It’s a popular refrain from automakers, that since EVs don’t really need gears, they can conceivably hit their top speed in reverse.
Whereas in gas-powered cars, whose reverse gear tends to be even lower than first gear, EVs just make the prop shaft go in the opposite direction. Meaning that any speed it can hit going forward, it could conceivably hit in reverse.
Now, there are a few limitations. Cars tend not to be as aerodynamic going backward (a few alleged exceptions notwithstanding) so that could hamper the top speed. The biggest limitation, though, tends to be that running in reverse at high speeds is super dangerous.
With the wheels that do the steering now at the back, even the smallest corrections can send you veering off course and can start a fish-tailing disaster of a situation. It’s also best practices to look where you’re going when driving at speeds, something made not a little bit harder when you’re backing up.
So don’t expect to be able to do this with your e-tron, because Audi will limit its reverse speed.
But if you’re a race car driver whose team is partners with a company that made a high-power A3 for seemingly no other reason than capturing silly stunts on camera, that just about qualifies you to have the reverse limiters lifted.
And, indeed, Daniel Abt is just such a person and has set a reverse driving record at 130 mph in the Audi RS3 TCR-based ABT 4ePerformance – thus proving that both he and the 4ePerformance are quick in any direction.
Just a quick warning, Abt’s language gets a little blue near the end of the video, so maybe be careful around sensitive ears.
A version of this story originally appeared on VW Vortex.