Audi Confirms RS Variant for E-Tron GT Sports EV, Teases Soundtrack
With Porsche having secured itself an all-electric vehicle, the laws of trickle-down manufacturing dictate that Audi is the next on Volkswagen Group’s docket for performance-focused electrification. Using the J1 performance platform that underpins Porsche’s Taycan, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has reported that its own E-Tron GT is nearing completion — assuring us that it’ll will meet the bar in terms of “quality and progressiveness” in a handful of announcements on Thursday.
Probably the most important of these was that Audi would be ready to commence production at the end of this year at Böllinger Höfe, near Neckarsulm, alongside the R8. However the company leaked a few additional details, including that the E-Tron (which the brand stylizes in all lower-case letters, bleh) will come in an RS variant.
While we have no clue on how hardcore the RS trim will be on the E-Tron GT, Stuttgart’s Taycan ranges between 522 and 750 horsepower. Audi will presumably slot the RS tastefully below the Porsche’s maximum output, leaving it with similarly mental 0-to-60 times in the 3 second (or less) range. It’s also likely to get a bunch of exterior touches not found on the standard trimmed GT and some unique flair on the inside to give further distinguish it from the more plebeian examples.
Marc Lichte, head of design at Audi, had previously confessed that it was difficult to distinguish EVs from each other in terms of their innate character. But he’s been confident they’ve managed to pull it off by giving the duo “completely different driving dynamics.”
“It’s not like today with an [internal combustion] engine, where the flat-six or the turbo V6 provides the character. The challenge is to develop that kind of identity for the EV vehicles,” Lichte told Car & Driver in 2018. “Audi has a rich history, and we need to marry our past to the future.”
Since then, we’ve gotten a healthy look at the E-Tron GT Concept (above) — which has some overt badge engineering but enough unique touches to differentiate itself from the Taycan. Despite the two obviously sharing plenty of industrial DNA, the Audi is more angular. Even the production model, which Audi has teased using close-up shots of a heavily camouflaged model, appears to retain some of the creases we saw on the concept that the Porsche lacks.
Another item keeping the two apart will be the soundtrack. While the Taycan has an “Electric Sport Sound” option that adds a synthesized rumble that provides some depth to the standard EV whizzing EV (for an extra $500), the E-Tron GT will be getting its own unique noises. All the manufacturer has said thus far is that the car “sounds powerful and progressive — just as an Audi should.” But it has provided a couple of teasers indicating the E-Tron will likely be offering fewer audio-engineered burbles for something more akin to the THX introduction.