HOOD RIVER, Oregon – The Columbia River Gorge formed when a glacial lake half the size of Lake Michigan was continuously depleted during the last Ice Age. And we’re not talking about pulling the plug in the tub – like setting an explosion at the Long Beach Aquarium. An ice dam of the Clark Fork River, about 2,000 feet high at most, is sure to warm, catastrophically break, and unleash a cataclysm of water toward the Pacific Ocean at 80 mph. It will then rebuild and begin the process again, an estimated 40 times, eventually slicing a fjord-like rift through the Cascades in about 2,000 years – a blink of an eye in geological terms.
We are currently on the verge of reshaping the automotive landscape similarly, and while widespread adoption of electric vehicles may seem delayed and scrapped, it is happening in a relative blink. Not too long ago, Audi rolled out TDI diesels and tested Lamborghini V10s into the A6, but here we are with the 2022 Audi RS E-Tron GT – an all-electric car not must be a quirky yet legit eco-mobility one of the best cars to drive. It’s a Porsche Taycan in an Audi garb, in fact, so the last shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s still a complete package of automotive excellence that once again proves an electric future will be. not a bad thing.
The RS E-Tron GT has a total output of 590 hp via front and rear electric motors, or 637 hp in seconds in Boost Mode. Torque remains at 612 pound-feet regardless of mode, and works instantly – you can literally feel all four wheels slip when you put your feet, neck retracts and everyone in the cars around you wonder where that blue Audi went. One might compare it to a dam that suddenly burst freeing half of Lake Michigan, but that metaphor was used. Audi says it’ll hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds in Boost Mode, just a tenth of what it’s going to be in more powerful mode. Taycan Turbo. And in case you were wondering, both the 464hp RS E-Tron GT and E-Tron GT fall between Taycan 4S and Turbo in terms of total output. Audi is also equipped with Porsche’s unique two-speed rear transmission, allowing the E-Tron GT to accelerate higher at 65 km/h for improved performance.
Just like the Taycans, the RS E-Tron GT does its most amazing job on winding roads. The long and easy sweepers of Highway 14 on the Washington side of the Canyon offer the first real taste of a completely unassembled vehicle – fast up Salmon Falls Road and back to actually driving go home. Emphasis on quickness. The E-Tron GT is comically long and wide, with the center of gravity practically underground thanks to a 93.4-kilowatt battery pack and a low roof made of carbon fiber in the RS rather than glass. Then there’s the available rear-wheel steering, which rotates up to 2.8 degrees – just enough to effectively shrink this long car, but not enough for it to feel like a Disney ride in Mercedes EQS – and of course, there’s four-wheel drive. Both are particularly useful when negotiating for razor-sharp hairpins in Salmon Falls, which isn’t surprisingly damp. The E-Tron GT whips itself around like it’s planted like a Douglas fir and violently lowers its power towards the next hairpin.
The three-chamber air suspension helps in that regard, as it slides the bike 22mm in Dynamic mode and firms spring ratios to practically eliminate roll. With the letters GT in its name, ride quality still counts for something, and so the air suspension is even more impressive. Getting off a speed bump feels like walking in maximum comfort running shoes with 2-inch-thick foam – you can feel it lightly compressing without the commensurate bounce. After crossing the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks and establishing a route on Interstate 84 towards the Hood River, the E-Tron GT enters full autobahn mode, correcting any imperfections like a The flagship luxury sedan is more than one that can keep up with the R8 on a mountain road. The high-performance tires make for a bit of road noise, but the aerodynamic design keeps the wind roar to a minimum even when entering the Gorge’s famously strong winds. There’s no explosive metal box, of course, that makes a bang, but as our brains still expect some noise to come along with a tear gas car, Audi has infused an electronic rumble into the cabin. . The sound seems quite realistic and clearly does not come from the car’s speakers, unlike Mercedes-AMG EQS.
If the E-Tron GT has an advantage over the Taycan, it’s the interior. It’s more visually interesting with more material combinations. Storage is better, too, and Audi’s familiar touchscreen is easier to use, easier to see and more accessible. Thankfully, the second touchscreen found in the E-Tron SUV and other Audis hasn’t been cut (possibly because the Taycan architecture doesn’t allow it), which is better because clicking the switch to change the climate control system is a much better experience. The odd, touch-sensitive audio system control disc performs the same tasks as a rotary knob used to, but worse, unfortunately makes it work.
Space is plentiful, at least once you manage to fall into the deep contours. Don’t plan graceful departures. It’s even worse at the rear, with its sloping roofline, but a 6-foot-tall passenger said he was impressed with the space and firm, supportive seats there. The trunk is like what you’d find on a coupe, and one wonders if Audi might not have gone the extra mile with an A7-like hatchback design to improve the GT’s GT credentials even further.
As a car, the Audi RS E-Tron GT 2022 has an element of awe and it is certainly not certain that electric cars will have that. The $140,945 starting price and $161,890 as tested say a lot about the dual nature of this four-door GT, its all-round driving dynamics, and its premium quality. That’s fine because it’s not exactly the best electric car. It’s not particularly effective, for one, with 81 mpg-e ratings constrained by Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 (95 mpg-e) and Tesla Model S (120 mpg-e).
Both go much further than the RS E-Tron GT and its EPA rating is 232 miles. We saw a little less due to the cold weather and had to get some electronics at the Walmart in Hood River before heading back to Portland. At least the E-Tron GT’s 800-volt electrical architecture allows it to swallow those electrons faster than most, but there won’t be such a need in Tesla or Mercedes. At least the E-Tron GT can overtake the Taycan – even if we’ve seen Porsche pass its official EPA rating.
Of course, all of these cars are still fancy jewels for unusual budgets. Until we have more cars like VW ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and the Tesla Model 3, plus electric cars that are cheaper than those with enough range and value, cars like the E-Tron GT are just the first cars to leak out of the ice dam. However, the great flood is coming.