If you’re going to cheat, be sure you’re cheating off the smartest kid in class. Audi seems to have taken that sinful lesson to heart with its E-Tron GT, the EV sedan that shares its platform, battery technology, and two-speed rear gearbox with the stellar Porsche Taycan.
Now, to be fair, the cars’ shared architecture was jointly developed by both Porsche and Audi, but as the first version to hit the market, the Taycan earned itself plenty of fans (my fellow editors and I among them). So how does the RS E-Tron GT, which shares so much with the Taycan, fare against those high expectations? Luckily for Audi, its flagship EV has a personality all its own, one that’s just as appealing as the slinky Porsche – even without considering the E-Tron GT’s lower cost.
A vehicle's ratings are relative only to its own segment and not the new-vehicle market as a whole. For more on how InsideEVs rates cars, click here.
|2023 Audi RS E-Tron GT
|Dual Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
|637 Horsepower / 612 Pound-Feet
Gallery: 2023 Audi RS E-Tron GT Review
- Exterior Color: Kemora Gray
- Interior Color: Arras Red
- Wheel Size: 21 Inches
Opinions are like armpits: Everyone’s got ‘em and they all stink. Well, my personal armpit is that the Porsche Taycan’s smooth bodysides, 911-aping front end, and curvaceous haunches are prettier than the RS E-Tron GT’s angular styling and faux single-frame grille. At least for 2023, the front end insert is now body-color instead of monolithic dark gray, and the RS E-Tron GT still benefits from the long, low, sleek stance that the architecture dictates.
My other armpit tells me that the Audi E-Tron GT’s interior is actually nicer to look at than the Taycan’s. The beveled, techno-chic appearance is far more futuristic, and every surface is coated in rich materials – the seats get honeycomb-quilted Nappa leather, the dashboard is covered in genuine hide, there are sweeping spears of matte carbon fiber trim, and the Dinamica suede headliner looks posh and cosseting. Although it doesn’t offer the Porsche’s funky rose-gold accents, Audi does a good job of making the RS E-Tron GT feel contemporary and stylish, especially with the Arras Red colorway livening up the severe Kamora Gray paintwork.
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 9.2 + 1.8 Cubic Feet
Riding low on massive 21-inch wheels, I was expecting the RS E-Tron GT to exact a ride-comfort toll in exchange for its brilliant stance. But thanks to a standard three-chamber air suspension and superbly tuned dampers, the Audi handles rough pavement with poise. It’s impossible to defy physics completely, but impacts mostly get smothered by the air springs, with only a muted *thwump* making its way to your backside. Dual-pane front windows and an RS-standard carbon roof – replacing fixed glass on lesser E-Tron GTs – also ensure a quiet ride.
The lightweight roof structure, however, reduces headroom a bit compared to the panoramic glass, and it makes the cabin feel cozier (some might say more claustrophobic). There’s plenty of space up front, to be sure, but your rear-seat passengers had best be small-to-medium if they want to fit within the 36.5 inches of headroom and 32.2 inches of legroom back there. There also isn’t a ton of space for stuff, either inside the cabin or in the 9.2-cubic-foot rear trunk. At least there’s a nominal 1.8 cubes under the hood, perfect for hauling around emergency supplies, a first aid kit, and other seldom-used (but still important) gear.
- Center Display: 10.1-Inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: Yes/Yes
The RS E-Tron comes with a standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a decently sized 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen. The former, dubbed Audi Virtual Cockpit, boasts plenty of customization, including a full-screen map display, track-focused graphics, or traditional gauges. The latter is easy to learn and use on the fly, although it requires harder finger presses than I might otherwise like because of its haptic feedback. Audi doesn’t offer the Taycan’s optional passenger display, which feels like overkill to me, but some customers might miss it.
The standard Bang & Olufsen sound system is excellent, and the tweeters’ mechanized ballet on startup and shutdown is fun to watch. Lossless audio sources yield crystal-clear sound, and the audio system even filters out some of the tinny harshness found on satellite radio. The RS E-Tron GT’s ambient lighting is customizable, although it doesn’t offer the animations or flowing color shift of the Mercedes-AMG EQS. Still, the whole tech suite is easy to use and enhances the experience almost universally.
- Motor: Dual Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
- Output: 637 Horsepower / 612 Pound-Feet
- Battery: 93.4-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion
With up to 637 horsepower in boost mode (590 ponies the rest of the time), the Audi RS E-Tron GT splits the output difference between the 590-hp Porsche Taycan GTS and the 670-hp Taycan Turbo. The Audi also gets the same two-speed transmission incorporated into the rear axle motor as the Taycan lineup – the front axle motor is single-speed only – giving it far better acceleration once you’re already on the go. While many EVs run out of steam once at freeway speed, the RS E-Tron GT still has more to give. The net result of that wizardry is a 0-60 time of 3.1 seconds, four-tenths quicker than a Taycan GTS and just one-tenth down on the Turbo.
The Audi RS E-Tron GT is less involving than its Porsche kin, with slightly aloof steering that seems to prefer high-speed grand touring more than max-attack canyoneering. Still, with the suspension set to its firmest (but still not harsh) Dynamic setting and abundant grip from the Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires, the RS E-Tron GT is exciting to hustle up a fun road, with neutral manners and quick responses that inspire tons of confidence.
Unfortunately, both Porsche and Audi suffer for not offering one-pedal driving, with throttle-off regeneration that feels like engine braking. The driver can call for more by flapping the left steering wheel paddle, but even with maximum regen, you still have to use the brake pedal below 10 mph or so. And the system defaults to its least aggressive setting when you start off from a stop, requiring you to repeat the process next time. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes, featuring massive 16.4-inch front and 16.1-inch rear discs, is up to the task of slowing the 5,139-pound sedan, but it’d be nice if the electric motors did more of the work.
The Audi RS E-Tron GT comes standard with every piece of safety technology the automaker offers in the US, namely adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane centering, lane departure prevention, and blind spot monitoring with collision prevention. It took me a moment to remember that the lane centering button is distinct from the adaptive cruise control, mounted on the end of the turn signal stalk. But once I got all the systems up and running, the Audi’s active safety and driver-assistance systems did their job pretty well, with only a little back-and-forth from the steering when traversing any of LA’s confusingly grooved concrete freeways.
|Max DC Charge Rate
|Audi RS E-Tron GT
|Lucid Air GT Performance
|Porsche Taycan GTS
|Tesla Model S Plaid
Looking at the E-Tron GT’s EPA rating, one might expect it to score lower here. But it earns back lots of points thanks to a charge speed that’s nearly best in class. What’s more, both the Audi and its Porsche cousin tend to outperform government range estimates.
- Base Price: $143,900 + $1,495 Destination
- Trim Base Price: $145,395
- As-Tested Price: $164,890
The $145,395 Audi RS E-Tron GT is priced right in the heart of its competitive set. The only vehicle that’s convincingly less expensive is the admittedly much quicker Tesla Model S Plaid, which starts at $107,490 at the time of this writing and can accelerate to 60 mph in 2.0 seconds. The Lucid Air Grand Touring starts at $139,725 and is a bit quicker to 60 than the RS E-Tron, as is the $148,700 Mercedes-AMG EQS.
My tester featured a $7,100 braking package (carbon-ceramic front and rear brakes and 21-inch wheels), a $6,450 Carbon Performance package (laser-fired headlights, blacked-out badging, carbon fiber door sills and side skirts, and rear-wheel steering), and $5,350 worth of interior upholstery, for an as-tested price of $164,890. The RS E-Tron GT’s cramped rear seat and small trunk will be turnoffs for some, as will its unimpressive range ratings, but fast charge times and peerless interior materials will win fans, as will the low-slung styling that eschews the higher stance of rivals like the EQS.
I’m not much for overkill, so if it were my cash, I’d probably stick with the less powerful but equally stylish Audi E-Tron GT, which gets 496 hp and a slightly longer range, as well as a $40,000 lower price when equipped with all of my tester’s luxury goodies. And yet, the RS E-Tron GT is the quickest Audi currently sold in the US, so I doubt it’ll have a hard time making friends at any price.
2023 Audi RS E-Tron GT