by Gerhard Horn
The 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT has some big shoes to fill. It's the first all-electric Audi to wear the famous RS nomenclature, which comes with huge expectations. Since the B7 RS4, Audi has consistently been churning out excellent performance variants of its standard range. This car needs to make a statement. Not only does the RS e-tron GT need to prove that the RS brand will live on into the age of electric power, but it must also fend off competition from cars like the Porsche Taycan Turbo, Tesla Model S, and Lucid Air. The RS isn't the fastest of this bunch, which seems shocking when you consider it has up to 637 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of only 3.1 seconds. But it does bring Audi build quality and luxury to the table, not to mention those sleek lines.
The RS e-tron GT is an all-new model and the first go-faster electric Audi. After playing it safe by launching an EV in the midsize SUV segment, Audi is now making a solid statement about its future. The future will be electric, but it seems as if everything is going to be fine when looking at this A7-sized four-door coupe with 590 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. Because this is an all-new model, Audi could go bonkers with the exterior and interior design. The RS e-tron GT shares multiple components with the Porsche Taycan, right down to the 114.2-inch wheelbase. We don't see that as a bad thing since the Taycan blew us away, but Audi's performance EV does set itself apart in several ways, however.
See trim levels and configurations:
|RS e-tron GT||
As you know, a hefty curb weight harms handling. This puts the 5,000-pound Audi at a disadvantage, but Audi has gone above and beyond to make it feel light on its feet. The RS has a double-wishbone, three-chamber air suspension in front, and a multi-link air suspension at the back. Along with the adaptive suspension, you get three simple driving modes: Efficiency, Comfort, and Dynamic.
The Efficiency mode is irrelevant in a go-faster car like this, but the Comfort setting works a charm. The Audi glides like a well-sorted luxury car thanks to the bigger, wider body and softer damping in Comfort mode. This is a very quiet vehicle but tire noise does intrude at higher speeds. Getting a car this heavy to perform dynamically is not easy, but manufacturers have developed several hacks for getting around this problem over the years. These include torque vectoring and rear-wheel steering. The Audi has both, although the rear-wheel steering is an option.
It's not a performance sedan in the traditional sense. The front end isn't razor-sharp, and the steering does feel too light at times. Once again, if you want the ultimate electric track weapon, go to Porsche. The Audi has been tasked with being the grand tourer, which makes its lackluster driving range all the more disappointing. It can cover ground at an alarming pace, but it's such a pity that you have to stop for a top-up of electricity every 232 miles.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
Let's cover the bad stuff first. The 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT costs more than a Tesla Model S Plaid, which is the new benchmark for straight-line performance. It's also less prestigious than the Porsche Taycan and surprisingly less practical in certain important departments. We also don't like that the RS is effectively neutered not to give Porsche any headaches. If you look at the pricing structure, you'll see a clear gap between the standard Taycans and the bonkers Turbo models. And that's where the Audi slots in. We simply don't like it when a car is not as good as it possibly could have been.
Having said that, we prefer the Audi over the Porsche in certain applications. We like the more sensible interior and suspension setup, plus the additional miles you get from the battery pack. It also has a much nicer interior and more standard features. What we like most is the choice. The EV segment is still extremely limited, and until recently, the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan were basically your only electric options in this segment. A little bit of competition is not just good for consumers, but the manufacturers as well. Porsche and Audi will push Tesla to design better interiors and improve its build quality. And Tesla will push Audi and Porsche to work on getting more range out of cars.
|Audi RS e-tron GT||591 hp||79/82 mpg||$143,900|
|Porsche Taycan Turbo||616 hp||71/75 mpg||$150,900|
|Tesla Model S Plaid||1,020 hp||119/112 mpg||$107,490|
The VW Group overlords ensured there was no overlap between these two models. The RS starts at $139,900, while the Taycan Turbo retails for $150,900. The base Turbo uses the same dual electric motor setup, which provides up to 670 hp and 626 lb-ft and a 0-60 mph time of three seconds flat. The Audi has 590 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque and will take a split second longer to hit 60. We know design is subjective, but the Audi looks glorious. The Porsche is more futuristic, but we think the Audi will age better. Interior-wise, the Audi wins hands down, but that doesn't mean the Porsche is terrible. In fact, the Taycan's 16.9-inch curved digital driver display is enough of a reason to have it over the Audi. Audi claws back some points by offering a range of 232 miles vs the Porsche Taycan Turbo's 212 miles. Choosing between these two will come down to personal preference. Both are epic cars. We'd have the Audi because of the affordability factor. Get the RS, include the Year One Package, and you have a blistering four-door electric coupe with all the good stuff.
This is the big one that both Audi and Porsche have to go up against. Tesla's EV powertrains are a few steps ahead, not just when it comes to its brutal power specs but also efficiency and range. Porsche's recent partnership with Rimac will undoubtedly decrease the gap in coming years, but for now, the Tesla comes with a set of unbeatable figures. The Plaid has a tri-motor setup delivering 1,020 hp, a claimed range of 396 miles, and a 0-60 mph sprint time of less than two seconds. Tesla keeps on moving the game forward, but the German rivals are catching up quickly. The only reason to buy the Audi over the Tesla is that you may be vehemently opposed to its CEO and his fanboys. And we can't say that we blame you. Any manufacturer with its own dating app is a bit cult-like. Also, don't forget about the continued build quality issue. Still, there's no denying the Plaid's dominance. It is the EV of the moment, and with good reason.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT: