Thus far, Audi‘s e-tron program has been about electrifying versions of their known and loved models. Also thus far, those new vehicles have been SUVs, which makes sense given their unrelenting popularity—especially here in the US. With the 2022 Audi e-tron GT and its brawnier RS sibling, however, we are finally seeing electric sports cars with thrilling performance in the shape of the beloved A7. And while it’s a clear nod to the A7, there’s a lot about it that signals how exciting our electrified future will be. As guests of Audi in California, we recently had the opportunity to drive both the regular and RS e-tron models.
Both e-tron GT models exemplify the current state of the art in EV performance: dizzying acceleration, remarkable speed and grounded cornering. The RS model raises the base GT’s power up over 20% from 522 hp to 637hp and though Audi reports a zero to 60mph performance of 3.1 seconds in the RS, we made even better time during our testing. Numbers aside (for more performance insights check out our friend Abigail Bassett’s TechCrunch piece), we continue to be impressed with how Audi electrifies the familiar and along the way holds drivers’ hands as they leap in to the future together.
While these models are faster, tighter and have a lower center of gravity, there’s nothing new to get used to simply because they’re electric—aside from the sound. As drivers we’re so used to the audible dynamics of a combustion engine underpinning acceleration and speed which is why Audi’s sound engineers dove deep in to the design of the e-tron GT’s custom soundtrack. The artificial whirr and hum play seamlessly through the car’s speakers in parity with the forces of acceleration, cruising and deceleration. They’re not so loud that they distract from listening to music or talking to your co-pilot, but are present enough to complete the feeling of driving we’re all so familiar with. The sounds, however, have a soothingly futuristic texture that reminds us we’re in an EV. And at low speeds (for safety) it’s audible outside the car as well.
Attentive car lovers know that Audi and Porsche are owned by the VW group and share several innovations across all the brands in their portfolio. The natural question that follows is: how similar are the e-tron GT and all-electric Porsche Taycan? We found that while there are many shared components between the two, Audi tuned the e-tron to feel and perform like an Audi by offering a balance of tight, sporty performance and everyday comfort. Further, the digital cockpit and MMI touchscreen are entirely Audi’s look and feel which, in our opinion, has best-in-class usability.
At a glance, the exterior designs of the e-tron GT and Taycan are quite similar, however the Audi has elements of sophistication where the Porsche leans toward simplicity. Of note, the A-pillar meets the side-body of the car with a whimsical flourish that’s distinctive but not distracting. Other elements include more pronounced musculature over the rear wheels and a sharper nose profile resulting from the headlamps and air intake being formed as separate elements. This approach keeps the e-tron GT aligned with the styling of the A7 family and differentiates it from the Taycan’s joined headlamp and vent teardrop design. To add to the feeling of futuristic performance, the e-tron GT is shorter and wider than its gas-powered RS7 cousin.
Both e-tron GT models offer about 230 miles of range and support fast charging up to 270kW hours which achieves 80% in under 23 minutes. Of course, this is dependent on the capabilities of the charger you’re using, the fastest being from Electrify America. Audi partnered with EA to offer three years of complimentary charging. Driving an average of 15,000 miles per year we estimate the value of that deal to be about $2,000. The 2022 Audi e-tron GT starts at $99,900 and a maxed-out RS e-tron GT lands at $160,250.
Hero image by Josh Rubin