21-inch alloy wheels, huge red brake callipers, black grille and rear diffuser, and RS badges throughout. This one has some optional extras including privacy glass, an RS design pack and this eye-catching Ascari Blue metallic paint.
If we could use one word to describe the RS when you sit inside, it is special. Of course, you would expect this from a car that carries a €145,000 price tag however. Everything from the RS sports seats, optional carbon fibre inlays, red-coloured seat belts and flat bottom steering wheel tell you that this is a car to be reckoned with. Quality is exceptional in here, with soft touch suede and stitching across the dashboard and doors and a huge panoramic glass roof that floods natural light into the cabin.
Space is good up front although taller drivers will have to hunch down quite a lot to sit inside in classic sports car style. Once you are in though, the seating position is very good, as these RS seats hugging you into position with lots of electric adjustment available through the seats and steering wheel. Unlike the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS, the e-tron GT has a smaller touch screen system on the dashboard which is nice as the interior feels more driver focused. Sometimes this is as much screen as you need. The graphics are sharp and system is easy to use with the usual wireless Apple Car Play integration, along with Audi’s digital driver’s display for all of your driving information.
Being the RS model it gets plenty of upgrades including red-coloured seat belts and a Bang & Olufsen 3D surround sound system that sounds superb with a good Spotify playlist. Storage can be hard to come by with a tiny area under the driver’s arrest and a small area here, however it can be difficult to find a place to leave your smartphone.
In the rear there is enough space for two adults to sit in comfort on a long journey. Head room is decent, and you get a comfortable armrest with two cupholders built-in, two USB-C charge points below this and a pair of ISOFIX mounts. As sports cars go, the boot in the RS e-tron GT is pretty good. You get 405 litres of room with a long and flat load area. As the boot lid is small it will be difficult to carry large items however, but you can spec a roof rack to load a bicycle for example. Elsewhere there is a 12-volt socket and some additional small storage underneath the floor and in the sides. Up front the RS e-tron GT gets an additional 81-litres of room for other items, best-suited to charge cables as the ports for charging are located either side at the front of the car.
So the RS e-tron GT is meant to be a grand tourer more than a sports car, but as soon as you start to drive you realise it is more of the latter. It has two electric motors, one up front and the other at the rear, sending 590 horsepower to all four wheels through an unusual two-speed gearbox. When you use launch control however, power is boosted to 637 horsepower for a short 2.5 second burst, which means it is the most powerful Audi RS model to date! From launch, the RS e-tron GT can sprint from 0-100km/h in around 3.3 seconds, and it feels every bit as fast, pulling you back into the seat under heavy acceleration.
Now that sprint time is almost half a second slower than the Porsche Taycan Turbo S and slower again than the Tesla Model S, but in all honesty it doesn’t feel it! It is mind-numbingly fast with more power than you could possibly need from a road car. Unusually for an EV, it has a two speed gear-box attached to the rear electric motor which means the motor can be made more efficient, going into a lower gear for low-speed acceleration and then stepping up for more speed. There are all sorts of electrical aids that make it more forgiving to drive than a car with 600 odd horsepower should be. Similarly, it is just as easy to cruise along in comfort mode, with surprisingly good turning due to the four wheel steering on this model.
More impressive still is the ride quality on these bumpy mountain roads. The RS gets air suspension as standard and even on these huge 21-inch wheels it rides majestically, so smooth for a car weighing 2.3 tonne! Stopping a car this heavy is a challenge but the cast iron discs and enormous brake callipers give It tremendour stopping power. You can even spec carbon ceramic brakes on the RS but that is probably pointless unless you are planning to take it on track regularly. The RS e-tron GT feels lighter than it actually is, with agile handling and it is responsive steering. Audi claims it even has a lower centre of gravity than an R8, which driving it right here and now I am starting to see!
The driving sounds in the RS e-tron GT lend it a sense of speed, which is something that all EVs should have in our opinion. The sound is something I would describe as a cross between a transformer and a LUAS tram, but I love it! The RS e-tron GT has a claimed range of up to 465 kilometres from a full charge which is good, but not quite at the level of some of its rivals. That sort of range should be achievable with 21 kwh/100km in efficiency, and we are currently managing 20kwh/100km so the usage is quite accurate too, when driven frugally.
Although it will be very difficult to find a charger fast enough, it can charge at up to 270 kilowatts, thanks to the 800 volt architecture that it uses. With a more commonplace 150 kilowatt charger, the RS e-tron GT can charge from 5 up to 80 percent in around 25 minutes. With a home charger you will have to patient as the huge 93.4 kwh battery will take around 13 hours to charge with a standard 7.4 kilowatt home charger. It will accept an 11 kilowatt AC feed as standard however. It took me around 9 hours for a 50 percent top up at home overnight. There is lots of safety tech on the RS to get accustomed to including four wheel steering, acoustic vehicle alerting system, parking system plus and audi pre sense front assistance.
Prices for the entry e-tron GT Quattro start from €105,640 in Ireland and it offers more than you will ever need from a fast electric grand tourer. The full-on RS model starts from a whopping €144,180 in Ireland however which is even more expensive than high-spec Porsche Taycan models like the 4S and GTS! As you would expect, standard spec is incredible with 20-inch wheels, sports electric seats with microfibre leather upholstery, the panoramic glass sunroof, Audi’s top end infotainment systems and lots more included. Our test car leaves little to be desired with a price tag north of €160,000! This includes options such as the larger 21-inch wheels, carbon fibre detailing, pro level sports seats and optional Ascari Blue paint. But Is it worth over €160,000? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
So should you buy the Audi RS e-tron GT? Well if you are considering switching to an electric supercar that has styling, comfort and performance in abundance, it should be high on your list. The design is stunning, the drive is breathtaking and it ultimately offers the added benefits of much-reduced EV driving costs. That said, the RS e-tron GT carries a massive price tag, which is much more than the Porsche Taycan or Tesla Model S which are both faster and have a lower entry price tag. If this is the future of electric sports cars, then it’s a future that I am very much looking forward to! Given the recent monumental hike in fuel prices, perhaps the time has come where having a petrol-powered supercar doesn’t make as much sense when you can have something like this, which can be charged at home for a few euro.