The battle between the new-school Audi e-tron GT and the iconic 5-cylinder turbo RS 3 is far closer than one might expect.
Audi – like many automotive brands – is in the midst of a major transformation from the traditional world of ICE-powered vehicles to all-electric ones. The days of gas-powered machines like the amazing new RS 3 are quickly – and sadly – coming to an end, which means that we have precious little time left to enjoy them. On the flip side, Audi’s newest EV models are also pretty darn impressive, particularly in terms of performance, offering up plenty of thrills, albeit without any sort of glorious engine sounds. However, when Car recently lined up the new Audi e-tron GT Quattro against an RS 3, the results were a bit more interesting than one might expect.
To be more specific, the concept-car-like Audi e-tron GT Quattro is no slouch in terms of its straight-line performance, with (up to) 522 horsepower coming from its dual electric motors – good enough to propel it to 60 mph in less than 3.9 seconds. As we’ve seen in the past, performance-focused EVs tend to make superior drag racers thanks to their instant torque, and that’s certainly the case with this stunning sedan.
As good as the new Audi e-tron GT is, however, we can’t forget about the equally amazing RS 3. The sporty sedan is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that cranks out 401 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, sending that juice to all four wheels, just like its electrified counterpart. Thanks to a quick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox, the RS 3 rockets to 60 mph in around 3.3 seconds – just a bit behind the e-tron GT.
As such, this matchup looks pretty darn good on paper, though only a real-world test such as this truly tells the tale of how these two performance machines compare. As expected, the e-tron GT gets off the line a bit quicker than the RS 3, but the ICE sedan manages to hang with it after that. The two machines pretty much stay there the rest of the way down the quarter-mile, with the e-tron GT crossing the line in 11.6 seconds versus the RS 3’s 11.9-second pass. (Now imagine this race with the RS e-tron GT!)
While these are obviously two very different types of cars, it’s worth noting that the RS 3 is far cheaper – with a starting price that’s less than half of what it costs to get behind the wheel of a new e-tron GT. Given how close the two are in terms of performance, that makes it a rather compelling option for those that aren’t quite ready to take the all-electric plunge.