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

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

Perhaps more than any luxury maker, Audi has pushed to make its E.V.s reassuring and accessible: The e-Trons are Audis first, electric cars second. The original e-Tron S.U.V.s, especially, will pass for the same Audis that haunt every fair-trade coffee roaster and school pickup queue in America.

The e-Tron GT maintains that philosophy, subsuming its electric tech under a voluptuous grand-tourer body and a comforting blanket of Audi luxury. Only this time, it’s impossible to ignore the monsters below, which awaken with every prod of your right foot: dual electric motors that peak at 637 horsepower in the RS version. The next thing you know, the monster devours 60 m.p.h., a 3.1-second uprising that leaves you hanging on for dear life. Thank goodness for massive, optional carbon-ceramic brakes, their forceful poise welcome on fast, mini-Alpine descents in the Hudson Valley.

Add the Audi and Porsche to a growing list of 2.5-ton electric sedans with wild acceleration. The RS e-Tron immediately becomes history’s most-powerful Audi, topping two gasoline stablemates also sired by Papa VW: the R8 V-10 and Lamborghini Huracán supercars. The Audi GT costs less, though that’s relative, starting from $103,445. That 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 mellower, luxury-cruiser vibe. Steering is creamy and precise, but transmits less pure, fingertip feel than the benchmark Porsche. The RS’s standard rear-wheel steering angles tires in the opposite direction of front wheels at up to 31 m.p.h. to goose agility or trim a turning circle, then turns tires in parallel beyond 50 m.p.h. for stability.

In contrast with Porsche’s engine-based digital soundtrack, Audi sound designers developed an acceleration tune that drivers conduct with their right foot, piped through the sparkling Bang & Olufsen audio system. Audi experimented with multiple instruments, including a didgeridoo, before crafting 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 down or off. Unlike some grating E.V. soundtracks, it’s cool in modest doses, recalling an unearthly chorus from a Benjamin Britten space opera.

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