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