While we may not exactly have the flying cars our predecessors predicted, we do have something close. Cars that can flat out FLY. That’s the heralded power of the electric vehicle, or EV. Largely a folk tale stuffed somewhere in Elon Musk’s Australian brain somewhere, it’s soon becoming a reality. While Tesla used to have a massive market share, other automakers are slowly dwindling that lead down. No other common group has been more instrumental in this as the German Big 3. Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen have all launched their missiles into the EV range, all very special and unique in their respective ways. Porsche and Audi have launched their EV sports cars, made for high performance, while VW decides to hang on to their middle class market and make a more affordable ID.4. All are German, all are fair game.
Something Straight out of the Jetsons
E-Tron just sounds menacing, and futuristic. Like something from Robocop. The E-Tron has been in the works for a while, with rumors that Audi would put up a Tesla competitor since 2014. The go-to-market version sure looks like something straight out of a dystopian movie where this is the villain’s car. For starters the E-Tron comes in two trims— the GT and the RS E-Tron, your high performance version.
The E-Tron intends to give the Model S Plaid a run for its money, for starters, the GT begins with 522 horses to the wheels, eliminating much of its gas counterpart’s rotational energy loss. The RS model ups the ante even more with a jaw dropping 637 horses on an AWD chassis. 0-60 is even more mind boggling, at a solid 3.9 seconds, but will drop to 3.1 with the RS. Featuring launch control and overboost, the E-Tron is meant to perform and not just some gimmick that Audi threw together piggybacking off the instant torque. Just like how through the 2000’s, the Germans went toe to toe in their horsepower battles, the EV war has begun.
Driven by a two speed transmission, similar to the Porsche, the E-Tron also features 4 wheel steering, a segment exclusive. The 4 wheel steering will really help with any tight corners, especially in inner city areas, as well as parallel parking and cramped spots. The E-Tron also will headline its three chamber suspension system making for one of the smoothest rides you’ll ever feel. Playing strictly to its name as a Grand Tourer or Grand Turismo.
Speaking more about the impressive 4 wheel steering, is straight from Audi itself, “Available in all e-tron GT models, all-wheel steering provides a maximum of 2.8 degrees in the rear – in the opposite direction up to a speed of around 30 mph to increase low-speed agility, and in the same direction above approximately 30 mph to aid stability at speed.” Performance upgrades like Brembo brakes, carbon ceramic brakes, aero packages, and rear-axle differential locks are all optioned or standard on the RS, but are offered on the GT. The difference between the two is more than just the price, or a higher trim level, it’s the purpose of the car.
The GT is what it says it is, a grand tourer, while the RS is truly a high performance supercar. Putting up similar numbers to the R8 is no joke, especially while putting out 0 net emissions. Moreover, the two are pretty much the same when it comes to their practicality however. The range on the GT is 238, while on the RS, a step behind at 232. Starting at $99,900 and working its way up to $139,900 for the RS, the E-Tron is priced similarly to the Taycan.
And In This Corner… The Taycan
While we already did a full in-depth review of the flagship Porsche EV, we’ll go over some of the highlights again. Contrary to the E-Tron, the Taycan lets you choose between 3 trims. The base, the 4S, and the Turbo (which again makes no sense to me). Again, differing from the Audi, these three are linear trims, offering better features while still maintaining the same type of car.
The Taycan will put around 469 horses down with the larger battery pack on the base model, which can be upped to 522 with the 4S. The Turbo blows past the E-Tron at a whopping 670 horsepower, but is also heavier. The Turbo will dash up to 60 MPH in 2.4 seconds, again blowing past the Audi. Buyer beware however, the price on these go up exponentially, while it may start at $90,000, anything worth getting is well over six figures.
“While it may start at $90,000, anything worth getting is well over six figures”
The interior is much more refined than the E-Tron, putting premium materials and build quality over everything else. The interior doesn’t feel German anymore, no more gimmicks, no more electrical gremlins. Everything seems well thought out and looks like Stuttgart spent a lot of time developing the interior. Everything is in place, a modern interior for a modern car after all. Even with all this, it maintains its hint of Porsche’s minimalistic interiors, that’s nothing new. It doesn’t try to be in your face, yet let’s you know exactly what it is. Understated class would be the best way to describe it, in a good way.
Like a silent train passing in the night, the Taycan goes unnoticed sometimes. That instant torque however, is nothing to ignore. Lo and behold, the world’s most fun car to launch. When we drove our Tesla we launched it and our heads pinned back against the seat. When we drove this, our heads wanted to smash through the seat. I’ve never been in a car with so much go juice straight off the line. Its light frame, combined with some monstrous horsepower figures make the Taycan an absolute rocket ship, I genuinely felt like Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon about to hit hyperspace in this thing.
However, the brake pedal felt very squishy, the handling wasn’t to six figure level, and no 4 wheel steering compared to the Audi are all huge draws in my book. It’s a blast to launch, but if I just wanted to launch a bunch of times and not do any canyon driving, I’d buy a Hellcat. Supercharger whine too.
The range however, is (insert Scooby-Doo voice) ruh-ro. Just north of 200 miles. Yikes. That’s no bueno, especially when it’s competing with the Tesla and Audi. All things one has to take into account, but that range is a huge pitfall of an otherwise solid vehicle.
I’ll be the first to admit, the ID.4 is a bit of an abnormality. Unlike the previous two, it’s not a sports car. In fact, it’s a crossover. VW really put the two high hitting segments together, crossovers and EVs, so right off the bat your playing to a wide market. Starting off the price, $41,490 is a much more reasonable starting price than Thing 1 and 2 up there. With a RWD platform, it lags behind most EVs right out of the gate, but a cheaper base model is coming, as well as an AWD format.
Performance won’t exactly be what anyone getting this car is looking for, but for fun, the ID.4 has 201 horsepower coupled with 229 lb-ft of torque. It’ll run the 0-60 in 7.8 seconds, and have a top speed of 100 MPH. Handling is what you’d expect from an SUV, but that steering is way too lose. It feels like you’re driving one of those Little Tykes cars, it’s abysmal.
The interior feels and looks cool, a splash of white. One thing that does drive me nuts however, is that white steering wheel… yeah that won’t get dirty right? It looks modern, following suit with plenty of other EVs in the minimalistic department. I’ve grown to appreciate it, it’s something new, something different.
The ID.4 will get 250 miles of range on a full charge and is surprisingly practical for what it’s worth.
There is none. Each car excels in their own way. EVs are too unrefined and new for us to come up with a solid consensus on what constitutes a ranking. Each car comes in at different pricepoints, different purposes, and a whole different rationale in general. EVs are the future, whether you’re ready for it or not, and we’re only getting started.