Audi e-tron GT review – this over a Porsche Taycan?

Audi e-tron GT review – this over a Porsche Taycan?

The Audi e-tron GT serves as the poster car of Ingolstadt’s electric vehicle (EV) series and was first revealed way back in February 2021, before eventually reaching our shores in the middle of 2023. Available in three variants, the e-tron GT range starts with the quattro and is followed by the quattro with the Dynamic Package, while at the very top sits the RS variant.

At the time of writing this review, Audi Malaysia lists the e-tron GT quattro Dynamic Package with a retail price of RM677,790 OTR without insurance, or RM690,790 with the Audi Assurance Package (AAP). The latter extends the manufacturer warranty to five years (from two years) and adds a three-year, 45,000-km maintenance package. Step up to the RS e-tron GT and the asking price rises to RM804,790, or RM819,790 with AAP – the standard quattro appears to be missing for now.

These figures are “attractive” thanks to ongoing EV incentives provided by the government, so is the e-tron GT worth considering? Well, Audi Malaysia presented us the chance to take the EV on a road trip to Ipoh and we were even provided the opportunity to drive it at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) in the days after. Here are our thoughts.

What is the e-tron GT?

Audi e-tron GT review – this over a Porsche Taycan?

It’s what Iron Man drove in Avengers: Endgame! That’s already a pretty good starting point for a pitch but we can’t just go with that. As mentioned at the start, the e-tron GT is the halo model of Audi’s e-tron range, which originally started when the e-tron SUV first made its debut back in 2018 – this has since been renamed to the Q8 e-tron to make the line-up easier to understand for customers.

The e-tron GT shares the J1 platform with the Porsche Taycan, so it gets the same goodies like a 2,900-mm wheelbase as well as an 800-volt electrical architecture to enable rapid DC charging. On all variants, the e-tron GT supports DC charging at a max of 270 kW, which gets the 93.4-kWh lithium-ion battery (net figure; gross is 83.7 kWh) from a 5-80% state of charge in just 22.5 minutes. There’s also AC charging at up to 11 kW, but a full charge with that takes nine hours – you can get 22 kW with the Dynamic Package that drops the charge time to four hours.

The battery powers a pair of electric motors, with the regular quattro variant serving up a total system output of 476 PS (469 hp or 350 kW) and 630 Nm of torque. This is good for a 0-100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 245 km/h. There’s also an available boost mode that temporarily bumps the output to 530 PS (523 hp or 390 kW) and 640 Nm to further reduce the century sprint time to just 4.1 seconds.

The RS version gets even higher outputs of 598 PS (590 hp or 440 kW) and 830 Nm. As with the quattro, there’s a boost mode that increases peak power briefly to 646 PS (637 hp or 475 kW) so you can get from 0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds. Range takes a hit as a result, with the RS providing 447 km compared to the quattro with 458 km – both are following the WLTP standard.

What’s it like to like with as a daily?

Audi e-tron GT review – this over a Porsche Taycan?

As a start, the e-tron GT attracts quite a bit of attention from onlookers who have become “accustomed” to seeing Taycans roaming around. Of course, design is a subjective matter, but I prefer the look of the e-tron GT over the Taycan, and some of my colleagues and friends share this opinion as well.

It’s certainly not “OTT” nor does it scream “I’m a sporty EV,” but the low-slung stance and shapely profile do well to attract the eyeballs, with one standout cue for me being the chiseled sections above the rear wheel arches. With the Dynamic Package, there’s also a carbon-fibre roof, matrix LED headlamps and tungsten carbide-coated brake discs (with painted calipers) that add some glitz to a relatively subtle design.

At just 1,414 mm tall, getting in and out can be a bit of a challenge for those with troubled knees/ankles, but thankfully the sills aren’t overly extended that you need to “climb” over them. As for the other dimensions, the EV occupies a rather large footprint with a length of 4,989 mm and width of 1,964 mm.

However, when you’re inside, the e-tron GT feels “smaller” than the numbers suggest and is rather easy to manoeuvre and place – praise to Audi for keeping physical buttons that provide quick access to the high-res 360-degree camera, which was handy when navigating tighter car parks.

On that mention, the matter of keeping physical controls is up for contention. Some may find them archaic and prefer to have as many vehicle functions nestled in a touchscreen to keep the interior “clean,” which is the case with the Taycan.

On the other hand, there are some (me included) who prefer having some buttons around for things used often, which is the case in the e-tron GT that retains physical controls for the air-conditioning and other functions for easy access – pick a side in the comments below.

This approach of not overloading a driver’s sensory input also sees subtle ambient lighting being applied and just two displays inside the cabin. Infotainment is provided by the MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch system, the latter in the form of a 10.1-inch touchscreen with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit is the other display, and it continues to provide a decent level of configurability with crisp graphics and text.

Legroom and headroom are abundant at the front, but tall people (over 170 cm) in the rear might find it a bit of squeeze, which isn’t helped by the short seat base and rather upright seatback. The fastback shape also limits the height of items that can go in the boot, but long, flat-packed furniture shouldn’t be much of an issue with the rear seat bench folded down.

What’s the e-tron GT like to drive on public roads?

There’s more than enough power to pin unsuspecting passengers to their seats regardless of the variant you go with. This novelty does wear off after a while – there are limited areas to do this safely – and when just trudging around town, the e-tron GT delivers a pleasant driving experience. Throttle response is smooth, progressive and predictable that you don’t accidentally overdo things and see high triple digits.

Unlike some EVs, the e-tron GT provides a more natural feel that is more easing for those coming from a petrol-powered car. There’s not even a one-pedal driving mode, with the regenerative braking coming on subtly and reminiscent of engine braking, even if you pull the left paddle to max out regen. Audi says the regen braking is up to a limit of 0.3 g, following which hydraulic braking takes over, adding the brake pedal is what variates the amount of regen pressure applied.

To go along with the well-calibrated electric drivetrain, the e-tron GT also provides a rather comfortable ride with good compliance over primary bumps and decently over secondaries. The odd pothole does unsettle things momentarily but it isn’t jarring and the EV with its well-tuned dampers maintains its composure almost all of the time.

The RS version comes standard with adaptive three-chamber air suspension, which can raise the body by 20 mm to help clear higher bumps, or drop by 22 mm for better efficiency. This system also helps to manage body lean better, which is welcomed for such a heavy car, without the overly pillowy feel. It’s also worth noting the RS gets rear-wheel steering that does help reduce the turning radius, helpful when navigating a car this long.

Driving the standard quattro and RS back to back, there is a discernible difference with ride comfort, with the latter providing a more supple ride as it soaks bumps just that much better. Even so, the non-RS variants are still impressive in their own right with steel springs, as the adaptive dampers are set up just right.

Heading up north towards Ipoh, the EV covers ground quickly and is comfortable to be in (regardless of variant), which makes it deserving of the ‘GT’ in its name. As a daily driver, the e-tron GT’s surprisingly cozy driving experience betrays the sporty persona that many are led to believe at first glance.

On the matter of potential range anxiety, the e-tron GT made it all the way to Ipoh without requiring a recharge along the way, arriving with just under 30% remaining. This is inclusive of a short stint to demonstrate its acceleration prowess on a closed section of road near Proton City in Tanjung Malim.

Following the convoy to and from Ipoh, I was confident in bringing an e-tron GT quattro tester up Genting Highlands after a quick charge at the Audi showroom in Glenmarie. With the 180 kW DC charger, I got the battery from 60% to 85% with 14 minutes of charging before making the trip up. On the way down, careful use of the brakes to maximise energy recuperation helped gain back 5-8% and I was home in Subang Jaya with just under 50% to spare.

What’s the e-tron GT like to drive on a track?

Audi e-tron GT review – this over a Porsche Taycan?

Our time with the e-tron GT at SIC was mainly spent with the RS variant, and one of the activities planned included a straightforward acceleration test. Unsurprisingly, the EV is incredibly fast off the line, with the 0-100 km/h times being very close to what was claimed.

Our only other activity was a half-track tour of SIC that serves to showcase the dynamic capabilities of the e-tron GT. On the straights, the EV was quick to gain speed as we’ve already known, but approaching and taking corners was met with a fair bit of caution.

With a kerb weight well over two tonnes, there’s no defying physics when it comes to slowing the e-tron GT down. It is a heavy car, and the instructors on hand were ever ready to remind us to get on the brakes early for our safety and to ensure we don’t overshoot a corner.

When it comes to the twisty bits, there is some mechanical trickery in the form of a rear differential lock (RS only) to ensure power is sent to wheels with traction, helped further by the e-torque vectoring and rear-wheel steering (also RS only). It’s a little surreal yet confidence-inspiring that something this large can take corners at quite some pace, but there is a limit when the pronounced weight transfer starts to feel unsettling.

The air suspension does its best to manage body roll, but there’s only so much heft it can put up with before things start to feel a little out of control. To add, the steering is relatively light and lacking in feel, which makes small adjustments mid-corner a little tricky. This is definitely more comfortable doing grand touring things rather than the “sports car in disguise” thing.

Should you buy the e-tron GT?

Audi e-tron GT review – this over a Porsche Taycan?

There’s no running away from the fact that those considering the e-tron GT will probably cross-shop with the Taycan. Both offer formidable performance, but there is a difference in philosophy when it comes to everything else.

The e-tron GT experience is more about ease of use and familiarity. If you’ve been in recent Audi models, the interior keeps to conventional controls rather than burying them under layers of menus on a screen.

By comparison, the Taycan’s interior aims to be more futuristic with a bevy of screens and far less physical controls, which does contribute to the showroom wow factor. However, not everyone wants to dig through menus to get to a vehicle function; case in point, adjusting where the air vents are pointed is done through the central touchscreen.

Additionally, where the Taycan is geared more towards being sharper to drive to fulfil the “electric vehicle becomes a sports car and a sports car becomes a Porsche.” marketing tagline, the Audi is more comfort-oriented while providing a more natural feel behind the wheel.

Audi e-tron GT review – this over a Porsche Taycan?

If you want a comfortable GT that is also fully electric, the e-tron GT is the one to have. The question then becomes whether to stick with the quattro, step up to the Dynamic Package, or go all out and splurge on the RS. The RS costs RM127k (or RM129k with AAP) more than the quattro Dynamic Package, which is a fair bit of money to commit – the kit list is rather identical between both.

The RS’ higher outputs are great in a game of top trumps, but in the real world, are you going to be using all that performance all of the time, safely? The follow-up is whether you need the RS-exclusive rear diff lock, rear-wheel steering, air springs and larger 21-inch wheels.

For me, the quattro with the Dynamic Package would be the one to go for. The performance is more than sufficient and the middle ground option is capable in terms dynamics and ride comfort. You don’t get the carbon-heavy aesthetics of the RS, but there are welcomed improvements such as the ‘carbid’ brakes, the nicer Nappa leather upholstery, the aurally-pleasing Bang & Olufsen sound system, and more importantly, faster AC charging at 22 kW (great news if you have a compatible home charger). I’ll have one in either red or white.

GALLERY: Audi e-tron GT quattro with Dynamic Package

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Gerard Lye

Originating from the corporate world with a background in finance and economics, Gerard’s strong love for cars led him to take the plunge into the automotive media industry. It was only then did he realise that there are more things to a car than just horsepower count.

 

Comments

  • FudgeMeSideways on Feb 03, 2024 at 11:07 am

    4.0 V8 I buy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8
    • ICE are for Paleolitic People on Feb 04, 2024 at 9:00 am

      Hahahaha, you still stuck in the past. 4.0 V8.hahaha. You talk like you can afford the roadtax. Pigi lah. Still stuck in the past. EV is the in thing now for smart classy civilized people.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
  • Peppa on Feb 03, 2024 at 4:37 pm

    Things that makes this car better than Taycan :

    1. Physical A/C controls
    2. Attractive styling

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  • @NotBruceWayne on Feb 05, 2024 at 9:43 am

    My personal choice if only I could afford it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Katheryne Wong on Feb 06, 2024 at 3:21 am

    Price very expensive

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
 

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