We’ve waited a long, continued time to drive the battery-electric 2019 Audi E-Tron.
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We saw the aboriginal camouflage-clad prototypes in March of 2018 at the Geneva Auto Show. We went abaft the scenes in Berlin to apprentice about the intricacies of its array pack. We took a ride in one bottomward Pikes Peak in August, anon afore the SUV fabricated its all-around admission in San Francisco, and we collection a pre-production car through the Namibian arid several weeks later. What a cruise it’s been.
Why the continued ramp-up? Artlessly put, the E-Tron is one of the best cogent cars in Audi’s history. It’s the archetypal that credibility the way advanced in agreement of electrification, design, and technology. It’s bristles years in the making, and there won’t be time for a do-over if Audi doesn’t stick the landing.
At launch, Audi will action two versions of the E-Tron called Premium Plus and Prestige, respectively. Priced at $74,800, the Premium Plus trim akin comes abundantly able with 20-inch admixture wheels, a top-view camera system, the company’s ancillary abetment technology, LED lighting central and out, a 705-watt complete arrangement that blasts music through 16 speakers, 12-way power-adjustable seats, and a 9.6-kilowatt on-board charger. Buyers who baddest the $81,800 Prestige archetypal annual from a head-up display, sunshades for the rear windows, cartage assurance acceptance technology, lane assist, Valcona leather, and dual-pane acoustic advanced ancillary windows, amid added features.
Note that the aloft bulk abstracts don’t accommodate any of the accessible federal and bounded incentives awarded to motorists who go electric. Aback the E-Tron is Audi’s aboriginal series-produced electric car, buyers will be able to affirmation the abounding $7,500 federal tax acclaim in the accountable future. The aggregation won’t activate to lose that bulk until it puts 200,000 cars in the easily of consumers.
When they started the E-Tron project, Audi’s engineers and admiral anon agreed on two important points: the archetypal bare to be absolutely electric, and it had to attempt in the SUV segment. That meant engineers couldn’t booty a adjustment to electrification by abacus a ambit extender, Chevrolet Volt-style. It additionally meant they had to bulk out how to aerate range; aggravating to accomplish an SUV aerodynamic is a little bit like aggravating to beverage a coffee that helps you sleep. Johann Wagner, one of Audi’s aerodynamics experts, told Digital Trends that several key architecture cues helped his aggregation accomplish a low annoyance accessory of 0.27.
The inlets adamant into the advanced bonanza absolute air accomplished the wheels. The appearance of the mirrors reduces drag, as does substituting them for cameras aback permissible (more on that later). The 19-inch admixture auto are aerodynamically optimized, too. The adaptive air abeyance automatically lowers the E-Tron’s ride acme at college speeds, while a brace of artificial louvers hidden abaft the grille breach bankrupt aback added cooling air isn’t needed. Finally, the absolutely amid underbody helps air blooper accomplished the E-Tron rather than accepting bent in every apprehensible alcove and cranny. All told, these tweaks – and they all complete adequately minor, right? – helped accession ambit by 21 afar per charge.
Audi capital to actualize a abundant car that’s electric, not one whose alone affairs point is its battery.
And yet, although it cheats the wind, and abounding of its architecture cues are futuristic, the E-Tron doesn’t breach the mold. It’s apparent as a affiliate of the Audi ancestors acknowledgment to its aciculate headlights and its hexagonal grille. It’s not shaped like a spaceship, and Audi wisely refrained from abacus the acutely binding blooming (or blue) trim pieces that say “oh, look, I’m gas-free!” The adventure is the above on the inside. The E-Tron is adequate and congenital with upmarket materials, like the company’s added SUVs, but you don’t apperceive it’s electric until you columnist the button labeled “start” and you don’t apprehend a six- or a four-cylinder agent boom to life. Everyone we talked to who formed on the activity gave us the above explanation. The basal abstraction was to actualize a abundant car that’s electric, not one whose alone affairs point is its battery.
The E-Tron offers 57 cubic anxiety of block space. To add context, the Q5 boasts 53 cubes while the Q8 – Audi’s flagship SUV – checks in at 60.7. But, aback there’s no engine, what’s beneath the hood? Pop it like you commonly would to acknowledge a baby but applied accumulator alcove to abundance the charging cables, or, depending on how tech-savvy the thieves in your breadth are, valuables. The frunk’s aggregate isn’t included in the 57-cubic-feet bulk we mentioned above.
Audi has never arranged this abounding technology appearance into a car before. If a Q5 is a cheeseburger, the E-Tron is a bifold – wait, no, amateur – cheeseburger topped with all the fixings, alike some you’ve never anticipation of putting on a burger before.
Let’s get the coolest one out of the way: the rear-view cameras. Instead of acceptable mirrors, Audi installed tiny cameras army in rear-facing pods. They alteration the footage they abduction to screens chip into the aperture panels, area you’d commonly apprehend to acquisition a speaker. The driver-side awning is touch-sensitive, and it’s acclimated to acclimatize the appearance on both sides. Admitting they booty some accepting acclimated to, the cameras advance ambit by abbreviation annoyance and they accomplish the E-Tron narrower. Unfortunately, they’re additionally actionable in the United States. Audi is alive on accepting permission to action this forward-thinking affection on the U.S.-spec car, admitting it couldn’t accommodate a added specific time frame. Your abutting car ability not accept it, but the one afterwards it actual able-bodied could.
The E-Tron shares its dual-screen MMI Blow Response infotainment arrangement with added associates of the Audi family, including the aloft Q8, the A6, and the A7. The latest Q3 uses a single-screen adaptation of the system. It’s awful automatic to use, it looks good, and it responds bound to blow inputs. It’s our admired infotainment arrangement in the affluence car segment. There is a third awning abaft the council caster that replaces the apparatus cluster. Called Virtual Cockpit, it’s a driver-configurable assemblage that shows aeronautics directions, media settings, and advice about the car and its surroundings. Aback the E-Tron is charging, it provides advantageous advice like the charging acceleration and the battery’s accepted akin of charge. We like this feature; it takes a lot of the assumption out of alive an electric car. Bung it in, attending at the screen, and you’ll apperceive absolutely aback to appear aback for a abounding charge.
The E-Tron delivers 408 appliance and 489 pound-feet of torque aback its overboost approach bliss in.
There are several means to allegation the E-Tron. Audi’s analysis shows a all-inclusive majority of barter will accept to allegation at home, area charging speeds are beneath important. Picture this scenario: you get home at 7 pm, you bung in your your car, and you don’t allegation it afresh until 7 am the afterward day. Whether it accuse in 30 annual or eight hours doesn’t absolutely matter. It’s convenient, too, because it’s like accepting a gas abject in your garage. If you don’t accept a charger, you can get one through Amazon acknowledgment to a affiliation amid the retail behemothic and Audi. Amazon helps you acquisition the appropriate charger, and sends a able to install it in a address that’s both safe and timely
What about the blow of the time?
Proactively analytic the basement botheration requires added than peppering America’s alley arrangement with charging stations. No one wants to sit on the ancillary of I-80 for eight and a bisected hours, counting dejected cars while cat-and-mouse for watts to crawl into a behemothic battery. Audi went the added mile, if you’ll acquiesce us this oh-so-bad but oh-so-inevitable pun. The E-Tron is the aboriginal volume-produced electric car accordant with 150-kiloawtt charging, which is able of zapping the array with an 80-percent allegation in 30 minutes. To put that bulk into perspective, Tesla’s Supercharger stations top out at 120 kilowatts. And, of course, added (slower) types of charging are available, too.
The E-Tron rides on a skateboard-like belvedere congenital about a 95-kWh lithium-ion array backpack that’s about as big as a king-size mattress. It channels its allegation to two electric motors (one over anniversary axle). An fleet of on-board sensors allotment advice and assignment calm in real-time to adjudge how abundant torque anniversary arbor needs. Every action is electronic, there is no automated affiliation amid the two axles, so the changes appear about instantaneously. If the advanced auto slip, added ability automatically goes to the rear, or carnality versa. It’s the aboriginal absolutely electric appliance of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system.
The arrangement provides 360 appliance and 413 pound-feet of torque in accustomed alive conditions. These abstracts go up to 408 and 489, respectively, aback a accession approach bliss in. The E-Tron isn’t light, it tips the calibration at about 5,500 pounds, but it performs the zero-to-60-mph dart in 5.7 abnormal with the accession approach engaged. That’s a admirable accomplishment because its size, segment, and mission.
Here again, the E-Tron had to be normal. The associates of Audi’s ambition admirers don’t appetite a sub-three-second zero-to-60-mph time from an electric SUV, and they don’t allegation 600 afar of ambit from a distinct charge. There is annihilation antic about this car, if you bolt our drift. It’s not radical. Sure, you’ll accept to accomplish some adjustments, like accepting acclimated to the actuality that it doesn’t boom to life, and canonizing to use the about-face paddles to acclimatize the regeneration, but if you’re advancing from a Q5 you’ll mostly feel at home.
Audi commonly goes to abundant lengths to accomplish its cars quiet, but the E-Tron takes it to the abutting level, alike for an electric car. The abridgement of a gasoline agent makes it accessible to use library-like choir to accept a chat while traveling at 100 mph, the acceleration absolute on some stretches of artery in Abu Dhabi, area our analysis took place. Alley babble is added apparent than in a Q5, for example, but it’s not advancing or bothersome. In this respect, the E-Tron feels about as aesthetic as an A8.
The E-Tron is bigger ill-fitted to canoeing than carving.
When you’re affairs abroad from a stop light, the burning torque provided by the electric motors overcomes the E-Tron’s not-insignificant weight to move it forth at a alive pace. It’s not fast, Audi is extenuative that adjective for the accessible E-Tron GT, but it’s quick abundant for an SUV. There is no accepted transmission, and there’s no such affair as turbo lag in an electric car, so the E-Tron builds up acceleration in an even, beeline manner. The air abeyance stops bumps in the anchorage afore they clarify through the cabin.
The lithium-ion array backpack is a acrid sword. On one hand, it contributes about 1,600 pounds to the E-Tron’s weight. On the added hand, all of that weight is beneath the commuter compartment, which helps accumulate the centermost of force low. The E-Tron is bigger ill-fitted to canoeing than carving, abnormally because its council is ablaze and not actual communicative, but the array backpack helps it booty a bend afterwards an alarming bulk of anatomy lean. Acceleration junkies can blow assured the ESC has a action mode.
The E-Tron has accession tech ambush up its sleeve. Aback you columnist the anchor pedal, you accelerate a arresting to a ascendancy assemblage that electronically distributes the anchor force. That’s bold the hydraulic arrangement comes into play. Sometimes, the pads breach put and the anchor activity recuperation arrangement channels electricity aback to the array backpack while slowing bottomward the car. The E-Tron decides the best way to apathetic bottomward on its own. The anchor pedal feels the above behindhand of whether or not the hydraulic arrangement is actuality acclimated because Audi adapted it with a actor to bottle accustomed anchor feel. This arrangement eliminates some of the aberration associated with alive an electric car, abnormally about town.
The basement position is comfortable, and all of the controls are area you would apprehend to acquisition them, abnormally if you’re accustomed with Audi’s contempo models. The cartage sit on comfortable chairs, and alike the ones benumbed in the aback adore an abounding bulk of space. Room is one of the actual allowances of a zero-emissions powertrain.
Audi hasn’t appear a ambit bulk for the American-spec E-Tron yet, and our time abaft the caster was too abbreviate to admeasurement how far it can drive on a distinct allegation in real-world conditions. Your breadth may vary, anyways. The E-Tron learns anniversary driver’s alive appearance and takes it into annual aback accouterment an appraisal of how abundant ambit is larboard in the array pack. With an according charge, a disciplinarian with a advance bottom will run out eventually than a hyper-miler, and the ambit readout in the apparatus array reflects that. It’s like commuting in a car with a gasoline- or a diesel-burning engine. Ambit will additionally depend on which accessories (such as the boiler and the air conditioning system) draw electricity.
As of December 2018, the Audi E-Tron has two capital rivals.
– Jaguar I-Pace ($69,500). The Jaguar I-Pace and the Audi E-Tron abide at adverse ends of the electric SUV spectrum. The I-Pace’s architecture screams “I’m electric!” by breaking with attitude and abashing the curve that abstracted the wagon, hatchback, and SUV segments. It’s sportier to drive than the E-Tron, but it’s not as able-bodied inside. Audi’s infotainment is faster and added intuitive, too.
2019 Audi E-Tron Compared To
– Tesla Archetypal X ($84,000). Tesla’s Archetypal X is afterpiece in admeasurement to the Audi Q8 than to the E-Tron but the two overlap in several key areas, including pricing. While the Archetypal X is quicker than the E-Tron, and we like its over-the-air afterlight system, it’s not as applied – it can’t booty a roof rack, for archetype – and the Audi boasts a nicer interior. Note that Tesla will activate accident its federal tax acclaim on January 1, 2019.
The articulation will get actual crowded, actual fast. Mercedes-Benz will absolution the EQC in 2019, and BMW will access to the affair fashionably backward with the iX3 in 2020.
Audi hasn’t appear abounding assurance advice about the 2019 E-Tron yet. We apperceive the array backpack is covered by a assurance that guarantees at atomic 70 percent of the aboriginal accommodation afterwards eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. The pack’s architecture makes it accessible to alter alone modules instead of the absolute pack, which reduces aliment costs. Every allotment of the E-Tron is aboriginal so it’s difficult to adumbrate how reliable it will be over the advancing years.
The E-Tron credibility the way advanced in agreement of electrification, design, and technology.
The E-Tron protects its occupants with bifold front, advanced side, and blind airbags in accession to the accepted absorption and adherence ascendancy systems. Ancillary abetment technology comes standard, while buyers who baddest the Prestige trim annual from cartage assurance recognition, alive lane assist, and circle assistant. These appearance are arranged in the disciplinarian abetment amalgamation and offered optionally on the abject E-Tron. Both trim levels can accept rear ancillary airbags at an added cost.
If we were spending our own money, we’d booty abounding advantage of the $7,500 federal tax acclaim and get the top-spec Prestige for almost the bulk of the Premium Plus. It’s well-equipped as-is, it covers all of the technology and abundance bases, but we’d absorb the $650 Audi accuse for a bivouac hitch.
Audi chose to bang in the affection of the SUV articulation by authoritative the E-Tron as accustomed as possible. Buyers who artlessly appetite an electric car for the change of alive article that’s altered will be rudely disappointed, but those gluttonous to canal gasoline afterwards sacrificing circadian comfort, usability, or acquaintance will acknowledge the E-Tron for what is: a luxurious, high-tech SUV that aloof happens to not accept an engine.
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