Audi e-tron review - Interior, design and technology
Technology is first rate; the Audi e-tron is the first production car to be available with fully digital door mirrors
Audi played it safe with the e-tron’s styling. It’s instantly recognisable as one of the firm’s family SUVs – slotting in somewhere between the Q5 and Q7 in terms of size. It uses a similarly sculpted front grille, as well as an LED rear light bar lifted from the current A7. It’s dimensions aren’t too vast, either, so despite weighing almost 2.5 tonnes, it doesn’t look like a huge car on the road.
Inside, the e-tron feels as beautifully built as any modern Audi, with quality materials covering every surface. There are swathes of leather, polished plastic and high-grade metal trim; the fully digital cockpit gives it a high-tech edge in the SUV class, too.
On Launch Edition cars, that fully digital dashboard is flanked on either side by a pair of swish virtual door mirrors. The tech replaces the conventional mirrors with two hi-resolution cameras, which feed images to a set of small screens in the doors. It’s also available as a cost option (£1,250) on standard models – but in our experience it’s not quite there yet. The main issue is with the placing of the displays. While the passenger side is okay, the driver’s side sits on the door at a shallow angle, as if you’d get a greater view by opening the door by 10 or 15 degrees. The aerodynamic benefit they bring, however, is said to eke out a little extra range.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The two full-HD (10.1-inch upper and 8.6-inch lower) displays use haptic feedback to recognise touch inputs. This takes some getting used to, and while the functions aren’t as easy to operate as physical buttons, at least the system makes you aware when something has been selected. The menus are logical enough, but lack the intuitive layout of BMW’s latest iDrive system.
Every version comes with Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus, a three-year subscription to Audi Connect online infotainment services, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and wireless mobile phone charging. Audi Smartphone Interface (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) is also included. The mapping software comes installed with available charging points, so it’s possible to plan journeys around necessary stops.
In this review
- 1Audi e-tron reviewThe e-tron is Audi’s first all-electric production car, but it excels with a fantastic blend of 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 can charge faster than any EV on sale, but the infrastructure isn’t available in the UK just yet
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingTechnology 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