New Audi E-Tron GT RS is firm's most powerful car with 912bhp

1 month ago - 18. June 2024, autocar
Audi E-Tron GT RS
Audi E-Tron GT RS
Updated saloon gets feisty Performance variant alongside a longer range and quicker charging

Audi has given its E-tron GT sports saloon a new look and a round of substantial technical updates to bring it into line with its recently upgraded Porsche Taycan sibling.

Many of the changes mirror those on the Porsche, with which the E-tron GT shares its J1 platform, and include significant upgrades to the battery capacity, motor power and DC rapid-charging speed.

Thanks to improved cell chemistry and a more compact cooling system, it has been possible to increase the capacity of the battery from a usable 84kWh to 97kWh while reducing the weight by 9kg. As before, the smaller battery that is available in the Taycan isn’t offered in the E-tron GT.

The same changes have allowed the maximum charging speed to rise from 270kW to a peak of 320kW. However, Audi says it is more significant that the car is able to maintain a charging speed of more than 280kW for much longer, until a roughly 70% state of charge, and in a wider range of temperatures.

For this latest update, Audi has also rejigged the E-tron GT’s model line-up. The entry-level dual-motor version, now with 671bhp, has been renamed the S E-tron GT.

But, more notably, the RS E-tron GT has been bumped to 845bhp and a new RS E-tron GT Performance tops the range with a huge 912bhp. That makes it Audi’s most powerful car yet and enables it to accelerate from 0-62mph in just 2.5sec.

Although the power outputs are very slightly different, these new E-tron GT models largely mirror the Taycan 4S, Turbo and Turbo S, respectively.

There are still no plans for a single-motor version, with Audi citing both a lack of demand and lack of capacity in the Böllinger Höfe factory, which built the R8 until recently.

While the standard E-tron GT and the RS version used to look largely identical, Audi has taken this opportunity to differentiate them further.

As a result, the S E-tron GT now has silver triangular inserts in the front air dam, similar to Audi’s combustion-powered S models.

Meanwhile, the RS models have more aggressive L shaped inserts, which optionally can be made from a new ‘camouflage’ carbonfibre on the Performance model as part of a carbon pack. Further visual alterations include an embossed hexagon pattern for the front mask, and a redesigned diffuser with a central reflector on the RS models. A selection of optional new wheel designs and paint choices are available too.

Inside, the most noticeable change is the new steering wheel, which now has both a flat top and bottom and features touch-sensitive button panels. On the RS versions, it gains two satellite buttons that switch the drive mode to one of the three customisable settings. The 14-way adjustable sports seats that were previously optional are now fitted as standard.

As with the Taycan, air suspension becomes standard across the E-tron GT range, with two types available. The standard set-up is a two-chamber, dual-valve system that is said to have a greater range of adjustment than the current one, offering better comfort and more body control. An active system that does away with anti-roll bars and instead uses four individual hydraulic actuators is optional. In Comfort mode, it can actively tilt the body into corners and counteract the pitching caused by acceleration and braking.

Both versions can rise up in an instant when you open the door in order to ease ingress and egress.

While the hardware is the same as on the Taycan, engineers say the Audi is differentiated by its more comfort-oriented tuning, emphasising its GT character.

UK prices have yet to be announced, but in Germany they are set at €126,000 (roughly £106,440) for the S E-tron GT, €147,500 (£124,600) for the RS E-tron GT and €160,500 (£135,585) for the RS E-tron GT Performance. In each case, this represents a rise, though standard equipment has been improved as well.

Opinion: Audi's GT is back on the map

The E-Tron GT has long seemed an unsung hero in the sporting EV sphere. While its Taycan cousin has proved near-unfathomably popular – and won plaudits for its bona fide dynamic prowess – the Audi seems to have drifted into relative obscurity.

Criminal, really, considering its competitive tech specs, and its ability to shrink the most arduous and uncomfortable of journeys, albeit with the caveat that it has never truly had the legs to be a proper grand tourer.

Now, though, that would appear to have changed, with these updates strengthening the Audi’s positioning as a zeroemission continent crusher. More miles per charge and less time topping up at the other end: these are crucial improvements that could turn the head of even the most ardent diesel apologist.

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