First impression: 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT
If you’re lamenting the dawn of the EV era, it’s time to put your prejudices aside and get behind the wheel of some choice machines like the 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT.
The e-tron GT uses Volkswagen Group’s J1 platform, a dedicated electric vehicle architecture, and shares its genetics with the Porsche Taycan.
But the Audi still manages to be its own animal. And it might be the rarer beast, as its starting price of $99,900 – $139,900 for the RS – is significantly higher than the Taycan’s $82,400 tariff. But opting for the turbo pushes it past the Audi RS to $153,300, although one could argue that prices end up being similar. So it’s basically a matter of taste, and there’s a lot to like about the e-tron GT.
The 2022 Audi e-tron also qualifies for the $7,500 tax credit and includes 250kWh of free charging with Electrify America.
Approaching the 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT triggers a feeling of déjà vu. The Audi’s shared platform results in a vehicle with similar proportions to the Porsche Taycan, with a low, wide stance, a sloping rear end, and powerful shoulders over the wheels that create a strong, clad stance.
On the front, the Taycan’s sleek aero styling is replaced by a mock grille that features the pyramid shapes automakers commonly use for closed bezels. The front bezel design is quite busy, though, although it helps reduce visual noise when it’s all black.
While Porsche struggles to carry the sportiness of the 911 into its Taycan, the Audi’s styling feels a little less forced and more natural, as sport sedans have long played a role in the brand’s DNA. Its low, wide proportions give the e-tron GT the necessary sportiness, its four doors give it a respectability and practicality that make it significantly more attractive. Frameless door glass adds an upscale touch, but the sloping rear roofline and low seating position impact rear-seat space. But the limited space only reinforces the sporty identity of the e-tron GT.
Inside you’ll find a cabin that happily avoids the impulse of being nothing but flat screens. Physical buttons are much easier to find and activate while driving. Kudos to Audi for providing climate control buttons rather than on-screen icons.
Thankfully, Audi avoided the cliched diamond pattern on its seats, instead opting for a unique pattern reminiscent of its name: e-tron. Buyers can choose between leather or artificial inner fabrics.
But pack light. The e-tron offers just 11 cubic feet of combined cargo space: 1.8 cubic feet in the front and 9.2 cubic feet in the rear.
While Porsche offers countless powertrains for the Taycan, Audi keeps it much simpler with the e-tron GT. However, both share the same twin electric motors, 800-volt electric architecture, automatic transmission, air springs and optional all-wheel steering.
All-wheel drive is standard, as is 522 hp in the e-tron GT thanks to its dual electric motors. The upgrade to the RS e-tron GT brings 637 hp with it. To get every ounce of speed out, Audi offers sophisticated Launch Control.
With this kind of performance you’d expect fast 0-60mph times, with the e-tron GT managing a time of 3.9 seconds and the RS in 3.1 seconds, according to the automaker.
The electric motors are powered by a 93kWh battery pack that offers an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles in the base car and 232 miles in the RS, which translates to 83 MPGe in the e-tron GT and 82 MPGe in the e-tron GT RS.
And when you need to recuperate energy, Audi uses steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to adjust regenerative braking, so it’s on the fly to adjust.
The RS can be fitted with rear-wheel steering as an option, as this turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels at high speed to improve stability. Below 30 mph, the rear wheels rotate in the opposite direction to the front wheels to improve maneuverability.
The instrument panel tilts the center stack toward the driver, and Audi’s MMI infotainment system is a paragon of usability, with categories stacked on the left side of the screen where it’s easy for the driver to reach. As with other Audis, the driver is faced with a 12.3-inch, reconfigurable instrument cluster.
A Bang & Olufsen sound system is available as an option. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as does a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.
And of course it’s equipped with a range of driver assistance safety systems.
Little will prepare you for the G-forces when you first use the e-tron’s launch control mode. It makes for an extreme thrill ride that will push you back in your seat. Because its entire capacity is available at all times. Just put your right foot down and count to three. A. Two. Three. Now you’re driving 60 miles per hour on your way to “I’m sorry, officer. How fast was I going?” Your driving privileges may never outlive this car.
The sheer amount of thrust and speed is intoxicating. Combine the total lack of body roll and an adaptive suspension that still manages to absorb the worst our crumbling infrastructure has to offer, and you’ll find the e-tron GT to be intoxicatingly exciting and sporty, yet surprisingly comfortable is.
Who knew wattage could be so much fun?
The steering is a little light, not to mention numb, but that’s not unexpected. More importantly, it’s quick and accurate, with support and support from the suspension that allows you to drive this car with surgical precision. And there’s a bit more interior noise than you might expect from an electric vehicle. So the 2022 Audi RS e-tron sacrifices practicality for style, but it’s a true GT. It focuses on performance, which it delivers in spades, while offering the required dose of comfort, which it also delivers in spades. Those who can afford that pricey chariot can expect to be epically entertaining every time.