Despite the government dragging their feet on policy and most car brands still playing hard-to-get when it comes to some of their coolest models, there’s never been a more exciting time for Australians who are into electric cars… And now, Audi’s just added further fuel to the fire (or would a pun about an ‘electrifying announcement’ be more appropriate?)
Yesterday, the high-end German marque shared their first local preview of their new e-tron GT, their new flagship electric vehicle and performance car. This is a car that Aussies have been hotly anticipating for months, so to see one in the flesh and to hear that they’re finally hitting showroom floors come September was music to our ears.
The lithe Gran Turismo is the German brand’s first all-electric sports car and easily the electric vehicle we’re most looking forward to driving this year. The muscular, low-slung four-door looks even better in person than it does in photos, and while we weren’t able to get it out on the road (the car used for the reveal, the only one they have in the country, is a left-hand drive engineering evaluation vehicle) we’re more than a little excited.
But news of the e-tron GT’s arrival – especially the confirmation of local specs and pricing – has presented one hell of a predicament for well-heeled Australian motoring enthusiasts. Those in the know will probably see where we’re going with this…
In case you didn’t know, the Audi e-tron GT is based on the J1 Performance platform, which is shared with the Porsche Taycan. According to Autobild, 40% of its parts are identical to those used in the Taycan – not surprising, considering how much parts sharing there is in the Volkswagen Group, and how modular modern EV designs are.
While it would be foolish to call the Taycan and e-tron GT the same car (because they’re really not), the comparison between the two considering how similar they are is inevitable. And that’s where the predicament lies, especially when you consider the RS e-tron GT. Do you buy the Porsche or the Audi? Let’s break it down.
The e-tron GT range is pretty easy to wrap your head around, as it’s just the e-tron GT and then the sportier RS model. The Taycan is a little less straightforward, with 8 different spec levels and two different body styles (the sedan and then the station wagon-esque CrossTurismo). Let’s focus on the two top-spec models: the Audi RS e-tron GT and the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
The Audi makes 440kW (475 in boost mode), 830Nm of torque and does 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds. This officially gives it the highest power output of any Audi ever made. The Porsche, however, makes 460kW (560 in boost mode), 1,050Nm and rockets from 0-100 in 2.8 seconds – although, as we found out for ourselves, that’s a bit of a conservative figure.
Of course, up the pointy end of the performance car market, 0.5 seconds is an eternity. But 3.3 seconds is still unbelievably fast. For perspective, that’s faster than a standard Lamborghini Huracán or Audi R8, while also being able to carry four or more passengers in comfort. It’s also faster than the Taycan GTS (but slower than the next model up, the Turbo).
Where the RS e-tron GT shines is its value proposition. Pricing for the Audi starts at $249,700 compared to $345,800 for the Taycan Turbo S. And you really have to ask yourself, is the Porsche worth the almost six-figure price increase?
There are many other reasons why you might consider the Audi over the Porsche. Subjectively, the Audi’s interior appeals more to me, with its angular, driver-focused design and more physical switchgear compared to the Porsche’s double-touchscreen approach. Objectively, the Audi has a superior warranty and servicing schedule. The list goes on.
This is by no means to rag on the Porsche. I still think the Taycan Turbo S is the best car I’ve ever driven, and for the most part, a Porsche customer and an Audi customer are two fundamentally different people. But it’s definitely something to think about.
Watch the Audi RS e-tron GT out for a winter drive on the streets of Hamburg below.
Indeed, that’s really the core of the issue. Audi has always been a brand that appeals to the ‘logical’ buyer. That’s what the R8 did so well back in the day: why buy a Lambo when you can get the same V10 plus German build quality in a better-looking car for a far more competitive price? Now, in 2022, the e-tron GT offers the same proposition when compared to its Porsche siblings.
The allure of a Porsche badge will no doubt be too tempting for some Aussies – and we haven’t even begun to consider high-performance EVs from outside the Volkswagen Group, such as the BMW i4 M50 or Tesla Model S – but this much is true: the Audi e-tron GT is a very exciting car, especially in RS spec, and it will no doubt shake up the EV and performance market when deliveries start in September.
Well, that’s as long as we don’t have any more cargo ship fires…