Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron GT: An Electric Family Tree

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Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron GT: An Electric Family Tree

Perhaps more than any luxury manufacturer, Audi has insisted on making its EVs reassuring and accessible: e-trons are Audi first, electric cars second. The original e-tron SUVs, in particular, will pass for the same Audi that haunts every fair-trade coffee roaster and school pickup queue in America.

The e-tron GT upholds that philosophy by keeping its electric technology under the opulent tourer body and the comfy blanket of Audi luxury. Only this time, it’s impossible to ignore the demons below, who wake up with every prod of your right foot: the dual electric motor that tops out at 637 horsepower in the RS version. Next thing you know, the monster devours a 60-mph, 3.1-second rebound that leaves you hanging on for dear life. Thanks in large part to the optional carbon-ceramic brakes, their forceful poise on fast, mini-alpine descents in the Hudson Valley is a welcome addition.

Add Audi and Porsche to a growing list of 2.5-ton electric sedans with wild acceleration. The RS e-Tron instantly becomes the most powerful Audi in history, topping two gasoline stablemates powered by the papa VW: the R8 V-10 and the Lamborghini Huracan supercar. The cost of the Audi GT is low, though relative, starting at $103,445. This rises to $140,945 for the RS version, and $161,890 for my heavily optioned RS.

Audi engineers tuned their own adjustable air suspension for a slightly mellow, luxury-cruiser vibe. Steering is creamy and precise, but less pure than the benchmark Porsche, transmitting a fingertip feel. The RS’s standard rear-wheel steering angles swan agility or trim a turning circle to 31 mph in the opposite direction of the front wheels, then turning tires in parallel at over 50 mph for stability.

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Unlike Porsche’s engine-based digital soundtrack, Audi sound designers developed an acceleration tune that drivers operate with their right foot, piped through the sparkling Bang & Olufsen audio system. Audi experimented with a number of instruments, including a didgeridoo, which consists of a cordless screwdriver and a fan that pushes air through an organ-like pipe, before creating a digital mix of 32 sounds, both natural and synthesized. The riff, which responds algorithmically to the vehicle’s performance, can be turned on or off. Unlike some grating EV soundtracks, it’s good in modest doses, recalling a vague chorus from the Benjamin Britten space opera.

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