I recently spent nearly two weeks with the all electric Audi RS e-tron GT. It was for a road trip I covered for the Sowetan Motoring and TimesLive, which I covered in the article “Can our Audi RS e-tron GT go the distance on a cross-province road trip?” (read here).
I previously had driven the e-tron GT at the launch event in Cape Town very briefly, so it was great to have an extended opportunity with the top of the range RS model.
Quick Look: Audi RS e-tron GT
- quattro all-wheel drive, 2 speed auto
- 440kW output (475kW boost); 830Nm of torque
- 93kWh battery (gross)
- Up to 472km of range (WLTP)
- 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds
- top speed of 250km/h
- 22.5-20.6kWh/100 km consumption (WLTP)
RS e-tron GT: standard and extras
|KITTED WITH EXTRAS
|Intelligent park assist
|black styling package plus
|sports leather steering wheel
|night vision assistant
|21″ sport wheels
|sports seats pro
|e-tron sports sound
|Nappa leather elements
|Audi connect navigation
|Bang & Olufsen 3D surround sound
|seat ventilation; massage feature
|charging plugs plus industrial one
|R 3 300 000
|R 3 524 800
Let’s be honest, it’s not just a good looking car, it’s the best looking EV right now in South Africa. Sure, it looks more on the traditional side, which is the case for the range of the e-trons because that’s what Audi was going for. And while I do love me some bold design, I also appreciate the RS e-tron GT. It’s also a very wide car. I had to be extra careful when manoeuvring in and out of parking lots and my driveway.
Also, you can’t drive this car and expect nobody to notice. It’s a common thing now that I’ve driven a fair amount of EVs that people will be curious, stare, point and of course, ask all the questions. The front black rings also give off a menacing look and people just moved out of my way on the highways etc.
What I found off was the charging flap didn’t have the same mechanism as the ones on the SUV and Sportback models. Where you press a button and it opens up. The RS e-tron GT has a manual one where you press on the flap, and sometimes I got the placement incorrectly, which made me look a bit foolish.
The interiors look sporty and premium, with multiple textures from suede to leather. I loved the honeycomb stitching on the seats with the leather combo. It also had heated seats, which are low of course, but you can electronically adjust it to suit your height. Audi still has a combination of buttons for controls, as well as a touch screen interface, not everything is touch.
There was sufficient room to store my phone, keys are other bits and bobs. I just didn’t like opening and closing the centre storage box, it felt like you couldn’t run a cable through but you could, felt like it was getting pressed on. The car has USB-C ports only, no USB-A.
I don’t know how I feel about lighting packages for cars. My new car currently has it, and so did the e-tron. I personally don’t like RGB lights changing colour, and yes I know you can change it but having it made me realise that it’s not useful. Yes, I get it for ambience, but I’m not changing those colours to suit my mood.
Regarding the infotainment system, I didn’t experience it before but the Apple CarPlay connectivity seemed a bit of a hit and miss. It worked sometimes, and other times it just disconnected and refused to connect. It is frustrating when you love using Google Maps to get around. It’s just something I had to get used to.
The boot is 350L, which is decent but it also houses the spare tire, which is massive. When we went away for the weekend, we just put whatever bags could fit in the boot and the rest in the backseats floors. It was no ideal but it worked.
It was a bit unfortunate to experience stage 6 load shedding while I was away on the assignment mentioned earlier, and to experience it during the worst that South Africa has ever gone through. It involved a lot of calling up dealerships to confirm load shedding times and working around it. The reason I opted for the dealership of course was the fast charge between the load shedding slots, so it will get done quicker.
Despite me having an EV charger at home, for a car that has a a massive 93kWh battery, it worked out better to use a 75kW DC fast charger. I only needed it to be charged at most for one and a half hours because I don’t run it below 20% and the last 80-100% takes longer so I don’t always wait until 100% anyway, but most times left in 95% upwards.
I experienced something with the e-tron that I’ve never experienced before. I was at Melrose Arch charging it on one of the older BMW chargers, the one rolled out back in 2015/6. And load shedding hit but when I went back to the car, I couldn’t remove the cable from the charger. I managed to remove it from the vehicle, that was fine, but I couldn’t leave the car’s cable in the charger. The charging station was old so I had to use the car’s cable provided.
It was a bit of mild panicking but I managed to get hold of the centre’s security who sent their electrician. He opened the box manually and released the cable. What a relief. They also mentioned that Melrose Arch will be given a revamp with the chargers and new ones will be put in the basement, and a whole lot more. It wasn’t like a dealership scenario but I could have been more proactive about checking the schedule.
While my home charger has been working out perfectly fine for not as large batteries, and even large ones for a top up over night when there is no load shedding, EVs with bigger batteries are better off being charged at fast charges. I love that Audi rolled out a bunch, with the main downside being it is only accessible during dealership hours.
I love extended time with EVs, there’s always something to learn, hence this blog post. While I was provided with the Audi RS e-tron GT for a specific assignment for the Sowetan Motoring and TimesLive, I thought sharing my experience with it would make an interesting read. This was the first time I experienced such a negative effect of load shedding while charging an EV. I know better now than to use one of the older chargers during load shedding but it makes sense to stick to the Audi specific ones if in an Audi.
I loved driving the RS e-tron GT, it not only is an exciting car to drive, but I was also nervous driving around a R3.5m car. A car like this will draw attention, which means I need to be prepared to answer questions, but I’m always happy to show an EV to anyone who is curious.
Stuck in load shedding traffic in the Audi RS e-tron GT. This car should just be a convertible cos everyone wants to have a conversation.
— Nafisa Akabor (@nafisa1) September 15, 2022
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. firstname.lastname@example.org