New Audi e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT to be available in May: The arrival of the new e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT in the May of this year announces Audi’s maiden voyage into the temperamental and often exciting seas of sport vehicle electrification and their embracing of the thrilling opportunities they present. While Audi is by no means the first to experiment in this field, their latest additions to their burgeoning electric range, which initially started with the e-tron SUV, promise their increasing dedication to e-mobility and their enthusiasm to rival the likes of Tesla.
The e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT themselves are based on a purely electric powertrain, which itself sits on the same J1 platform that was used as the foundations for the Porsche Taycan, and although the new variants of the e-tron do seek to imitate some aspects of the Taycan, there are several notable distinctions. Nevertheless, any similarities should not be treated as a lack of ingenuity, as a result of the excellent reviews the Taycan received that catapulted it to the top echelon of the most desirable electric vehicle’s list.
As mentioned, there will be two versions of the new Audi e-tron and, despite the fact that the RS will be more powerful than the quattro, both will share the same 800 V architecture and 93 kWh lithium ion battery. However, whereas the e-tron GT will feature an electric motor for both the rear and front axles, the RS, will be able to gloat on its tri-motor system, with a single electric motor on the front axle, and one for each of the two rear wheels. Despite this, four-wheel drive capabilities will be present in both vehicles and both will have a unique “boost” system that temporarily increases the vehicle’s maximum horsepower and acceleration when launch control is activated.
The e-tron GT quattro on its own, produces 469 brake horsepower, which can be augmented significantly, albeit for a transient moment to 523 bhp, by the launch control system. This principle also applies with the RS, whose base 590 bhp can be inflated to 637 bhp. As would be expected from the more powerful vehicle, the RS is able to utilise a total of 612 lb ft of torque in comparison to the 465 lb ft of torque available to the GT quattro and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, almost an entire second quicker than the GT quattro, which can accomplish it in 4.2 seconds. Even in spite of this rather massive difference in power, there is far less deviation in the top speeds of the GT quattro and RS with 152 mph and 155 mph respectively. Inevitably though, the RS’s greater power at its disposal gives it a lower WLTP claimed range at 280 miles than the 295 miles of the GT quattro.
Audi have gone to great lengths to ensure that both the GT quattro and RS are as aerodynamic as possible with extremely low drag coefficients that are fundamental for electric vehicles, in which the absence of exhaust pipes allows for a continuous and seemingly more aggressive diffuser to be fitted to the rear. Furthermore, the wheel alloys have been specifically designed with the intention of reducing air resistance and improving the aerodynamics of the vehicles, while the heavy lithium ion batteries and decrease in ground clearance allow for a lower centre of gravity, which in turn contributes to better handling.
A double wishbone suspension configuration mostly consisting of aluminium, as well as adaptive damping, also enable the GT quattro and RS to be comfortable and more forgiving than other models around the same price bracket. The RS then diverges from the quattro in how it comes furnished with an active rear differential, adaptive air suspension, tungsten-carbide coated brake discs (carbon ceramic brake disks are offered as an optional addition), four wheel steering, and ten piston fixed brake callipers. These all come as standard in the RS and can befitted for an increased sum for the GT quattro. While this all seems very technical, they combine to help the RS control its enormous revenue of power, while providing more reliable and better braking than in the GT quattro, as well as a more pleasant ride and more vivacious rear wheel steering action.
In terms of practicality, 405 litres of boot space at the rear and a surplus 85 litres at the front due to the lack of a combustion engine, make the GT quattro and RS able to store ample quantities of luggage that the driver may wish to take with them on their journey. The position of the 95kWh battery increases the available leg room for passengers in the back (foot garages), whilst the same 10.1 inch infotainment screen has been imported from the Audi A6, and a luxurious interior is still maintained, as has become convention with Audis, although the company prides itself on the alleged “high percentages'' of recycled materials used instead of materials such as leather. Moreover, Audi has incorporated a new heating system, as well as air conditioning, ventilation, and seat massaging functions, alongside electronically adjustable seats.
While there are more expensive options, such as the Carbon Black for the RS (which replaces certain aspects of the car for lighter carbon fibre) and the Vorsprung for both the RS and GT quattro (which does the same as the Carbon Black and also provides various technological features, such as adaptive cruise control and parking assist), the standard GT quattro is priced at £79,990, whilst the RS will be able to be purchased for £110,995.
Clearly, Audi aspires for the new e-tron vehicles, particularly the RS, to compete with the Tesla Model S, and other high performance, luxury electric vehicles like it, and while the new Model S refresh may make this considerably more difficult, it cannot be ignored that both the GT quattro and RS are both extremely impressive in their own right in terms of power and offer a decent range. They are also compatible, aside from 11 kW AC chargers, with 270 kW DC public chargers that can charge them from 5% to 80% in the space of around 23 minutes. So while Tesla may still hold the advantage, Audi’s attempts at electric vehicles with performance and sport at their heart cannot be so easily dismissed.
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