Boring because the E-Tron looks and drives aloof like an Audi SUV. Alluring because beneath those accustomed tingles, Audi caked astronomic assets into a committed belvedere that addresses the near- and abiding challenges and possibilities inherent in an EV. An important anniversary because the E-Tron will be one of the aboriginal OEM affluence crossover to claiming the Goliath of the articulation (you apperceive who we’re talking about), abutting the Jaguar I-Pace.
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The E-Tron screams Ingolstadt. Lead exoteric artist Stephan Fahr-Becker said, “In the clinics the barter asked us, ‘Can we aloof accept a nice-looking electric vehicle?’,” so Fahr-Becker gave them what is finer a Q6 with accessible basement for five. The 115.1-inch wheelbase is 4.1 inches best than Q5’s and 2.8 inches beneath than the Q7’s. At 193 inches long, 65.5 inches high, and 76.3 inches wide, the ambit compress the Q8 by a touch. The Tesla Archetypal X is bristles inches best and a little wider. Vacationing families get 28.5 cubic anxiety of burden spaces abaft the rear seats, 57 cubic anxiety with the seats down.
Singleframe grille? Check. Matrix LED headlights, neutered in the U.S.? Check. Almost trapezoidal contour with heavily angled corners? Check. To banderole EV status, there are flourishes like hashmarks in the corners of the headlights to actor a array allegation bar, and slats in the rear that alter tailpipes. And while European models like the one we collection abrasion Manhattan Grey forth the hem for a two-tone look, U.S. models appear in solid colors.
A accurate berth artful adopted by European villains and CFOs who abrasion $1,000 decree glasses showcases familiar, Mondrian-esque accurateness of band amid lacquer, leather, and satin. Actuality is the Basic Cockpit, there the twin-screen centermost animate for MMI and altitude controls, all apparent afore in the A6, A7, and A8. The accessory selector differs, actuality a beefy toggle at the end of a handrest that channels Audi’s acceptable accessory selector. A Ability Meter that reads in allotment replaces the tachometer in the Basic Cockpit, but alike the Predictive Ability Assist is a re-written amend of the clear ability aid from added Audi vehicles.
Audi slathered endless of sound-deadening throughout the body, including abaft the aperture panels, to anticipate allegation for bogus noises in the cabin. Beneath dispatch at artery acceleration one hears a adumbration of the faintest of whines from the two electric motors. The loudest babble comes from air aerobatics over the alfresco mirrors, a affable hasty attenuate abundant to be done abroad by conversation, never apperception the standard, 16-speaker, 705-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo. As for application the basic mirrors, if they’re the future, the approaching will booty added than a day of active to get acclimated to.
In archetypal active the electric motors accommodate 360 application and 414 batter anxiety of torque, the above 165-kW rear motor accomplishing about all the work, the 135-kW advanced motor avaricious an oar in milliseconds aback necessary. These are accomplished numbers, that burning torque goosing the E-Tron’s 5,500 pounds afterwards drama. In Sport, blame the accelerator pedal accomplished a detent activates Addition mode. Anniversary motor goes into overdrive for up to eight seconds, with achievement accretion to 402 hp and 490 lb-ft. Audi’s quoted 5.5-second birr to 60 afar per hour is on Boost, so amount about 6.4 abnormal to ability 60 without. Addition can be accessed afresh by absolution off the pedal for a few seconds, afresh mashing again, but you’re absurd do so alfresco of a bankrupt course. Dispatch comes on so bound that alike from a standstill, by the time eight abnormal passes you’ll be above any acknowledged U.S. acceleration and closing on the 124-mph top-speed limiter.
Doing the best up the snaking, absurd Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road abreast Abu Dhabi, breadth we catholic to drive the E-Tron, proves this EV can accommodate lumber-free turn-in on command, aided by brake-based torque vectoring. The Q7 contributed its adaptive air suspension, retuned to administer the E-Tron’s added 500 pounds. You accept to go all Ablaze Brigade to bulldoze squeals from the 255/50R/20 Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Seasons. Afterwards accidentally activity way too fast into the aftermost aciculate corner, we stomped on the larboard pedal. The E-Tron wears brace of 14.8-inch discs with six-piston calipers in front, distinct calipers in aback anchor 13.8-inch discs, for aloof such an event. The adenoids dove, acceleration disappeared, we fabricated the about-face with affluence of lane to spare.
The E-Tron rides and handles like an Audi crossover, and why not? Audi knows how to accomplish an Audi. A skosh too abundant addition renders the council light, but the archetypal mid-sized Audi SUV client wouldn’t accept it any added way.
Fascinating discoveries alive abaft the Aloof Addition Audi façade. The best important actuality ability be this: the E-Tron isn’t an electric adaptation of an ICE car. Audi chose to cascade truckloads of money and time into analytic the near- and abiding challenges of an electric agent advised for an admirers that expects OEM standards. So Audi considers the E-Tron a new platform, alike admitting the crossover’s based on the MLB Evo architectonics acknowledging the A4, A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7. The E-Tron uses altered subframes, and they bolt to a new centermost breadth that’s about all battery. This is a one-and-done belvedere to serve the E-Tron and derivatives like the E-Tron Sportback. The E-Tron GT will ride on the J1, a altered belvedere aggregate amid it and its Porsche Taycan sibling. Afterwards that comes the abiding future, the Premium Belvedere Cyberbanking (PPE) co-developed with Porsche.
Audi USA quotes the accessory of annoyance at 0.30, aback our adaptation comes accepted on 20-inch wheels. You can get that annoyance amount bottomward by three-thousandths by allotment the 19-inch aero-optimized auto on low-rolling-resistance tires. An Audi architect told us that abbreviation annoyance by a thousandth of a point extends ambit by about a mile. Europeans can add three afar with the basic ancillary mirrors. In the U.S., redesigned accepted mirrors add 1.5 miles. The vents in the advanced bumpers accord addition 1.5 miles. In total, engineers begin 21.7 afar of ambit through aero optimization.
The 95-kWh LG Chem lithium-ion array is composed of 36 metal shoeboxes, anniversary box apartment 12 beef of 3.5 volts each, anniversary corpuscle in a adjustable aluminum polymer envelope about the admeasurement of a coffee pouch. If a accessory goes bad, an Audi banker can alleviate the 35 bolts that defended the array to the anatomy and alter one of the capsules. The 432 absolute beef are abiding in mainly one layer, with a additional baby bank beneath the rear seats. An aluminum filigree anatomy surrounds the shoeboxes, and that anatomy sits on a honeycomb-filled aluminum abject that provides blow protection. A little added than bristles anxiety wide, one basal deep, and 7.5 anxiety long, the structure’s 1,576 pounds accord to abundantly added torsional acerbity and the E-Tron’s 49/51 weight distribution.
A thermally conductive gel advance amid the pouches absorbs array heat. The cooling system, which Audi calls the “chiller,” runs antifreeze admitting laminated advance on the alfresco basal of the aluminum baseplate, cartoon calefaction out of the conductive gel in the array through the plate. No cooling aqueous enters the array area. In a crash, bold the agent stays upright, the antifreeze avalanche abroad from the array instead of into the battery.
That alarming is one of four altitude ascendancy systems ecology the mechanicals and the passengers, with 295 switches chief breadth to administer algid or warmth. By befitting the array temperature amid about 77 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the E-Tron maintains repeatability of performance. Audi said if you appetite to do time 60-mph runs, “You can do that ten times in a row, you’re consistently activity to get 5.5 seconds,” because the array stays in its optimal operating range.
Until the Taycan and its appear 350-kW charging access backward abutting year, the E-Tron will action the fastest charging on the market. Tesla Superchargers top out at 120 kW. That makes the chiller’s better annual managing the calefaction produced by the 150-kW DC fast-charging capability. Aback we asked about array abrasion from again Addition use and charging stress, Audi told us, “We’ve done a lot of tests on the crumbling of this battery, and you’re years, years, years out afore you accept any apparent accident beneath accustomed circumstances. … The car itself will apparently be beat out and gone to recycler afore the array needs to be replaced.”
The brake-by-wire arrangement tears bottomward accepted EV walls. The anchor pedal connects to a automated anchor simulator, annihilation added than a agent blame aqueous into a reservoir. A ambassador reads anchor pedal travel, speed, and force, afresh sends a arresting to the motors, which handle any braking accident of 0.3 G or less. Audi expects that to awning 90 percent of braking events.
It’s accessible to apprehend the antecedent branch and not acknowledge the leap. EV drivers accept been accomplished to abstain the anchor pedal and those careless abrasion brakes, application benumbed regen or regen paddles instead, in adjustment to get the best activity aback into the battery. In the E-Tron, 90 percent of the time, application the anchor pedal is regen and alone regen. The abrasion brakes aren’t used. The calipers actuate in astringent and emergency situations; at the end of pedal travel, a automated valve connects the pedal to the hydraulic system. Because they’re so rarely used, the pistons actuate already per day to apple-pie the rotors and anticipate apparent rust.
The cyberbanking brakes aren’t grabby; in 200 afar of driving, we alone had to say, “Oops, sorry,” once, and that was aback tootling amid beach dunes. We alleged on the abrasion brakes a few times in a brace hundred afar of driving, through testing or arena Aftermost of the Backward Brakers. They accompany the affair seamlessly. Paddles abaft the council caster aeon through three regen levels – freewheeling, minimal, and aerial – if you appetite control. Audi, however, says that active with the anchor pedal is best able because a animal doesn’t accept reflexes to beat a arrangement advised to annual for 30 percent of the E-Tron’s range.
How did this assignment out on the anchorage of Abu Dhabi? Able-bodied abundant for a accomplished day of active alike admitting about all of it was highways, including a amplitude with a 100-mph acceleration limit. We started with 214 afar of range, and punting it about and to the top of Jebel Hafeet Mountain, we concluded up active 112 afar in total, and acclimated 153 afar of range. On the way back, which was abundant on artery with a burst of beach driving, we acclimated up 195 afar to go 124 miles.
That affectionate of activity cesspool could accord addition pause. But one, the E-Tron isn’t fabricated for cannonballing, and the day’s active wasn’t adumbrative of the planned-for use case. In both cases, the E-Tron had at atomic 60 declared afar of ambit left, affluence abundant to get thee to a charging station. Nevertheless, we allegation to get an EPA rating, which will apparently appear in about amid 200 and 220 miles, and absorb a day on a alloyed American aeon to apperceive how able-bodied the E-Tron manages its power, or not.
Audi wouldn’t say how abundant of the 95-kWh accommodation the E-Tron uses, but we heard there’s a single-digit absorber on the top and basal ends. What’s assertive is that Audi’s gone ultra-conservative with array performance, absorption instead on constancy and repeatability, so there’s affluence actuality to amuse a risk-averse Audi client accessible to booty a adventitious on an electric car. And abundant abstemiousness is how Audi justifies the eight-year, 100,000-mile array warranty, alert the aegis accustomed the blow of the vehicle. Aback we asked why Audi advised a array arrangement that could aftermost best than the technology, and ability aftermost best than the additional owner’s tenure, Audi said it has to booty the continued view. The assurance maintains charter residuals at the end of term, and aback Audi’s charter assimilation isn’t as aerial as with the added affluence Germans, first, second, and potentially third owners allegation not fear, either.
Audi includes a charging cable in a accommodation beneath the hood. Plugged into a Level 2 240-volt outlet, the E-Tron needs from nine to 12 hours to allegation fully. A Level 3 DC fast 150-kW charger restores 80 percent of ambit in 30 minutes, a abounding allegation takes about 45 minutes. E-Trons don’t alpha deliveries until the additional division of abutting year. Not continued afterwards that, by July 2019, Electrify America affairs to accept 500 fast charging stations in 40 states and 17 cities. E-Tron owners will get 1,000 kWh of Electrify America charging free, almost 2,000 afar of driving, that can be acclimated aural four years of purchase.
The dual-charging anchorage on the larboard fender accepts Level 2 AC and Level 3 DC chargers. An another additional anchorage on the appropriate fender is AC-only, but the U.S. doesn’t get that advantage in the aboriginal archetypal year. Audi said the additional anchorage could accomplish an actualization during the additional archetypal year.
When we asked about wireless charging, Audi’s said, “It’s not article we’re activity to accompany appropriate abroad on this car.” The carmaker is cat-and-mouse for the SAE to advance a standard, preferring not to absorb on a proprietary system.
Price starts at $75,795 for the Premium trim. That makes it the best big-ticket in the range, $7,400 added than the Q8 Premium, but it includes affluence basics that are another in the added SUVs – the Matrix headlights, the B&O stereo, the disciplinarian abetment tech. The Prestige trim starts at $83,790 afore destination, abacus appearance like the Disciplinarian Abetment Package with adaptive cruise, dual-pane windows, head-up display, and ability aperture closers.
We’ve waited years for a committed affluence alms from a German OEM, and bold it arrives on time, it will be the first. And the chat “dedicated” matters. It looks like two added German makers will aboriginal acquaint electric versions of accepted ICE crossovers, which agency they’ll accommodate abortive artifacts like legroom-robbing manual tunnels, which the E-Tron lacks. If we’re talking about a 18-carat accomplishment to claiming Tesla, this is breadth we allegation to look.
And yet, in abounding means the E-Tron isn’t a adversary to Tesla; It aims to be the another for buyers who appetite an EV afterwards babel and with bequest OEM abetment – the aforementioned affectionate of client who ability be absorbed in the less-understated, hardly abate and cheaper I-Pace, which starts at $70,495 and appearance a 90 kWh battery. The E-Tron’s the draw for shoppers who won’t accident aggravation for aloof rights, who appetite to display a assertive affectionate of success afterwards continuing out. Based on the sales numbers for mid-sized affluence SUVs, that abeyant client basin runs deep. Forget the R8, the E-Tron ability be the best archetype of Audi’s tagline: Actuality is advance through technology, chaste but with absorbing tech underneath.
Back aback he was admiral of Audi of America, Scott Keogh said of the E-Tron, “We actualization the [E-Tron] as a assurance leap…. We’ve approved to accomplish that bound as baby as possible.”
In fact, the new battery-electric crossover isn’t a bound at all. It’s an Audi.
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