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Audi RS E-Tron GT confirmed, here next year

Audi insists its RS E-Tron GT will not be a rival for the Porsche Taycan

4 Nov 2020

THE looming E-Tron GT will carve out its own identity and not be a direct competitor to the closely related Porsche Taycan according to Audi, despite the E-Tron GT being confirmed to be the first RS-badged EV.


Speaking to Australian media on Tuesday, Audi Sport executives confirmed that while parallels will inevitably be made between the RS E-Tron GT and Taycan, they would in fact be two separate entities with two different goals in mind.


Whereas Porsche markets the Taycan as a four-door electric sportscar, Audi is pitching the RS E-Tron GT as an all-electric ‘Gran Turismo’, befitting of its GT nomenclature.


“As the name already indicates, the Audi RS E-Tron GT is a real Gran Turismo, but combined with high performance,” Audi Sport head of product marketing Linda Kurz said.


According to chassis development specialist Roland Waschkau, the RS E-Tron GT and Taycan have been developed in tandem and feature the same electric motors and battery but for every similarity, there is at least one difference.


“We have a completely different application for traction system, torque distribution, damping set-up, air spring set-up, steering … this is all completely different,” he said.


“We have a completely different design, so they’re two different cars definitely.”


To emphasise this difference between what are ultimately siblings, the Audi features a much more comfort-oriented ride than the Porsche with the E-Tron aimed squarely at everyday use.


When set to comfort mode, the active three-chamber air suspension raises the E-Tron GT’s body “by a few centimetres” to allow for more suspension travel and more ground clearance.


Not only are these different intents reflected in the ride and handling set-ups, but also in terms of sheer firepower.


Drawing power from a 93.4kWh battery, the electric motors in the RS E-Tron GT produce a combined 475kW/830Nm, neatly splitting the flagship and entry-level Taycans.


For reference, the Taycan Turbo S produces a monstrous 560kW/1050Nm while the regular Turbo gets along with 500kW/850Nm.


At the lower end of range, the 4S is available with two different outputs – 390kW/640Nm and 420kW/650Nm.


When all is said and done, Audi is claiming a sub-3.5-second dash from 0-100km/h for the RS E-Tron GT while the top speed is pegged at 250km/h.


Given they share a platform and much of the same hardware, it would be more than reasonable to expect a mid-range E-Tron GT to roughly match to Taycan 4S’ power figures while an entry-level version could undercut the lot.


To help haul the 2300kg sedan up from its 250km/h v-max, the RS E-Tron GT will be available with the choice of traditional cast-iron brake discs, carbon-coated or full carbon-ceramic stoppers, the latter naturally being the lightest and most efficient.


Likewise, three different wheel sizes – 19-, 20- and 21-inch – will be available with the 20-inch units claimed to be the most aerodynamic, however all have been aerodynamically optimised.


While initially reluctant to name any benchmarked rivals, the Tesla Model S was eventually singled out by Mr Waschkau as the obvious competitor.


Ms Kurz meanwhile said that while Audi is confident the RS E-Tron GT will be a success in Australia, the customer base will be a sophisticated one with an adoration for athletic design and high-tech performance.


“We are constantly looking at how we can develop our Red Rhombus, our badge, how we can develop it into the future,” she said.


“We said that the RS E-Tron GT is one direction we’re leading to in the upcoming years, so it will be our next icon on the RS portfolio and it definitely marks a new era for the two letters; RS.”


At this stage the RS E-Tron GT is scheduled to be revealed globally early in 2021 before launching in Europe and the USA mid-year with Australia to “follow very, very soon”.

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