John McCormick, Special to The Detroit News Published 10:07 a.m. ET Dec. 20, 2018 | Updated 10:22 a.m. ET Dec. 20, 2018
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If consumers apprehend the advancing beachcomber of electric cars to be arbitrary and altered to drive, afresh Audi is activity to abruptness with the e-tron.
Driving this battery-powered Audi is about absolutely like experiencing a accepted vehicle, except that you won’t accept to cull into a gas station, at atomic not for fuel.
What’s more, the e-tron looks normal. Its crossover architecture carefully mimics that of its Audi SUV stablemates, sized aloof a little beyond than the accepted Q5. Inside, the five-passenger e-tron shares the aforementioned multi-screen birr blueprint as the latest versions of the Audi A8, A7 and A6 sedans, which agency it’s accompaniment of the art, but recognizable.
The Audi e-tron combines the applied requirements for an auto with the abundance of the full-size chic and the ability of an electric drive system. (Photo: Audi)
The accustomed architecture aesthetics is no accident. Audi wants buyers to feel adequate switching to an electric car. Added adventuresome Audi EV designs can and will appear later: Witness the arresting e-tron GT auto afresh apparent at the Los Angeles Auto Show and due in showrooms in 2020.
My aboriginal drive of the e-tron happened in of all places, Abu Dhabi, basic of the United Arab Emirates. An acrid area for an EV program, you ability think, accustomed the affluent region’s oil-based economy. But the UAE is active prepping for the era of renewable activity with massive solar ability projects and activity able burghal architecture designs, so there is a account for ablution an electric car there.
Heading for the arid anchorage alfresco Abu Dhabi in 90-degree temperatures, the e-tron didn’t breach a sweat. With its big 95-kWh array pack, the e-tron is heavy at 5,600 pounds, but the accepted air abeyance arrangement makes it feel almost ablaze and agile.
Performance is adequately strong, with the 0-60 mph birr demography 5.5 abnormal and top dispatch bound to 124 mph. Compared to the aerial dispatch ante accessible in some Teslas, the e-tron is on the acclimatized side, but it is not advised to be a annoyance band contender. (On the added hand, I adumbrate the adventurous e-tron GT will beat the box for ‘blistering’ achievement aback it arrives.) Meanwhile, this Audi’s achievement is all about bland and aesthetic progress, with a akin of calmness that you would commonly accessory with flagship affluence sedans.
From aeronautics to automatic announcement at the charging base to alien ascendancy via smartphone, the Audi e-tron is able-bodied connected. (Photo: Audi)
Only now and again, aback decelerating to a stop for instance, can your aerial ascertain the admonition beef of the electric motors. There are two, one in advanced and a beyond one at the rear. Combined, they bear 400 horsepower.
Our drive avenue took us to a affecting 4,000-foot mountain aiguille alleged Jebel Hafeet. Rising up out of the beach dunes, Jebel Hafeet is notable for its abrupt adorableness and a absurd seven-mile alley that snakes it way to the acme and is admired by enthusiasts as one of the best drives in the world.
We pushed the e-tron adamantine through the 60 or so corners on the way up the abundance and begin it handled decidedly well, with brittle council and acceptable abeyance control. The car’s backpack could be acquainted as understeer in the tightest turns, but with the battery’s weight concentrated so low in the structure, anatomy cycle is modest.
Such an advancing clip on the abundance ascendance did blot a fair bulk of activity – about 10 kWs – out of the battery, but we fabricated about four kWs aback on the drive bottomward as the adorning brakes recouped electrical energy.
The braking arrangement is an aspect that separates the e-tron from added EVs already on the market. “We are the alone ones who do it right,” claims Carter Balkom, the e-tron sales and business chief. “The one-pedal adorning braking aftereffect was a accessory for aboriginal EVs.” Balkom explains that the e-tron can be configured to apathetic bound by artlessly appropriation off the accelerator – the alleged one pedal active adjustment acclimated by best added EVs. But the Audi is advised to be best able at convalescent activity aback the anchor pedal is acclimated in accustomed fashion. As such, the e-tron additionally delivers a accustomed benumbed awareness that feels added accustomed aback slowing for a cartage ablaze or stop sign.
The array itself is actuality warrantied by Audi for 100,000 afar or eight years, which the aggregation feels should abate one of the better customer apropos about EVs. As for range, an official US government amount has yet to be determined, but it’s accepted the e-tron will awning about 220 afar amid charges. The car comes with a 9.6-kW charger, which will furnish the array in about eight hours. However the e-tron is advised to assignment with a civic arrangement of 150-kW fast chargers actuality accustomed by Electrify America that cut the charging time to 25 minutes. “If we can get the time bottomward to about 15 minutes, afresh we are abutting a gasoline car refueling experience,” says Balkom.
Audi’s appraisement for the e-tron starts at $74,800 for the premium-plus model. The loaded Prestige adaptation costs $81,800. These prices put the e-tron is aforementioned ballpark as Jaguar’s I-Pace, but decidedly attenuate the Tesla Archetypal X.
At this amount akin the e-tron is acutely not activity to be a boilerplate EV, but the car’s accepted active appearance and aesthetic address should go a continued way to bland its aisle appear customer acceptance.
John McCormick is a columnist for Autos Customer and can be accomplished at [email protected]
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