What can you say about an all-electric motor, on the upside they are good for the environment, clean and quiet, and cost effective to run. On the flipside though you have to be meticulous with your journey plan, factoring in, time where and when to charge, and making sure you have a fully charged battery when you set off.
Now let’s get excited - this is no ordinary electric motor this is an Audi Quattro e-tron 55 S-Line which has all the above pros and cons, but is built with immaculate attention to detail, with features that include warmed wipers (no more shredded wiper blades on frosty mornings) plus climate control all to justifying Audi’s e-tron luxury price. It’s safe to say the e-tron this is an advanced SUV with power and features that other electric vehicles don't even come close to in comparison. So, if you are ready to step into the future read on.
When Audi decided to muscle in on the electric vehicle market it was with the Audi e-tron, a full electric SUV built to compete with other similar luxury SUV models, albeit more expensive than many, however is it worth the price? We will see what exactly if anything makes the e-tron stand out and is it worth paying so much more.
The e-Tron has a 95.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack to power two electric motors. One is located at the front axle, and the other is on the rear. This set up produces 355 horsepower and 414 lb-ft of torque which is an impressive amount of power. Plus, the e-tron can tow up to 4,000 lb which will enable you to pull a mid-sized caravan with ease.
The drawback is the e-tron’s limited range, a single charge will give a max range of 200 miles about 30 miles less than some of its cheaper competitors. The drop off in range is down to the extra power and towing ability the e-tron provides, basically what you get in exchange is 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds making it one of the quickest SUV’s.
Charging - the e-tron is pretty good at charging, with a charge time from a home plug in through a 240 volt/50amp outlet in 9 hours and additionally has the ability to put almost 55 miles in only a 10 minute through a DC fast charger.
Add to that Audi work with Arcadia to provide renewable energy technology and allow solar and wind equipment to be fitted at your home.
While the Audi’s limited range may seem that it is more suited to urban driving, it is a very capable off-roader, with all-wheel drive, five modes of air suspension, including one specifically for off-roading,
Inside - The cabin it extremely comfortable and luxurious along with premium padded leather seats it’s quite and relaxing - a dream to travel in. There is more than enough space for five passengers that also get to enjoy features like the heated back seat.
However, the cargo space is a touch smaller than average, behind the rear seats there is up to 28.5 cubic feet of cargo space. With the seats folded down, this doubles up to 57 cubic feet of cargo space.
Tech - In line with all Audi S Line vehicles the e-tron has the Audi virtual cockpit with MMI Navigation, a 10” infotainment centre with a wireless smartphone display to connect to your apps and it can connect to Apple Car Play or Android Auto too.
With the myAudi app on your phone to personalise your trip. You can lock the doors, schedule maintenance, plan your route, via your phone.
Down to the safety features make the Audi e-tron incredibly safe, earning top safety and reliability awards, making it the most safe and reliable electric on the road.
This, along with incredible attention to detail with features such as warmed wipers and climate control, does seem to make the Audi e-tron worth the luxurious price. It’s an advanced SUV with power and features that other electric vehicles don’t even come close to offering.
Driving - The e-tron’s gear lever pivots from under its central housing, swinging over a small arc back into Drive or forward into Reverse and are operated with your thumb which takes seconds to get used to.
There are selectable driving modes from Off-road to Efficient to Dynamic, used well they can give noticeable battery-savings, in Efficient we found the throttle response when pulling away from junctions sluggish, in Dynamic the ride is livelier while in off-road mode the air suspension rises by 35mm for useful extra clearance and comfort.
The e-tron is quick: with triple motor drive, it’ll jump from 0-62mph in 4.5sec, which is impressive, the problem is, use the performance regularly, your average will drop to 1.8 miles per kWh giving a range of about 150 miles.
The electric motors are responsive enough to deal with the weight (2370kg) and have reasonable overtaking acceleration even at motorway speeds.
So, the e-tron grips well and is comfortable, the controls are calibrated very well so input matches response.
Braking - Below 0.3g of retardation the braking is electrical through the motors with the energy fed back into the battery, paddles behind the steering wheel allow you to increase the electric recuperation through three levels.
Activate the auto mode and the system is clever enough to see cars ahead of you, spot that a roundabout is approaching, and gently start the slowing for you. It is good but takes some getting used to, it in manual mode, you know exactly how much the car is going to slow when you take your foot off the accelerator.
The camera door mirrors, which reduce overall width by 150mm while eliminating any wind noise. They take a bit of getting used to as you be will be able to see a trace outline from the base of the windscreen and A and B-pillars, but this soon goes away.
The Audi e-tron comes in three models 50 Quattro and 55 Quattro prices start at £60,000
Summary - At times you may feel we overuse this statement when we summarise many Audi cars, but it does sum it up well. The ‘Audi e-tron SUV looks after its passengers’
To book a test drive or check out all models go to Audi UK
As an aside I can’t wait to get my hands on the Audi e-tron GT