Audi’s New Electric SUV e-tron

Hugh Maguire: finds the e-tron very impressive.

Audi’s New Electric SUV e-tron

Audi have launched a premium electric SUV called the e-tron. It’s their first all-electric production car.

The new Audi e-tron is Audi’s rival to the likes of the Jaguar i-Pace and Tesla Model X and recently launched electric Mercedes EQC.

The new e-tron costs from €64,000 for the e-tron 50 quattro and from €89,810 (including grants) for the e-tron 55 quattro as tested here so it truly sits at the top of luxury electric SUV motoring.

Essentially is a four wheel drive electric SUV powered by two electric motors and a 95KW battery.

So has it got street cred?

One of the things I like about the e-tron is that it does not have any of the quirky style of some EV’s. Indeed it looks very normal and that’s a compliment.

The e-tron then is a very smart SUV with real presence on the road. Its a striking looking car with lots of street cred.

What’s it like inside?

The cabin is typically Audi, beautifully executed and of the highest quality. In my opinion it has with out question one of the very best digital cockpits available.

The main instruments are digitally generated but in an analogue style while two large central screens control all other functions with haptic touchscreens. It not only looks beautiful but ergonomically is just about perfect.

Mood lighting, and a blend of leather and Alcantara create a truly luxurious environment.

The range of standard equipment is way to extensive to list here but highlights include adaptive air suspension, 20” alloy wheels, dual AC and DC charge ports LED headlamps, MMI navigation plus, rear view camera system, Audi phone box with wireless charging, electric heated seats, and a host of other high tech equipment.

Acomadation is very good seating four adults very comfortably and five at a squeeze.

The boot which is accessed by the electric rear tailgate has a decent capacity and extra storage under the boot floor.

What’s under the bonnet?

Well literally just a storage area for your charging cables. No engine to see here.

The combination of the two electric motors has a power output of 408 bhp which launches this 55 model from zero to 100km/h in an impressive 5.7 seconds. Top speed is limited to 200km/h to preserve range.

Audi quote around 400km range but in reality I managed just over 320 km over a mixed bag of motorway and cross country driving.

Using a fast charge point I charged it to 60% in about 30 minutes which is quite good. A full chase takes about 2 hours.

The e-tron is impressive in its performance with real shove in the back acceleration while being almost completely silent.

What's it like to drive?

The new Audi e-tron is quite simply one of the most quiet and refined cars I have ever driven.

The problem with having no engine noise is that other sounds become more obvious, but Audi have virtually eliminated any wind or tyre noise. It is quite literally whisper quiet.

It handles well to though if you go for a spirited drive on a twisty country road you soon notice the 2.5 tonne mass of this SUV. It grips very well and has superb brakes but that huge weight dulls its handling.

I particularly like though how normal it is to drive. Press start, select D from the gorgeous design shift lever and off you go.

The regenerative braking is excellent and unobtrusive unlike some EV’s and if you wish to increase the amount of regenerative braking a paddle shift selection increases retardation on lift off of the accelerator.

Verdict

Yes its very expensive, with my test car coming in at €104,035 (including grants and VRT relief) however it is truly a beautifully built, practical, luxurious and superbly built car with one of the best designed interiors on the market today.

Add to that silky smooth performance and refinement and a range that is very useable and you have one of the most desirable electric cars on the market today bar none!