Audi’s expanding lineup offers a range of performance vehicles. The RS3 sits on the affordable end of the spectrum, while the high-tech and all-electric RS E-Tron GT sits at the other. The Audi RS6 Avant is another expensive option with plenty of power, and a new Carwow video pits the three against each other in an uphill drag race on a slippery ski slope.
The RS E-Tron GT features a dual-motor setup that produces 646 horsepower (481 kilowatts) and 612 pound-feet (830 Nm) of torque. It’s the most powerful of the bunch, but it’s also the heaviest at 5,169 pounds (2,345 kilograms). The RS3 is the lightest and least potent of the trio, getting its power from a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five that produces 400 hp (298 kW) and 368 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. Power for the 3,461-lb (1,570-kg) wagon routes through a seven-speed gearbox to the Haldex all-wheel-drive system.
Powering the RS6 Avant is Audi’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. It produces 600 hp (447 kW) and 590 pound-feet (800 Nm) of torque. Audi routes that power to the wagon’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It weighs 4,574 lbs (2,075 kg)
The E-Tron launched off the starting line first, spitting snow behind it as it clawed up the ski slope. The electric Audi had no trouble reaching the finish, even getting a bit of air over the first crest. The Audi RS3 and RS6 struggled by comparison, with the RS3 slipping as it left the starting line, putting it at a disadvantage next to the RS6, which took second place, leaving the smallest Audi of the bunch to take third.
The rest of the video isn’t so much a drag race as it is testing the cars’ all-wheel-drive systems. The E-Tron again impresses, navigating even the steepest parts of the indoor ski slope with extreme ease. Having a power unit on each axle modulating the power to the ground helps with traction.
The RS3 and RS6 aren’t as lucky. The two complete two-thirds of the final challenge, but both fail to ascend the course’s steepest and most challenging portion. The two Audi wagons could not put the power to the ground, struggling for traction when it mattered most, with their tires spinning.
The video isn’t a conclusive scientific study, but it does seem to indicate that the E-Tron’s all-wheel-drive system is better than the Quattro system in the RS6, which bested the Haldex system in the RS3. EVs with an electric motor on each axle (or at each wheel) change the traction game.