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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Before we get into all that, some housekeeping. Our RS test car was fitted with every possible dynamic extra: four-wheel steering, air-suspension (standard on RS, normal adaptive dampers standard on the quattro model), carbon ceramic brakes (steel discs standard on the quattro, cast-iron discs with a tungsten carbide coating standard on the RS) and an electronically controlled rear differential. We’ll report back on a simpler-spec car once we get our hands on one, but for now we can confirm that all the extra tech works wonderfully.

The ride, even on 21-inch wheels, is magically supple, the grip is otherworldly (honestly, the speed you can carry around a roundabout is naughty) and the four-wheel steering is a must-have if you often find yourself manoeuvring in tight spaces. Given that when you brush the brake pedal the initial deceleration (up to 0.3G) is all regen – meaning a gentle driver could realistically punt around in one of these without ever actually pushing pad against disc – carbon-ceramic discs do feel like overkill… but should come into their own if you ever venture out on track.

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The steering is fast and precise, but not particularly engaging, much like any other modern fast Audi bar the R8 then, and the acceleration is, well, ballistic. Anyone comparing 0-62mph times and thinking this is a slower car than the Taycan Turbo or Tesla Model S… it isn’t. Not in the real world at least – what matters is how fast a car feels and the RS e-tron GT feels as fast as you could ever comfortably want to go in a road car. Anymore and you just start to feel sick. The sensation is of a bottomless well of power, always at your disposal – revs don’t matter, gears don’t matter, just twitch your right foot and you teleport forwards. Supercar pace without any of the effort.

That could and would get boring if Audi didn’t have its handling sorted, but it does. The body control on this 2.3-tonne car is such that it feels about 400kg lighter than it actually is. Agile and alert, when physics dictate it should be heaving around on its suspension. Is there a fraction more body roll than a Taycan? Perhaps, but you’d need to drive them back-to-back to notice the difference. Audi claims the centre of gravity is lower than an R8, and we don’t doubt it for a second.

Like the Taycan, Audi has worked hard on producing a sonic replacement for V8 throb. The ‘e-tron sport sound’ – standard on RS, optional on quattro – uses two control units and amps in the boot to feed two speakers inside and two outside the car. Using data on the motor speeds, throttle input and your ground speed it pumps a sci-fi-style synthetic warble into the cabin (that can be toned down or up via three settings) that’s not unpleasant but not as obvious as the one you get in a Taycan. Turn the car on and there’s a surprisingly loud pulsating hum from the outside, to warn pedestrians of your imminent arrival.

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