2023 Audi RS E-Tron GT

The Audi RS E-Tron GT's head-turning style and upscale interior mesh well with its scintillating performance and Porsche underpinnings
The Audi RS E-Tron GT's head-turning style and upscale interior mesh well with its scintillating performance and Porsche underpinnings

by Nick Tragianis | August 28, 2023


Badge engineering is nothing new. The idea is straightforward: take a car, change the name and badges, maybe give the front end a nip-and-tuck, and presto! It’s tricky to do it right — and the 2023 Audi RS E-Tron GT is one of the few that absolutely nails it.

Admittedly, I might’ve set the bar a bit too low. Coming out of the Q8 and Q4 E-Tron EVs, I figured the RS would be more of the same, just a little faster. Not that there’s anything wrong with them — they feel remarkably normal for an EV, if you’re into that — but they weren’t particularly exciting. Ah, but that’s the thing about the RS E-Tron GT: it’s a Porsche Taycan underneath, and Porsche knows a thing or two about building exciting cars.

The Taycan and E-Tron GT share a great deal — the platform, front and rear electric motors, battery pack, and many other drivetrain bits are mutual between the two — but there’s more differentiation than you’d expect. For starters, where Porsche offers a number of trim level, powertrain, and even body style configurations with the Taycan, Audi keeps their lineup much simpler: there’s the base E-Tron GT, and the spicy RS version.

Our tester is the latter. Pumping out 590 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque — that jumps to a whopping 637 horses in overboost mode — the RS slots between the GTS and Turbo in Taycan terms. Audi quotes a zero-to-100 km/h run in as little as 3.3 seconds, which is more or less on par (if not slightly quicker) than other fast Audis like the RS 6 and R8. If that’s somehow too fast for your liking, the base GT makes do with 469 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque — 522 hp and 472 lb-ft in boost mode — and promises a zero-to-100 km/h run in just under four seconds. Not exactly slow, either.

Despite falling short of other EV hotrods like the Taycan Turbo S and Tesla Model S Plaid, the RS’ heady numbers nevertheless paint a promising picture, and in the flesh, life imitates art. Look, we’re no strangers to the instant torque most EVs are known for, but no matter how much you brace yourself, nothing prepares you for the RS’ ferocity. It’s practically an anvil falling from the sky — and that’s without launch control. Do the dance to activate it, and the RS is violent. Let me put it this way: Audi sure wasn’t kidding about the zero-to-100 runs.

But there’s more to the RS than face-melting acceleration. This is where the Porsche-ness shines: chuck it into a set of twisties or a tight on-ramp, and the RS hustles through. Grip is plentiful, body roll is minimal, and it feels unflappable and surprisingly nimble despite its 5,126-pound curb weight. The RS does ride firm, but it’s not punishing — only the gnarliest of bumps, potholes, and other imperfections will make you gnash your teeth. Wind and road noise are well-hushed — which is great, because you can hear the RS’ Old Bessie-esque soundtrack that much better. Like the Taycan, the RS offers regenerative braking but not quite one-pedal driving; you can adjust the levels of intensity via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Even in its most aggressive setting, it still feels remarkably natural.

On charging and range, the RS E-Tron GT isn’t class-leading, but it’s competitive. Officially, it can do 373 kilometres — plenty for most commutes and roughly on par with the Taycan GTS we evaluated last year, but it trails behind rivals like the Model S Plaid and the Lucid Air. Audi’s ace in the hole is charging; the RS E-Tron GT supports 270 kW DC fast charging, which theoretically lends to a five-to-80 per cent recharge in just 22 minutes. Of course, your mileage may vary — pun intended — if you rely on public fast-charging infrastructure. On a Level 2 charger, you’re looking at nine and a half hours. And if you have to plug into a standard 110-volt household outlet, don’t even bother.

In the grand scheme of badge engineering, one of the biggest challenges is masking the aesthetic influence from the other — not necessarily lesser — vehicle. The swooping silhouette and wide rear haunches are particularly Porsche-esque, but beyond that, the RS E-Tron GT certainly looks and quacks like an Audi. It also turns heads everywhere it goes, even in a colour as boring as silver, and rolling on the base 20-inch wheels.

Inside, the RS E-Tron GT takes a different approach than the Taycan. For starters, the Audi has fewer screens, surprisingly enough — a 10.1-inch touchscreen angled towards the driver sits in the middle of the dash, running Audi’s familiar, intuitive, and crisp-looking MMI infotainment software. That’s augmented by a 12.1-inch display running Audi’s Virtual Cockpit — in other words, an all-digital and highly configurable instrument cluster — interface. Audi’s trick augmented reality heads-up display is missing from the RS E-Tron — an odd omission given it’s featured on the lesser Q4.

But we give that a pass, as the rest of the RS’ interior lives up to expectations. Fit-and-finish is excellent, the seats are supportive and keep your posterior in place around tight corners, and visibility all around is mostly good, although that same swooping roofline that looks great outside impacts rearward visibility and rear-seat headroom. Cargo space punches in at 350 litres, plus another 50 litres in the frunk.

The RS E-Tron GT isn’t a bargain, but it’s competitive. It kicks off at $184,900, and with the only options featured on our tester being $890 for silver paint, $500 for red brake calipers, and $350 for black badges, you’re looking at $186,640 as-tested and before fees, taxes, and all that fun stuff. For comparison’s sake, a Taycan GTS and Turbo will run you $158,200 and $186,500, respectively, albeit with exactly zero options — and much of what’s considered optional on the Taycan is standard on the Audi. Plot twist: If you’re feeling frugal and speedy, the 576-horse Kia EV6 GT matches the RS’ zero-to-100 km/h sprints at a 60 per cent markdown.

Badge engineering is tricky to pull off, but the 2023 Audi RS E-Tron GT nails it. Its head-turning style and upscale interior mesh well with the scintillating performance and shared Porsche underpinnings — something we can’t really say about the rest of Audi’s decidedly normal-feeling E-Tron lineup. RS may officially stand for “Renn Sport” in Audi-speak, but it may as well be “really spicy.”

See Also

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

2023 Audi Q4 E-Tron

2024 Audi Q8 E-Tron

Vehicle Specs
Electric sport sedan
Engine Size
450 kW dual electric motors, 85 kWh battery
Horsepower (at RPM)
590 (637 in boost mode)
Torque (lb-ft.)
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
26.4/25.5/26 kWh/100 km; 3.0/2.9/2.9 Le/100 km
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
350 L rear; 50 L front
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Nick Tragianis

Managing Editor

Nick has more than a decade of experience shooting and writing about cars, and as a journalism grad, he's a staunch believer of the Oxford Comma despite what the Canadian Press says. He’s a passionate photographer and loves exploring the open road in anything he gets his hands on.

Current Toys: '90 MX-5 Miata, '00 M5, '16 GTI Autobahn