- Features Audi’s latest in-car technology
- Stylish design
- Unique virtual door mirrors
- Options are costly
- Steering wasn’t very responsive
It’s been four and a half years since we first set eyes on the e-tron in its prototype form, it has become Audi’s first all-electric model and finally in 2019 they have released it.
So with more manufacturers pushing electric cars, have Audi brought something to the market that will outshine the likes of Tesla?
We took it for a drive on the UK launch to find out.
On The Road
The e-tron comes with a 95kWh battery which powers two electric motors and these have an output of 300kW, so with 408PS it can get from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds with the boost function, 6.6 seconds without it.
It took some time in getting the right set up using Audi’s Drive Select system, which has seven different modes, as at times it felt quite sluggish when putting your foot down, power wasn’t that instantaneous and although there’s a sport mode you don’t want to use it too much as that all important range will decrease a lot quicker.
It has a WTLP range of up to 241 miles and on a 120 mile road route we did around the Yorkshire Dales, which was a mixture of dual carriageway and B roads, we ended up with 67 miles left having started with 209.
Currently they’re the only manufacturer to have two different sockets on the model, one for a home electricity supply and the other at fast DC charging stations, which can reach up to 80% of charge in about 30 minutes.
One thing that really lets it down is the steering, the feedback is so vague that you turn into a corner and there’s quite a delay in the car heading in the direction you want it to and on a few B roads in Yorkshire it did catch us out a bit. We did have some fantastic driving roads over the Dales but there was a slight hesitancy in wanting to push it on the challenging roads.
The ride though is really comfortable, it soaks up any unruly road surfaces, of which there were a few and it’s thanks to the adaptive air suspension which comes as standard on the e-tron. It also has electric quattro all-wheel drive so expect plenty of high grip levels too.
The e-tron is certainly distinctive in the looks department, the wide grille, clamshell bonnet and roof bars give it its SUV design and in size terms it does sit between the Q5 and Q7. The lack of tailpipes do give it away that it’s an electric car.
Entry level has plenty of standard equipment including LED headlights, adaptive air suspension, wireless charger, DAB radio, 20-inch alloy wheels and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit while the Launch Edition features virtual door mirrors; so a camera sits where mirrors would usually be and in the car there is an OLED touch display just below the window line, it’s definitely a cool addition and there’s also Maxtrix LED lights, a Valcona leather interior,21-inch alloy wheels and there is the option of some snazzy orange brake calipers.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Audi’s latest techology comes on the e-tron which if you’re looking for a stylish, functional set up then this is it. The stunning Virtual Cockpit which replaced analogue dials is on this model, along with two centre HD display touchscreens; these are easy to use, a bit distracting on the move if you want to change something, but where they’re helpful is that the two-zone climate control is on the bottom screen and all car/telephone/media settings are on the 10.1-inch screen above.
Front seats are electronically adjustable, hurrah we say, as a lot of Audi models don’t come with this as standard, and they’re also heated with electric lumbar support and driver memory function.
Space & Practicality
The Audi e-tron is a comfortable, spacious five seater, ok there might be limited leg room for the middle passenger in the rear but overall there is a decent amount of head and legroom in the cabin, along with good storage compartments.
It comes with 660 litres of boot space which is more than the Tesla Model X at 357 litres and the Jaguar I-Pace at 505. This can be increased to 1,725 litres with the seats folded and there’s also further space under the boot floor.
Charging cables can also be kept from eating into the boot space with their own storage under the bonnet and The Launch Edition comes with a panoramic glass sunroof as standard.
The Audi e-tron costs £71,520 for the entry level and £82,270 for the Launch Edition, these prices don’t include the £3,500 plug-in-car grant. Adding options and you’ll have a very expensive car.
It’s premium rivals are the Jaguar I-Pace which starts at £69,995 and the Tesla Model X which is £85,850, so price wise is on a par.
There’s no doubt that despite the price people will snap up the e-tron in their bid to go electric, its design is a visual feast and the cabin is a luxurious place to be. With Audi bringing out 20 electric vehicles by 2025 it’ll be interesting to see what they launch next, an electric runaround would be ideal.
Quality & Reliability
Everything is usally of a high quality on an Audi and the e-tron model is no different, materials used are durable, there’s a polished, clean look about the interior cabin from the high gloss black and aluminium finishes.
As it’s a new model it’s too early to say what the reliability will be like, overall as a brand Audi need to up their game as their premium rivals are getting a march on in this area.
Safety & Security
The Audi e-tron hasn’t yet been tested for its Euro NCAP rating but it does come with a raft of safety systems so would be surprised if it didn’t get the full five stars.
Audi have really taken leaps forward over the past few years with all safety aspects on their new models so the e-tron comes with Audi pre-sense Front and Basic, lane departure, Parking System Plus which has a 360 degree display, a rear view camera, cruise control with speed limiter and it has side airbags for both front and rear and a head airbag system.
Launch Edition comes with Adaptive Cruise Assist with a speed limiter, Collision, Turn and Audi Side assist systems.
There’s an optional City Assist Pack which includes Side Assist, Pre-sense rear, Cross-traffic assist front and rear and Exit warning is available on the e-tron at a cost of £1,125.