Audi RS e-tron GT review: Culture Shock

    Audi’s latest RS might not roar or rumble, but can it offer the full experience?

    Published on Feb 13, 2022 08:00:00 AM

    15,692 Views

    Make : Audi
    Model : e-tron GT
    We Like
    • Explosive performance
    • Striking looks
    • Everyday useability
    We Don't Like
    • Low ground clearance
    • Acoustic sounds lack charm

    Audi’s EV strategy for India has been offensive to say the least. It is the only manufacturer currently to have four models in its EV portfolio. We’ve driven the e-tron, e-tron Sportback, and even the e-tron GT, however, the best was saved for the last. The flagship of Audi’s EV range – the RS e-tron GT. It might resemble the standard GT on many fronts, but the red rhombus on the grille is a reminder that this is the most powerful car Audi has ever made. It is a mighty crown to carry and, as a result, the expectations are at an all-time high. 

    2022 Audi RS e-tron GT exterior: Oomph Generator

    Like we mentioned, the RS e-tron GT has a lot of cues from the standard version we drove not too long ago. In fact, put them side by side, and apart from the badging, you will not be able to tell them apart. A clue is to look for blacked-out badges as the standard car gets them finished in chrome. 

    At the front, it gets LED MATRIX headlamps as standard, the bumpers are sporty and sculpted for perfect aerodynamics, and it also gets vents in the front that channel air to the brakes and through the side of the car.

    Swanky 20-inch alloys are optimised for airflow.

    The bonnet has a large indent that looks sharp and dynamic, and no matter the paint shade, it will turn heads and bring out the cameras. 

    Over to the side, the coupe-like roofline is the highlight. It is responsible for the svelt look of the RS along with the 20-inch wheels that look stunning. They too are optimised for airflow, and offer a helping hand in cutting through the air. The rear is where you’d notice the RS badge and the beautiful long LED light bar. Safe to say that there isn’t an angle on the RS that won’t excite the eight year old in you. 

    2022 Audi RS e-tron GT interior: Watts on the inside?

    Step inside the RS, and the cabin is a much clearer indication of its RS pedigree. The layout is the same as that of the standard version, but you get sporty bits all over. The steering wheel is wrapped in Alcantara, there is a carbon fibre design on the dashboard paired with plenty of piano black and brushed aluminum. The seats too are sportier and have a good dose of red stitching. It also gets a 12.3-inch virtual cockpit that is hugely customisable. RS-worthy bits include a lap timer along with a calculator for 0-100kph, 0-200kph and even your quarter-mile times. Handy when you want to slay some supercars on the drag strip. There is also the 10.1-inch touchscreen MMI system and thankfully, it is the only touchscreen in here. In place of the second screen low down, which you see on other high-end Audis, the RS has physical switches that are much more convenient. There is, of course, wireless charging in the centre compartment, and for sunroof lovers, the RS gets a full glass roof. However, as an option, you can get a carbon fibre roof that will help shed a few kilos.

    Sloping roofline eats into headspace. Back seat best for two.

    The front seats also get fantastic massaging options, which is rather useful after a long day of hard driving. At the rear, space is best for two adults and the swooping roofline means it feels snug in here. Best then if it is used by children, or maybe, friends or relatives. Because you just wouldn’t want to leave the driver’s seat in this RS. 

    360-degree camera hugely helpful in parking this big EV.

    2022 Audi RS e-tron GT performance: Shock Therapy

    The big change the RS badge brings to the e-tron GT is the gain in power. It is the most powerful car Audi has ever produced making a whopping 646hp and 830Nm. It isn’t surprising then that the claimed 0-100kph time is a hysterical 3.3secs. And what better way to start off the drive than finding out the merit in the numbers. Launch control engaged, foot on brake, build up boost, prepare your organs and lift off the brakes. 

    Tungsten carbide-coated calipers offer stellar braking.

    No matter how many supercars you have experienced, and how savage they have been, nothing can match the shock to the system that you get with an EV this powerful. Sure enough, it managed to break its own claim clocking 3.2secs, and reassured me that the future is, indeed, rather bright. With an ICE supercar that has similar numbers, a 0-100kph hard launch is the equivalent of being pulled ahead by a lasso. You see it coming. The engine is screaming, the needle is bouncing off in the tachometer, and you get a fraction of a second to prepare as you lift off the brakes. It feels a lot more normal. On the RS, it is as if you are being shoved from the back. You never know how much force to expect, the motors are dead silent, and all of that 830Nm comes instantaneously, and that is what makes it thrilling. No matter how many launches you do, each time is just as exciting and will raise your heartbeat and have you gasping for breath. The two motors, one on each axle, an e-quattro system, which is the most evolved version of quattro yet, and the two-speed transmission are all equally responsible for the savage performance.  

    The two-speed transmission has been incorporated not just for acceleration, but also cruising speeds. The short first gear helps give it that initial kick, and the tall second gear helps continue the charge ahead. The e-quattro system makes sure the right amount of power goes to the right wheel and it is completely seamless. Then there’s the controlled rear differential, which, again, is there to make sure power is being delivered in the most optimum way. It is all very clever tech, and hugely sophisticated, but the end result has you giggling like a child. 

    Sci-fi sounding synthetic sounds lack the charm of a V8 roar.

    Handling too is incredible for a car this size. The optional all-wheel steering shrinks the RS in tight corners and the electromechanical power steering plus adjusts the weight depending on the mode. All combined, you never feel any lack in communication or feedback. That said, despite helping a fair bit, you do feel the heft in the corners. The RS isn’t exactly featherweight, and when you push it, the bulk is felt. It feels big and you need to be careful on a set of narrow twisties. 

    However, the grip and body control is excellent. The RS also gets adaptive air suspension that adds a lovely duality to the overall character. In ‘Comfort’ it is composed and pliant but the ground clearance is a bit of an issue over big bumps, and you need to be careful while driving it around town. Engage ‘Dynamic’ and the suspension ducks down, the performance is a lot sharper, and the ride is as firm as you get on any RS. Chuck it hard in a corner, and all the wizardry from the e-quattro, the diff and the all-wheel steering comes into play. It is properly fun to drive and the only missing bit, unfortunately, is that exhaust growl that you associate with an RS. Of course, there is no engine, but Audi has used synthesised sounds to add some thrill. Now, while they do sound very sci-fi, and like they belong in the next Star Wars film, they just can’t match the thrill of a good ol’ V8. Tunnels aren’t exciting with the RS e-tron GT, and in supercar rallies, nobody will hear you coming. It is more Batman than Iron Man in this aspect. 

    Big charging cable occupies most of the 85-litre frunk.

    That said, when you need to stop the madness, the brakes on the RS are mighty impressive. The brake calipers coated in tungsten carbide help with heat dissipation, reduce wear and also prevent excess brake dust. However, what you will feel is the strong bite they offer. If the organs in your body have been thrown at the back after the manic acceleration, the brakes ought to get them back in position or even a bit further. 

    The RS e-tron GT is a mighty supercar, but it is also a proper EV. From the 93.4kWh battery pack, Audi claims a range of 401-481km. In the real world, you can expect a shade above 300km. Recharging times are also the same as the standard e-tron GT. A charge from 5-80 percent with an 11kW charger will take 9hrs30min, on a 22kW charger it would take 5hrs15min, and if you manage to find a 270kW charger, it would take just 22min. It also has three levels of recuperation, and while they are not as strong as we would have liked, they do help a fair bit, especially while driving downhill.

    405-litre of boot space is plenty, but a spare wheel is optional.

    2022 Audi RS e-tron GT Verdict: Positive Charge

    Come to think of it, there isn’t much that you can point out against the RS e-tron GT. Priced at Rs 2.05 crore, it is Rs 25 lakh more than the standard car. However, for the extra you are shelling out, you get plenty of kit as standard, a car that is much faster and the bragging rights of the most powerful car in the Audi stable. It has the go, it has the show, and it is safe to say that Audi has made yet another RS that is properly violent, only this time, it is also silent.

    Also see:

    Audi e-tron GT quattro review, test drive

    Audi e-tron GT India video review

    Audi  e-tron GT
    Audi e-tron GT

    ₹ 2,06,61,600 * on road price (New Delhi)

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