After a first look at the Belgium DTM round recently, the Audi RS e-tron GT has hit the road in prototype trim ahead of a greatly anticipated release next year.
9 November, 2020
Anyone who still had nagging concerns about the future of high-performance motoring in the electric age need have no fear. Hot on the heels of the Audi e-tron GT which will shortly begin production at Audi’s böllinger höfe facility, the first all-electric RS model is taking electric performance to all new levels.
Even with the Audi camouflage obscuring the bodywork, the elegant proportions of the RS e-tron GT are fairly obviously. A sleek sporty four-door grand tourer that is at once an Audi, but with its own distinctive style, this is a particularly significant model for the brand, given that it represents the first all-electric model from Audi Sport.
Using the already performance-oriented Audi e-tron GT as the base, the RS model dials the performance up more than a notch, producing 440kW and 475kW on overboost, with 830Nm to demolish the sprint from 0 to 100km/h in sub 3.5 seconds.
“The RS models are Audi’s sportiest and most emotive models with the most powerful engines, highest dynamics and greatest driving pleasure – and all this combined with absolute everyday usability,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport.
“With the RS e-tron GT prototype, we’re transferring these characteristics into the electric age. This is a revolution for us in the high-performance segment.”
“For us at Audi Sport, the production-based Audi RS e-tron GT is the first step into the fully electric RS world. With it, we’re also delivering on our promise of launching future RS models soon after the base models.”
The RS e-tron GT is designed as a high-performance grand tourer and to that end, absolute comfort and ride are as important as out and out speed. With a 175kW motor on the front axle and a larger, 335kW unit on the rear axle, acceleration is almost instant, and the electric quattro system allows even greater distribution of torque as required, for incredible grip regardless of the speed or the conditions.
Add to the equation all-wheel steering and variable air-suspension that can vary the ride height 22mm and the RS e-tron GT promises the perfect blend of performance and handling, with superior ride comfort.
Aerodynamics play a large part here as does the low centre of gravity, with the 83.7kWh (93kWh gross) battery mounted as low as possible to give the RS e-tron GT an even lower centre of gravity than its conventional performance sibling, the Audi R8.
The RS e-tron GT was recently put through its paces by members of the European press and Audi Sport driver, Lucas di Grassi, who, as a leading Formula E driver, is well versed in high-performance electric vehicles.
“Obviously, such a Gran Turismo is totally different to a race car,” says the Formula E champion.
“Even so, there are plenty of parallels, especially the powerful acceleration which, just like in our case, is fully available for a long time. From zero to a hundred kilometres per hour in clearly less than four seconds.”
But for all the performance it remains a luxury grand tourer, delivering tremendous refinement and comfort.
“What I particularly like is the car’s handling,” says di Grassi.
“Well, you’re saying that, as a Gran Turismo, the car also has to deliver good ride comfort. For me as a race driver, that’s not such a key characteristic. But I must say that the car’s grip and precision in cornering are very impressive.”
The RS e-tron GT is expected to follow the e-tron GT into production and be available in the northern hemisphere in early 2021, while an Australian arrival date is yet to be confirmed. When it does arrive though, the RS e-tron GT will be heralding in an all-new era for Audi’s specialist RennSport brand Down Under, where each successive new RS model has always been enthusiastically welcomed. With this level of scintillating performance and zero emissions, it ensures that high-performance motoring will thrive in an increasingly electric age.
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