Audi e-tron

Audi’s e-tron: much like the ’leccy Jag but more fa­mil­iar in shape, and with gad­gets aplenty

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - ROWAN HORNCASTLE

Just like the orig­i­nal qu­at­tro, Audi is leav­ing num­bers and let­ters be­hind to make a brand­ing state­ment in the all-elec­tric SUV mar­ket. Most no­tably, tak­ing the fight to Tesla’s Model X, Jaguar’s I-Pace and Merc’s im­pend­ing EQ C.

Util­is­ing a 95kWh lithium-ion bat­tery and dual mo­tors good for 300kW of out­put (402bhp and 490lb ft of torque), the e-tron can reach 62mph in less than six sec­onds and goes on to a lim­ited top speed of 124mph. How­ever, it’s also ca­pa­ble of 150kW DC fast charg­ing – mean­ing you can juice it up to 80 per cent in 30 min­utes. That’s the real race when own­ing an EV.

But where Jaguar pushed the boat out with the I-Pace’s rad­i­cal pro­por­tions, and Tesla got all the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ with the Model X’s huge screens, flappy doors and hid­den Easter eggs, Audi has played it safe in the de­sign depart­ment, fo­cus­ing on achiev­ing the best drag co­ef­fi­cient fig­ure pos­si­ble – key for that 249-mile range on the WLTP test cy­cle. See those gills in the front grille? They’re reg­u­lated cool­ing air in­lets with ducts to cool the front brakes. Then there’s the stan­dard adap­tive, speed-de­pen­dent air sus­pen­sion and 19in wheels de­signed to work with the tyres for ul­tra-low-rolling re­sis­tance, and best of all, cam­eras in­stead of door mir­rors.

You may re­mem­ber a sim­i­lar set-up on VW’s ex­treme and rad­i­cal XL1 eco-car. The mir­ror dis­plays are OLED screens in the front up­per cor­ners of the door trims with dig­i­tal zoom, so you can choose dif­fer­ent an­gles of view for ma­noeu­vring, town driv­ing or mo­tor­ways.

Audi claims the e-tron’s cock­pit is as roomy as any full-size SUV’s and it has 660 litres of bootspace. It also claims the e-tron bet­ters its com­peti­tors in key di­men­sions such as in­te­rior length, sec­ond-row legroom and head­room.

There are seven (seven!) driv­ing modes in to­tal, and hav­ing a mo­tor at each end means the front axle can pre­dic­tively send grip up front in icy con­di­tions or when corner­ing fast. How­ever, be­cause it’s an EV and keen to save its en­ergy re­serves when it can, it’ll do some party tricks to ex­tend its range. Tricks like de­cou­pling the front mo­tor, ad­just­ing its ride height to be­come slip­perier and soak­ing up as much re­gen as it can from brak­ing.

With a low cen­tre of grav­ity and punchy torque fig­ures, like all the other elec­tric SUVs, the e-tron is no doubt go­ing to sur­prise with its po­ten­tial per­for­mance and low run­ning costs. But we’ll have to wait un­til the end of the year for Audi to start knock­ing them out of its plant in Brus­sels, ready for them to go on sale at the end of the year for around £70k. Ques­tion is, are you psyched or sad for Audi to en­ter into the elec­tric world at last?

The fu­ture of car in­te­ri­ors... much like the present of car in­te­ri­ors, if we’re hon­est

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