HOOD RIVER, Oregon – The Columbia River Gorge fashioned when a glacial lake half the scale of Lake Michigan repeatedly emptied over the past Ice Age. And we’re not speaking about pulling the plug in a bath – extra like setting an explosive cost on the Lengthy Seashore Aquarium. An ice dam of the Clark Fork River, roughly 2,000 ft excessive at its most, would inevitably heat, catastrophically break and ship a cataclysmic deluge of water towards the Pacific at 80 mph. It will then construct again up and begin the method all once more, an estimated 40 instances, ultimately slicing a fjord-like gash by the Cascades over about 2,000 years – a blink of an eye fixed in geologic phrases.
We’re at the moment on the verge of an identical reshaping of the automotive panorama, and though the widespread adoption of electrical autos certain appears delayed and dragged out, it’s taking place in a relative blink of an eye fixed. Not too way back, Audi was trotting out TDI diesels and shoehorning Lamborghini V10s into the A6, but right here we’re with the 2022 Audi RS E-Tron GT – a completely electrical automotive that isn’t some quirky eco-mobile however legitimately among the best vehicles to drive. Successfully, it’s a Porsche Taycan in Audi clothes, in order that final bit shouldn’t be that shocking, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an entire package deal of automotive excellence that when once more proves an electrical future gained’t be a nasty factor.
The RS E-Tron GT has 590 horsepower circulation collectively by its entrance and rear electrical motors, or 637 hp for just a few seconds in Enhance Mode. Torque stays at 612 pound-feet no matter mode and comes on immediately – you’ll be able to really really feel all 4 wheels slip as you plant your foot, your neck snaps again and everybody within the vehicles round you surprise the place that blue Audi went. One might examine it to a breached dam out of the blue unleashing half of Lake Michigan, however that metaphor’s already been used. Audi says it’ll hit 60 mph in three.1 seconds in Enhance Mode, which is simply a tenth off the extra highly effective Taycan Turbo. And in case you’re questioning, each the RS E-Tron GT and 464-hp E-Tron GT fall in between the Taycan 4S and Turbo when it comes to whole output. The Audi additionally will get Porsche’s distinctive two-speed rear transmission, which permits the E-Tron GT to go up the next gear at 65-plus mph to enhance effectivity.
Additionally just like the Taycans, the RS E-Tron GT does its most astonishing work on winding roads. The lengthy, simple sweepers of Freeway 14 on the Washington facet of the Gorge present the primary actual style of an totally unflappable automotive – a fast detour up Salmon Falls Street and again actually drives dwelling the purpose. Emphasis on fast. The E-Tron GT is lengthy and comically vast, with a middle of gravity that’s virtually subterranean due to 93.four kilowatts price of battery pack and a low roof fabricated from carbon fiber within the RS reasonably than glass. Then there’s the obtainable rear-wheel steering, which dials in a most 2.eight levels – simply sufficient to successfully shrink this lengthy automotive, however not sufficient that it seems like a Disney journey as within the Mercedes EQS – and naturally, there’s all-wheel drive. Each are notably useful when negotiating the razor-sharp hairpins of Salmon Falls, that are unsurprisingly a bit damp. The E-Tron GT whips itself round as planted as a Douglas fir and lays down energy ferociously in the direction of the following hairpin.
The three-chamber air suspension helps in that regard, because it slams the automotive by 22 mm in Dynamic mode and corporations the spring charges to virtually eradicate roll. With the letters GT in its title, journey high quality nonetheless counts for one thing, and for that, the air suspension is much more spectacular. Coming down off a pace bump seems like strolling on these max consolation trainers with 2 inches of squishy foam – you’ll be able to really feel it softly compress with out commensurate rebound. After crossing the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks and setting course on Interstate 84 towards Hood River, the E-Tron GT goes into full autobahn mode, sopping up each imperfection like a flagship luxurious sedan reasonably than one thing that might sustain with an R8 on a mountain highway. The high-performance tires create a good bit of highway noise, however the aerodynamic design retains wind roar to a minimal even when heading into the Gorge’s notoriously robust headwinds. There’s in fact no steel field of explosions making a racket, however as our brains nonetheless count on some spicy noise to come back together with a spicy automotive, Audi pipes an digital rumbling noise into the cabin. The sound appears pretty genuine and doesn’t clearly emanate from the automotive’s audio system, not like the Mercedes-AMG EQS.
If the E-Tron GT has a bonus over the Taycan, it’s the inside. It’s extra visually attention-grabbing with a larger mixture of supplies. Storage is healthier, too, and Audi’s acquainted touchscreen is less complicated to make use of, see and attain. Fortunately, the second touchscreen discovered within the E-Tron SUV and different Audis didn’t make the minimize (in all probability as a result of the Taycan structure wouldn’t permit it), which is for the higher since clicking switches for altering the local weather management system is a much better expertise. The bizarre, touch-sensitive audio system controller disk that performs the identical duties as a knob used to, however worse, did sadly make it aboard.
House is plentiful, not less than when you handle to fall into the deeply contoured buckets. Don’t plan on swish exits. It’s even worse within the again, with its sloped roofline, however a 6-foot-tall passenger reported being impressed with the house and the agency, supportive seats again there. The trunk is extra like what you’d discover in a coupe, and one wonders if Audi couldn’t have gone that additional mile with an A7-like hatchback design to enhance the GT’s GT credentials even additional.
As a automotive, the 2022 Audi RS E-Tron GT has an actual wow issue, and it positively wasn’t a certain factor that electrical vehicles have been going to have that. The beginning worth of $140,945 and as-tested of $161,890 speaks as a lot to this four-door GT’s twin nature, sensational all-around driving dynamics and top-end high quality. Which is nice because it’s not precisely the perfect electrical automotive. It’s not notably environment friendly, for one, with an 81 mpg-e ranking dwarfed by the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 (95 mpg-e) and Tesla Mannequin S (120 mpg-e).
Each of these additionally go a lot additional on a cost than the RS E-Tron GT and its EPA ranking of 232 miles. We noticed a bit lower than that attributable to chilly climate and needed to get a splash of electrons at a Walmart in Hood River earlier than heading again to Portland. No less than the E-Tron GT’s 800-volt electrical structure permits it to swallow these electrons faster than most, however there would’ve been no such want within the Tesla or Mercedes. No less than the E-Tron GT can outdo the Taycan – even when we’ve seen Porsche outdo its official EPA scores.
After all, all the above vehicles are nonetheless fancy baubles for extraordinary budgets. Till we get extra vehicles just like the VW ID.four, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Tesla Mannequin three, plus EVs cheaper than these with ample vary and worth, vehicles just like the E-Tron GT are however the first few leaks out of the glacial dam. The deluge is coming, although.