Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron GT: an electric family tree

Perhaps more than any luxury manufacturer, Audi has worked to make its electric vehicles reassuring and accessible: e-Trons are Audis first, electric cars second. The original e-Tron SUVs, in particular, will pass for the same Audis that haunt every fair-trade coffee roaster and school-bus lineup in America.

The e-Tron GT maintains this philosophy, subsuming its electric technology under a voluptuous grand touring body and a comforting cover of Audi luxury. Only this time, impossible to ignore the monsters below, which wake up with each push of the right foot: two electric motors which peak at 637 horsepower in the RS version. Next thing you know, the monster devours 60 mph, a 3.1-second heave that leaves you hooked for life. Thank goodness for the optional massive carbon-ceramic brakes, their powerful balance is welcome on the fast, mini-alpine descents of the Hudson Valley.

Add the Audi and Porsche to a growing list of 2.5-ton electric sedans with insane acceleration. The RS e-Tron immediately becomes the most powerful Audi in history, surpassing two petrol teammates also spawned by Papa VW: the R8 V-10 and Lamborghini Huracán supercars. The Audi GT costs less, although that’s relative, starting at $103,445. That goes up 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 softer luxury cruiser vibe. The steering is creamy and precise, but conveys a less pure fingertip feel than the benchmark Porsche. The RS’s standard rear-wheel steering steers the tires in the opposite direction to the front wheels up to 31 mph to increase agility or reduce a turning radius, then spins the tires in parallel beyond 50 mph for stability.

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

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