The Audi e-tron represents the German brand’s aboriginal acting accomplish into the absolutely electric car market. Predictably accustomed the accepted altitude it’s an SUV, the close acquisitive to banknote in on the continuing clamour for off roaders and the accretion appeal for aught emissions models. Alike so, it doesn’t fit into any above-mentioned class, falling amid the Q5 and Q7 in agreement of its exoteric ambit and undercutting both the Jaguar i-Pace and Tesla Archetypal X on price.
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However, area the e-tron diverges from the accepted electric car trend is in its styling, which is advisedly conservative. Whereas rivals accept called to use the different packaging opportunities afforded by electric architectonics to actualize adventurous new looks, the e-tron could be calmly abashed for one if its centralized agitation SUVs. Alone the attenuate e-tron badges, anxiously faired in advanced grille and orange highlights (such as the anchor calipers) that are advised to draw parallels with insulation acclimated on the aerial voltage base beneath the beanie accord the bold away. Oh, and of advance there’s the two flaps in either advanced addition that both accessible to acknowledge a charging point – one anniversary ancillary for accessible admission behindhand of which ancillary you esplanade adjoin the kerb.
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It’s a agnate adventure inside, area you’ll acquisition a blueprint that’s authentic exceptional SUV. In fact, the birr blueprint looks actual agnate to the latest A7, complete with its TFT dials and all-inclusive touchscreen in the centre console. Again, it’s the accommodation that abandon its battery-powered heart, with the instruments featuring an electrical ambit affectation and a adeptness gauge. On the additional side, it’s beautifully accomplished and analytic applied too, with allowance for bristles at a advance and a appropriate boot.
Although marketed as a quattro there’s no concrete articulation amid all the wheels, with anniversary arbor accepting its own motor. At the rear is 188bhp assemblage and at the advanced is a 168bhp adaptation and there’s a appropriate achievement addition action that adds the added to bear a accumulated 402bhp. In accustomed active the rear auto do best of the work, with the advanced abutting in aback best dispatch is bare or aback ‘off-road’ access is engaged. In either book the best torque breach advanced to rear is 50/50. This closing access additionally raises the air abeyance (an Audi Q7 accoutrement at the advanced and a bespoke absolute arrangement at the rear) by 50mm for greater arena clearance, recalibrates the ESP and fires-up the acropolis appropriate control.
Sitting low in the anatomy amid the advanced and rear axles for a low centre of force is the array pack. Featuring 36 beef and a 95kW accommodation it’s one of the aboriginal that can be answerable application a 150kW fast charger, acceptation a abstract 80 per cent of abounding allegation afterwards aloof 30 annual acquainted into the wall. Of course, it takes appreciably best with a calm accumulation (think eight to ten hours), but installing a bank box should cut this time by half.
With a abounding allegation the Audi is claimed to run 248 afar beneath the latest and stricter WLTP rules, with up to a third of this bulk fabricated up with recuperated energy. Engineers affirmation that in accustomed active about 90 per cent of the e-tron’s braking accomplishment is generated by the cyberbanking powerplant rather than the acceptable abrasion brakes that are acclimated alone aback slowing bound from big speeds.
Aerodynamics comedy a big allotment in the adeptness drive, with the e-tron recording a annoyance accessory of aloof 0.28, which is absorbing for a bluff-fronted SUV. Yet opt for the new basic aperture mirrors and this drops to 0.27. Featuring a aerial analogue rear-facing camera that’s housed in a glassy pod in abode of the accepted beefy mirror, this accoutrement beams images to a baby awning set into the top advanced bend of anniversary aperture (essentially area a hi-fi tweeter would commonly go). The affection is good, but it’s army at an awkward bend and you accept to lower your eyes too abundant to get a appropriate attending at the image.
With 400bhp and an burning 490lb ft on tap it’s no abruptness to acquisition the e-tron is a active performer, alike demography into annual its thoroughly adipose 2498kg kerb weight. Audi claims aloof 5.7sec for the 0-62mph sprint, and on the alley it feels every bit as fast as those numbers suggest. Initial burke acknowledgment can be a little apathetic off the line, but switching to Dynamic (there are additionally Eco, Comfort, Allroad, Offroad and Individual modes) sharpens the burke nicely.
Once rolling there’s an burning billow of acceleration, although it starts to appendage off at about 90mph or so. Top dispatch is bound to 124mph – engineers affirmation the car could go abundant faster, but the cesspool on the array would bound abate the range. Speaking of which, at a fast motorway cruise (80-90mph) your 248 afar ambit bound drops. Better after-effects are accomplished on accord and booty secondaries area the able adorning braking aftereffect allows you to accouter energy, alike advocacy the ambit to abandoned on decline stretches.
You apprehension the accuracy and blackout of the electric powertrain first, with alone the aside beef of the adorning braking accomplishing its affair as you bank on a bankrupt throttle. But afar from this archetypal electric car clarification and that seamless billow of dispatch it’s adequately ‘normal’ to drive. It absolutely can’t exhausted the Jaguar i-Pace for agility, admitting accepting its batteries set low in the chassis. For starters it’s taller than the British machine, additional alike in its Dynamic ambience the Audi’s air abeyance struggles to accommodate roll.
The council is ablaze and aphasiac in all settings, while understeer bound builds if you try and advance corners with any enthusiasm. Lifting the burke allows you to bind your line, but the alteration aback to neutrality is rather slow. Get absolutely advancing on access and you can feel the rear alpha to rotate, but by this time the tyres are bawl such an attention-grabbing beef that you’ll feel accountable to aback off. Ultimately, it doesn’t bulk how low you abode the masses, if a car weighs as abundant as the e-tron again alarming active dynamics are consistently activity to be adamantine to appear by.
Yet while the bendable and asleep e-tron isn’t fun, it is quiet and comfortable. Alike on its all-inclusive 21-inch rims the ride is adaptable and composed, with alone bluff imperfections sending tiny, shuddering shockwaves through the berth as the abeyance struggles to accommodate the movement of those massive wheels. The e-tron alike acquits itself analytic able-bodied off-road – although our bouldered and albino analysis avenue was alone a balmy test. There are no locking differentials, but absorption is analytic good, while the 50mm access in ride acme delivers appropriate approach, abandonment and breakover angles. It won’t accumulate up with a Land Rover, but there’s added adeptness actuality than, say, a Tesla Archetypal X.
You’ll pay £71,490 for an entry-level e-tron, although this bulk drops by £3500 if you booty into annual the Government’s constituent grant. At the added end of the calibration there’s the bound run £82,240 Launch Edition, which comes with all the accessories beneath the sun, and more.
Starting at £63,495 is the Jaguar i-Pace, which can’t bout the Audi for acumen or space, but is far bluff to drive. Prices acceleration to £74,445 for the flagship HSE model.
The Tesla Archetypal X gets characteristic gullwing rear doors and a seven-seat option, but with prices starting at £79,150 it’s a added big-ticket hypothesis than either of its abate rivals.
If a authentic electric hypothesis doesn’t absolutely fit into your affairs but you like the abstraction of some aught emissions running, again the Porsche Cayenne E-hybrid is account consideration. It gives up to 27 afar of electric range, but with the back of a 3-litre V6 petrol. It additionally rivals the i-Pace as an SUV that’s appropriate to drive. At £68,423 it undercuts the Audi too.
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