Dynamic and high caliber Audi RS e-tron GT quattro: the fully electric Gran Turismo delivers sporty drive, emotional design and sustainability
After the Audi e-tron GT last July, the Audi RS e-tron GT quattro now arrived in Vietnam. The Audi RS e-tron GT is the first RS model Audi officially imported officially to Vietnam. Only the sportiest models bearing the four rings are allowed by Audi Sport BmbH – formed quattro GmbH – to use the insignia R and RS.
Those two cars represent the pinnacle of Audi’s all-electric portfolio pointing the way forward not only in terms of drive and performance, but also in their design and finish. These two high-performance grand tourers are now available at Audi dealerships in Vietnam heralding in a new era for the brand in the S shape country, and if the styling isn’t enough to win you over, then a stint behind the wheel most certainly will.
Although the smooth, sweeping styling is now familiar after extensive international press reporting, it’s quite another thing to finally see the cars in the metal and actually out on the road in the ‘real world’.
Where the right lighting and photography can make many a car – or person – look better than they actually are, the e-tron GT and its RS sibling more than live up to expectation in reality. This is classic design with a sharp, contemporary flair that Audi’s Head of Design, Marc Lichte, has famously said is the most beautiful car he has ever penned. No small claim from a designer of his calibre and with his resume`, and while beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder, it’s easy to agree with his assessment.
This is a car that is at once sleek and sophisticated, but with an obvious performance leaning. Yes, it’s a four door, but the style is undeniably coupe in nature – a true grand tourer as opposed to straight out supercar in appearance.
The performance figures for both models though are well and truly in the supercar range and the all-electric drive delivers absolutely thrilling performance. But more on that in a moment.
From the show car that Audi presented to the world back in 2018 at the Los Angeles Auto Salon, to the series production model that made its international debut two years later, the design amazingly remained unchanged. It is something that Audi has never done before, taking a concept design to production ‘one-to-one’.
But such was the balance and the proportions of the e-tron GT concept that the feeling was it had hit the mark perfectly. “This really is a car that is highly aesthetic, super emotional and still combines functionality,” Lichte has said of the e-tron GT. “For me, in all honesty, it’s really the highlight of my career.”
To get a sense of the e-tron GT’s dimensions, at 4,989 cm it is longer than an A7 Sportback, and sits lower reaching a height of 1,396 cm, and wider at 1,964 cm (2,158 cm with mirrors) giving it a real presence. The 2,900 cm long wheelbase accommodates plenty of interior space.
In true Audi style, neither model screams ‘look at me’. They catch the eye certainly, and elements like the LED rear lights that stretch the width of the car set it apart out on the road, but the key here is subtlety and elegance. This is achieved thanks to perfect proportions and very clean design, with every element on the smooth body serving a purpose. From the the front wheel arches or the air intakes flanking the electric interpretation of the Single frame grille – in black optics package (RS GT), or in glossy black with black appearance package (GT), to the Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light or the pronounced accents over the quattro blisters. The result is a timeless design that looks supremely elegant – and fast. It was well deserved for this model to win the World Performance Car Of The Year 2022 and German Luxury Car of the Year 2022 awards.
Inside too the overall feeling is clean and sophisticated – classic Audi. As you would expect it is brimming with the very latest in technology and connectivity which is beautifully integrated into the cabin and designed to be functional and to enhance the overall experience.
There is no attempt to go ‘futuristic’ with the design or execution of the cabins just for the sake of it. Yes, these cars are the pinnacle of what the brand can do and the equipment and appointment reflect that – but the layout and appointment are both beautifully executed and reassuringly Audi.
The layout clear and open and the back seats benefit from genuine leg room thanks to the flat floor enabled by the battery placement and absence of a transition tunnel. The details are beautifully crafted and there is a choice of high-end materials including the fine Nappa leather combined to Dinamica interior package which uses recycled materials in place of traditional finishes to tremendous effect.
From the familiar virtual cockpit plus with head-up display and large touch screen, to the 3D Bang & Olufsen sound system that achieves new levels of clarity in the whisper quiet cabin, the interiors are the embodiment of taste and refinement. For both safety and convenience, assistance systems abound, including parking Aid plus paired to 360 cameras, tire pressure monitoring, lane departure warning to night vision assist. Luxurious and supremely comfortable as you glide through the city snarl with everything at your fingertips and wonderfully supportive and driver focused when you have the chance to throw the car into bends at speed. And that’s what it’s all about with this car.
Yes, there are paddles that allow you to actively recoup energy on braking, yet both of these models are built to be driven like the performance cars that they are.
Both cars feature dual electric motors, with one on the front axle and the other on the rear.
Power is provided by a 93kWh battery that will give up to 488-452km (WLTP) of driving in the GT and 472-433 km for the RS GT, but like any internal combustion model, that range is subject to the way you drive and how judicious you are with the ‘loud’ pedal – and playing with the seamless acceleration is very addictive in both of these cars.
Recharging at the maximum 270kW Direct Current (DC) capacity will see you add 100km of range in roughly five minutes, while charging from up to 80 percent will take just over 22 minutes. The mobile charger supplied with the car - 11kW AC (GT) or 22kW (RS GT) - can fully recharge overnight – respectively in 6-8 hours (GT) or 4-6 hours (RS GT). For extra home charging convenience, Audi Vietnam offers one complimentary additional ABB 11 kW AC home charger with both models in 2023.
Power output is impressive to say the least. The e-tron GT boasts 350kW of power or 390kW on boost and 630Nm of torque for a 0 to 100km/h figure of 4.1 seconds. Slip into the RS model with its 440kW, about 598 horsepower, (475kW on boost) and 830Nm and things happen even faster. It takes just 3.3 seconds to see off the 0 to 100km/h sprint and from there, the numbers on the virtual speedo head north with lightning speed. The brand’s first all-electric RS model, the RS e-tron GT is also the most powerful RS model ever made when it’s on boost – an extraordinary badge in its own right.
Talking about acceleration and power output at this end of the scale becomes almost academic as the RS GT has its own feel when it comes to power delivery. As impressive as the acceleration off the line is, it’s the immediacy of the rolling acceleration that is hard to comprehend and impossible to put into words.
Touch the accelerator and you are pushed back into the form-hugging sports seats – sports seat plus in RS GT - and the car just races ahead. Perhaps it’s the absence of the engine note building to a crescendo or the increased awareness at speed of wind rushing over the car’s surface, but you literally surge forward.
No lag, no build up, just instant acceleration at any speed. The ride is silky smooth around town and out on the highway thanks to the three-chamber adaptive air suspension, which changes characteristics when you get out onto winding roads where the grip is unbelievable. There is nary a hint of body roll thanks to the very low centre of gravity and the weight distribution placed low in the car.
Inside, the panoramic sunroof accentuates the airy feeling. At night, the door sill trims with aluminium inlay appear illuminated. The multicolor ambient lighting package highlights the interior with inlays in carbon twill silk matt (RS GT) or matte carbon twill atlas matt (GT). The three-zone air conditioning with comfort parking mode and air quality package add to the overall comfort.
Big 20-inch rims in 5-spoke aerodynamic module style, black diamond turned design are standard equipment on the GT quattro and RS GT quattro model rides on larger 21-inch rims. Power goes down to all four wheels through the latest electric quattro and the RS GT also features a sport differential with torque vectoring.
The brakes on both cars are huge and more than up to the task, although up to 0.3 g the braking is carried out by the electric motors as regeneration – not that you’d know regardless of the speeds, so seamless is the system. Once you do get past that 0.3 g threshold though, the steel brakes are superb, clamped with distinctive black calipers. Pushing those brakes to the limits though will require a race track, such is the extraordinary acceleration, grip and handling of these cars. That it is delivered in a luxurious four-door package producing zero emissions is a game-changer for high-performance vehicles. It might be the styling that catches your eye but spend any time behind the wheel and you’ll be hooked.
All Audi cars are painted four times to ensure a powerful lifetime look. Nine standard paint colors include Ibis white, Scari blue, Daytona gray, Floret silver, Kemora gray, Mythos black, Suzuka gray, Tactical green and Tango red.