Audi has been partnered with MCU’s Iron Man franchise since the very first movie in 2008. By the third installment, the German carmaker was teasing its upcoming models and concept cars with the character. In 2018, Audi unveiled the e-tron GT concept and it was one of the best-looking EVs we’d seen at that point. Tony Stark’s character rolls up in an e-tron GT in his final non-combat scene in the 2019 Avengers Endgame film. Well, it’s 2021, and Audi has unveiled the production-spec model that will also be available in the sportier RS version. Of course, the RS is the one we want to discuss.
The Audi RS e-tron GT has a sportback shape, aggressive aerodynamics and angry presence. All combined, it’s enchanting. Its special 21-inch wheels also suit its electrified underpinnings. The coupe-style roofline for the four-seater GT does up the “cool” quotient of its appearance. I’d say that it looks as good if not better than the Porsche Taycan, with whom it shares its underpinnings. Details such as the headlamps and connected taillamps are the usual expensive Audi styling while the contrast black finish for the aero elements of the front fascia gives it that RS-appropriate aggression.
There is a small spoiler that sits flush in the tail-end but pops up when you pick up speed or you can even activate it on demand from the infotainment system.
Time to talk numbers. The RS is of course the performance version of the e-tron GT so it has a more powerful setup. There are two motors, one at each axle for quattro all-wheel-drive. Like the Taycan Turbo S, there is a two-speed transmission on the rear axle but you don’t actually get to shift gears. The RS e-tron GT’s dual-motor setup delivered 440kW (590bhp) and 830Nm of torque. If you use launch control, it boosts the power to 475kW (637bhp) for up to 2.5 seconds. The quoted time for its 0-100kph sprint is 3.3 seconds which is quick enough. It has sporty driving characteristics for some fun over twisty roads. Audi has put in a fair amount of work into the heavy grand tourer’s suspension with a double-wishbone construction. It does get rear-wheel-steering but not as standard.
While the RS e-tron GT takes a step forward in exterior styling and EV performance, the cabin takes a welcome step backwards. It looks like a ‘typical’ Audi RS interior with sporty seats, plenty of RS badging and a smattering of carbon fibre trim. The dashboard is driver-centric with the 10.1-inch central touchscreen display angled towards the driver’s seat. It also gets the latest generation of the Audi Virtual Cockpit, a.k.a, the digital gauge cluster. While most new, high end, Audi models get a second touchscreen in the central console for functions like climate control, the RS e-tron GT has tactile buttons and switches. Even the steering mounted controls for the driver’s display and infotainment are actual buttons with some touch functionality blended in. Say what you will about the versatility of touch controls, physical controls will always be more satisfying. Plus, they’re less distracting than fiddling around with a touch screen where you have to look to make sure you tapped the right bits. Like most luxury EVs under the VW Group, there is no large stick in the centre console since EVs don’t have gears. Instead, it has a small toggle, with a nice glass finish, to switch between drive, neutral and reverse. The stop-start button gets a red surround which is a nice detail for the RS model.
In the back, it technically seats three but is meant to seat only two people in comfort with the bolstering and scooped out footwells. Even with the sloping roofline, Audi has managed to make the RS e-tron a fairly accommodating four-seater for most average-sized humans. No fancy rear climate control screen either, just good old vents and temperature control.
Let’s talk about the batteries a bit. The Audi RS e-tron GT has a lithium-ion battery with a usable energy content of 84kWh from 396 pouch cells in 33 modules. It also has an 800V charging system that has a DC fast charging capacity of up to 270kW which can charge from 5 to 80 per cent in just 22.5 minutes (under ideal conditions). Audi states that its sporty electric GT has a range of around 472km as per the WLTP cycle.
The Audi RS e-tron GT is almost like the sleeper of the luxury EV scene. It looks understated compared to its Porsche sibling but can just as easily embarrass most sporty cars off the line. Yes, Teslas are quicker and more affordable but if you want a conventional luxury motoring experience that also happens to be practical and powered by electricity, the Audi RS e-tron GT is hard to turn down.
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