RS e-tron GT vs e-tron GT: Is the RS Really Worth an Extra $40 Grand???

Audi RS e-tron GT

The RS e-tron GT vs e-tron GT comparison is shockingly similar at times — is 115-121 extra horsepower worth a $40,000-plus premium?

Funny how timing works. Today Audi announced the new limited-edition project_513/2 RS e-tron GT, and we just wrapped up back-to-back loans with the RS e-tron GT and e-tron GT, Audi’s current flagship EV sports sedans. Since we’re a couple of years behind on reviewing vehicles that debuted in 2020 and 2021, the goal today isn’t to do a traditional review. Instead, we’d like to offer an RS e-tron GT vs e-tron GT comparison for anyone who might be on the fence between the two. Basically, is the RS really worth an extra $40,000 to $60,000 more over the base car?

RS e-tron GT vs e-tron GT Basics

Audi RS e-tron GT

As most folks know by now, the RS e-tron GT and e-tron GT are Audi’s versions of the (shared-platform) Porsche Taycan. But, where Porsche offers a whopping 10 model variants, including wagons, Audi settled on two variations. Visually, Audi’s flagship EV sedan siblings most closely resemble the A7, S7, and RS 7 and the e-tron’s six-figure pricing is in line with the RS 7, RS 6 Avant, and S8.

Audi e-tron GT

On the inside, the e-tron GT siblings mostly resemble the 6 and 7 series Audi products. Sporty seating for five. Optional fine Napa leather. A full digital gauge cluster. However, the e-tron GTs forgo Audi’s dual-screen approach for the infotainment and HVAC systems that one finds on the A6, A7, S8, and the original e-tron SUV. Instead, the more expensive e-tron GT’s physical buttons more resemble the lower trim Q4 e-tron. To be clear, we generally applaud physical HVAC buttons, but the layout and materials lack a certain premium one looks for in higher-end Audis.

e-tron GT

Here’s a breakdown of the two models’ features —

RS e-tron GT

Audi RS e-tron GT

  • Boost Mode: 637 horsepower & 612 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Standard Power: 590 horsepower & 612 lb.-ft. Of torque
  • 0-60mph: 2.9 seconds (with Boost, as Tested by MotorTrend)
  • Quarter mile: 10.3 seconds
  • Top Speed: 155mph
  • Sport Adaptive Air Suspension
  • Curb Weight: 5,151 lbs
  • Dual Electric Motors — single speed (front); 2-speed transmission (rear)
  • 93.4 kWh Battery Pack (83.7 kW of accessible capacity)
  • 240V 0-100% Charging: 10.5 hours
  • 270 kW DC 5-80% Fast Charging: 22.5 mins
  • Range: 232 miles

e-tron GT

audi e-tron GT

  • Boost Mode: 522 horsepower & 472 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Standard Power: 469 horsepower & 464 lb.-ft. Of torque
  • 0-60mph: 3.6 seconds (with Boost, as tested by MotorTrend)
  • Quarter Mile: 11.9 seconds
  • Top Speed: 152mph
  • Sport Adaptive Air Suspension
  • Curb Weight: 5,060 lbs
  • Dual Electric Motors — single-speed (front); 2-speed transmission (rear)
  • 93.4 kWh Battery Pack (83.7 kW of accessible capacity)
  • 240V 0-100% Charging: 10.5 hours
  • 270 kW DC 5-80% Fast Charging: 22.5 mins
  • Range: 238 miles

Similarities Abound

e-tron GT (left); RS e-tron GT (right)

Debadge an Audi RS e-tron GT and e-tron GT and, shockingly, it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart inside and out.

Typically, RS Audis benefit from aggressive body styling over the standard A/Q or S models. But not so in the e-tron GT family. Without the subtle differences that only enthusiasts notice — RS badge, brightly colored brakes, and different wheel options — they’re the same car. Especially if one swaps out the standard carbon fiber roof on the RS for the glass moonroof that’s standard on the e-tron GT.

e-tron GT (left); RS e-tron GT (right)

The inside is equally similar, although Audi fans will likely recognize the RS model’s bright stitching and seatbelts. Plus, you can order up a lot more carbon fiber on the RS model. But both can be optioned with fine Napa leather interiors and heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats (that should be standard on a car this expensive, but I digress). Even the base model Premium e-tron GT comes with Alcantara everywhere.

Again, it’s so shocking to see an RS Audi that’s this similar to a base model, which had me seriously wondering…

Is the RS e-tron GT Worth a $40K to $60K Premium?

Audi RS e-tron GT

Would you pay $40-grand-plus for roughly 115 to 121 extra horsepower and to shave 7/10ths of a second off your 0-60 mph acceleration runs?

We were honestly prepared to say no until we drove both and spent a good deal of time debating power-to-weight ratios. Audi LOVES to tell the world about the peak power of these two EVs. But the e-tron GT can only hit 522 horsepower for 2.5 seconds when one enters into Dynamic Mode, comes to a stop, and holds the brake and accelerator for 1-second to engage launch control. The rest of the time, you’re cruising at 469 horsepower. Which, to be fair, isn’t exactly slow. But it’s not exactly fast either when your vehicle weighs over 5,000 pounds and you can buy lighter, almost 600-horsepower twin-turbo V8 Audis.

e-tron GT

In short, the e-tron GT is a quick car, and a lovely-driving car, but unless you activate boost mode, it’s not exactly fast. (In Boost mode, however, please be careful, the launches are serious.)

The RS e-tron GT is a different beast altogether. Those extra 121 ponies — going from 469 to 590 horsepower — in normal driving conditions are a MASSIVE improvement. A power band that feels more like driving the Audi S8 without turbo and transmission lag. The RS e-tron GT is, quite honestly, one of the most exhilarating Audi driving experiences available today that we can best sum up thusly…

Zipping onto a highway one day, we were stuck behind a truck going 45 miles an hour. So, when a gap opened up, we floored it and doubled our speed in the time it took to take a single breath. (Before, you know, slowing back down.) And, again, that wasn’t a boost-mode moment. It’s just an electrifying (haha, get it?) way to drive.

Not a One-Trick Pony

RS e-tron GT

For those concerned about EVs being one-trick we-accelerate-quick ponies, the Audi driving experience you probably know and love is all here as well. You might as well be driving an RS 7 in terms of the suspension damping in a vehicle that weighs a little more than the S8. But thanks to its lower center of gravity, the RS e-tron GT corners impressively as well. Not to mention the optional carbon fiber brakes which reduce speed quickly and quietly without as much dust as the steelies.

And, of course, you can also drop into Dynamic mode, come to a stop, hold the brake and accelerator for 1-second, and blast off like a rocket ship. An experience that’s literally like driving a roller coaster… or one of the other insane road-going EVs on sale today… all while sitting in a ventilated massaging bucket front seat listening to Apple CarPlay.

Is the RS e-tron GT worth paying a 40% premium over the e-tron GT?

Every single penny.

RS e-tron GT Image Gallery

e-tron GT Image Gallery

Photographs by Michael S. Palmer

Father. Writer. Photographer. Auto enthusiast.
Current Stable: 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302, 2013 Cadillac ATS-4 3.6, LS3-Swapped 1992 Buick Roadmaster Wagon, 1987 Mercury Cougar XR-7, and usually a Press Loaner.

Repaired with Rice: Flooded Audi e-tron GT Given Clean Bill of Health

donutsAudi e-tron GT is an impressive all-electric sports sedan. And even though it undercuts the price of its Porsche Taycan sibling the Audi is not exactly cheap. In fact, the one you see here stickered at $110K. So, even if one is damaged in a flood, you really don’t want to give up on it. It is worth trying everything to get it running and driving again. And that is exactly what YouTuber Rich Benoit from the Rich Rebuilds channel has done. We have shown you previously that he was miraculously able to get the flooded e-tron GT running again by using the old-fashioned rice trick. After submerging the car in thousands of pounds of rice the e-tron GT started and moved under its own power. Truly an impressive result.

However, starting and rolling forward 6 inches is one thing. To prove that the rice trick is truly viable the car has to actually behave like a car. Benoit still paid $56K at auction to get this car. And while that is far less than the original MSRP, it is still a serious chunk of change. And for that kind of money the car still needs to do all the things that an e-tron GT is capable of doing. That means driving at highway speeds, acceleration runs, and most importantly donuts in an empty parking lot. Once that road test is complete it is taken to an Audi dealer for inspection. Is the Audi really free of defects now? Let’s find out.

Clean Up in Aisle Four

Audi e-tron GT rice cleanup

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Audi e-tron GT Quattro and RS 3 Face Off in Fascinating Drag Race

Audi e-tron GT Quattro and RS 3 Drag Race

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.

Audi e-tron GT Quattro and RS 3 Drag Race

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.

Audi e-tron GT Quattro and RS 3 Drag Race

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.

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Audi e-tron GT to Come with Multiple Charging Options

e-tron GT

Audi e-tron GT plays a vital role in the German automaker’s ambitious plan to electrify the US auto market.

In a recent press release from Audi, we’ve learned that the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT will be offered with several options to keep you on the road more and at the station less. Anyone who’s looked into purchasing an electric vehicle knows that one thing to consider is the availability of charging stations and the time you spend there. Audi, along with its partners, looks to solve those issues.

From multiple options for in-home charging to an expanding network across the US, Audi has its sites set on helping America electrify and the e-tron GT has its sights on doing so with speed and style.

Electrify America

e-tron GT

One of the many perks of owning a 2022 e-tron GT or RS e-tron GT will be three years of complimentary DC fast charging. The deal is in partnership with EV-charging pioneer Electrify America whose network is rapidly expanding. Electrify America stations work in conjunction with the e-tron to charge the vehicle as rapidly as possible, taking the e-tron from 5-80% in about 22 minutes, using a 270 kW charger. Electrify America expects to have 800 charging stations with around 3,500 chargers by year-end 2021.

Home Charging Options

Audi EV

In addition to the rapidly growing charger network, Audi is partnering with Qmerit to create viable charging options and its customer’s homes. Qmerit will offer two in-home charging solutions installed by certified electrical technicians. The options are as follows:

NEMA 14-50 power outlet upgrade

  • For use with the included 9.6 kW AC capsule charger (Level 2, 240-volt/40 amps) which comes standard with the vehicle
  • Operates with either a standard 120-volt household outlet (1.2 kW) or a 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet (9.6 kW)

HomeStation by Electrify America

  • Available with concierge service to schedule home installation
  • Wi-Fi-capable and offers 9.6 kW charging power
  • Ensures owners will always have a fully charged vehicle overnight

For installation purposes, Qmerit concierge service will see to it that the installation process is seamless. All work is transparently priced and backed by the guarantee that the installation pros are thoroughly vetted for background and experience.

(RS) e-tron GT Specs

Audi EV

While Evs might seem like the softer option, e-tron GT is no slouch on the track. With the RS e-tron GT being slightly quicker than the V10-powered Audi R8, owners can expect to have as much fun as they desire. Using the legendary 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany as a development site, Audi ensured the thermal management system capable enough for any level of excitement.

e-tron GT

  • 469 hp, 522 hp (in boost mode)
  • 464 lb-ft of torque,  472 lb-ft (in boost mode)
  • 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds
  • 152 mph top track speed
  • 238-mile range

RS e-tron GT

  • 590 hp, 637 (in boost mode)
  • 612 lb-ft (in standard & boost mode)
  • 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds
  • 155 mph top track speed
  • 232-mile range

More Info

e-tron GT

The e-tron GT is expected to hit showroom floors later this summer and will soon be followed by the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron. Audi has set the bar high, hoping to have the largest fleet of electrified vehicles offered by a luxury manufacturer in the US by year-end 2021. Audi hopes to electrify 30% of its fleet by 2025. Afterward, the goal is the become fully carbon neutral by 2050.

Photos: Audi