Audi offers $20K off the e-tron GT - is it enough to outrun Tesla Model S Plaid?

Max McDee, 07 October 2023

There's a popular idiom that states, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." But in the case of the ever-competitive electric car market, Audi seems to be taking a slightly different approach: "If you can't beat 'em, undercut 'em." Or at least try.

Audi's aggressive move comes in the form of a hefty discount available to US customers - up to $20,000 off its 2023 RS e-tron GT. Audi hopes that this price slash positions the e-tron GT as a direct rival to the behemoth in the segment, Tesla’s Model S Plaid. One could almost feel the shade Audi is desperately trying to throw.

Audi offers $20K off the e-tron GT - is it enough to outrun Tesla Model S Plaid?

So, what's on the table? The RS e-tron GT boasts an impressive array of features. From e-torque vectoring, the famous Quattro AWD, to a lightning-fast launch control trying to contain all of the 646 hp, that rockets the car from 0-60 mph in a scant 3.1 seconds. Under the hood, or rather, in the chassis, sits a 93 kWh lithium-ion battery, capable of delivering up to 238 miles of EPA-rated range. In a hurry? The fast charge feature juices the battery from 10% to 80% in just 17 minutes - as long as you can find a 270 kW DC charger.

Inside the vehicle, Audi doesn't skimp on luxury. The cabin exudes that premium performance aura Audi is known for, complete with a customizable 12.3-inch digital instrument known as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus. The design ensures drivers and their companions sit in a snug, sporty position. Of course, the ubiquitous wide center tunnel remains present, alongside the RS model's standard flat-bottomed steering wheel - fitted with a range of multifunction buttons.

Audi offers $20K off the e-tron GT - is it enough to outrun Tesla Model S Plaid?

The hefty discount announcement comes via a "National Customer Credit" bulletin recently dispatched to dealerships. A tempting offer for both buyers and leasers, the good news is, you're not required to finance through Audi to avail of the $20,000 windfall. Yet, let's get a reality check here. After this generous price cut, the RS Audi e-tron GT's starting price rests at nearly $125,500 - a hefty sum that overshadows the Tesla Model S Plaid’s more modest starting price of almost $81,000. In fact, if you shop around and take advantage of federal and local EV incentives and recent Tesla price cuts, you could bag both the Model S Plaid and Model 3 Performance for the price of one e-tron RS.

Speaking of the Tesla Model S Plaid, this electric marvel isn't just about a friendly price tag. It's stocked with 1,020 horsepower, enabling it to achieve 0-60 mph in a mind-bending 1.99 seconds. Add to it the top speed of 200 mph and a EPA-rated range of 396 miles and Audi might need more than just sarcasm to play this game.

Audi offers $20K off the e-tron GT - is it enough to outrun Tesla Model S Plaid?

For those pondering other options within Audi's lineup, the automaker is also offering enticing discounts on other e-tron models. The standard 2023 e-tron GT comes with savings up to $12,500. Looking ahead to 2024, Audi is rolling out discounts of $10,000 for the RS e-tron GT and $5,000 off the regular e-tron GT. Even the regular e-tron GT isn't a slouch either. Packing 530 hp, it accelerates from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and shares its range with the more sporty RS sibling.

So - is the $20,000 discount enough to make you buy an Audi instead of Tesla? In straight performance figures, Audi loses this gambit out of the gate - Model S is simply faster and goes on for much longer. On top of that, even with the hefty discount, Audi is still nearly $45,000 more expensive.

But Audi has the perceived value of luxury attached to it, it is the premium choice for many buyers and in that world $20,000 just may buy a pair of nice shoes and a handbag to go great with the Audi. The conclusion is quite startling - Tesla became a bargain EV manufacturer, it offers affordable electric cars with performance that not many brands can match, however hard they try.


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Reader comments

  • Anonymous

That price for Model S, that author said in article is not for Plaid version...

  • Anonymous

tesla is made in china sells like american product hahaha poor fakeamerican cant made anyting

  • ryan52

Don't get me wrong, Audi makes nice cars, but when it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla is the king. The Plaid leaves the e-tron in the dust in terms of speed, range, and even price. It's just no contest.



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