Audi e-tron review
As Audi’s first all-electric production car, the e-tron has set down a marker for superb performance, comfort and refinement
Audi’s first but no-longer only all-electric production car certainly hits the spot. It’s quiet, comfortable and beautifully built, while also coming laden with all the latest tech and semi-autonomous drive features.
The e-tron is practical, too, with loads of space for the family and all their luggage, albeit without a seven-seat option. Although its true abilities are restricted by the UK’s limited 50kW charging network, as the infrastructure improves the SUV’s appeal will grow further.
If you like the idea of a premium electric SUV and you can live with the available charging options, the Audi e-tron rates as one of the best of a small but impressive bunch.
About the Audi e-tron
The e-tron was Audi’s very first all-electric production car and one of the first electric SUVs, albeit trailing the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace into UK showrooms. The four-ringed contender now shares showroom space with Audi’s equally impressive e-tron GT, while the choice of luxurious electric SUV rivals has also grown to include the BMW iX3 and Mercedes EQC.
All the newer European models have, to some extent, undermined the case for the ground-breaking Tesla. The Audi is a case in point, offering superb build quality, better driving characteristics and a more cost-effective and arguably more practical ownership proposition - albeit without matching the spectacle or acceleration of the Model X.
But while the Audi beats the Tesla on comfort, refinement, build quality and price, it’s by no means in a league of its own. When we tested it against the Mercedes EQC the Audi was just pipped by the Merc’s greater efficiency, although we acknowledged the Audi’s more spacious interior could easily be the deciding factor for many buyers.
Car group tests
- Mercedes EQC vs Audi e-tron
- Audi e-tron vs Jaguar I-Pace
- Audi e-tron vs Tesla Model X - electric car showdown
Indeed, with a claimed 249-mile maximum range and quick charge options, it could well be a genuine contender for even the biggest EV sceptics - even though all the rivals we’ve mentioned can better its range by a few dozen miles. The e-tron slots in between the Q5 and Q7 in terms of size and interior space, and while it’s styling is fairly conservative, it’s instantly recognisable as a member of the Audi SUV family.
There is a choice of two power outputs, badged 50 quattro and 55 quattro - the standard SUV comes with either the 71kWh or 95kWh battery, delivering 308bhp and 402bhp respectively, while the Sportback is only offered with the more powerful unit.
At the top of the range is the more powerful S variant - available in both SUV and Sportback body styles. Total output is 370kW - equivalent to 496bhp, with torque of 973Nm.
Five trim levels are available for the SUV: Technik, Sport, S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung, while buyers have the option of the Sportback in S line and Vorsprung specification. All versions get LED lights, 20-inch wheels, electrically-adjustable heated leather seats and two charge ports; one on either side of the car.
All models use a two-motor set-up with one motor on each axle. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system is standard, as is the firm’s adaptive air suspension. Being an EV, the car gets a single-speed automatic transmission and features some of Audi’s latest semi-autonomous driving technologies. Audi says the e-tron is designed to receive Tesla-style ‘over the air’ updates, although this functionality won’t be available until sometime in the future.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingAs Audi’s first all-electric production car, the e-tron has set down a marker for superb performance, comfort and refinement
- 2Engines, performance and driveWhile not as fast as a Tesla Model X, the e-tron offers more than enough power and performance for most buyers.
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Audi e-tron is capable of ultra-rapid charging, but the infrastructure isn’t fully available in the UK just yet
- 4Interior, design and technologyTechnology is first rate; the Audi e-tron is the first production car to be available with fully-digital door mirrors
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Audi e-tron is a spacious and comfortable family SUV, but there’s no seven-seat option
- 6Reliability and SafetyAudi usually fares pretty well for reliability and safety, and given the e-tron is fully electric we expect this trend to continue
- 7Long-term testFinal report: petrol or electric? It doesn’t matter, as the Audi e-tron is a great car