Audi E-tron 2019 reviews: how does it fare on UK roads?
The German car giant’s answer to the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC is now on sale
Audi has opened the order books for its new E-tron SUV and is promising to kick off delivers this month.
The all-electric crossover is available in three different forms: the regular E-tron, the Launch Edition and the exclusive Edition 1.
Entry-level E-tron models are equipped with 20in alloy wheels, air suspension and LED lights as standard. The limited-run Launch Edition gets a blacked-out grille, along with “door-mounted rear-facing cameras” - replacing the conventional wing mirrors, says news site Motoring Research.
At the top of the range, the limited-edition Edition 1 is “intended to be appropriately lavish, although Audi is being notably quiet about exact details” for the upmarket model, including the price, the site adds.
That lack of information hasn’t put off buyers, who have already snapped up all of the 30 units to be produced.
Here’s everything you need to know about the German carmaker’s first fully electric SUV:
Critics were full of praise for Audi’s new EV after driving it on the streets of Dubai towards the end of last year. However, they’ve now put the electric family crossover through its paces in the UK to see how it handles Britain’s notoriously ragged roads.
Thankfully, Auto Express says the e-tron is just as comfortable on Britain’s pothole-riddled streets as it was on the smooth tarmac in the Middle East.
This is mostly down to the air suspension system, a standard feature on all e-tron models, which “manages to glide along even pretty dreadful surfaces with little fuss”.
“It’s exceptionally quiet, too,” the magazine says. There’s “barely a whisper of road and wind noise” in the cabin, and the electric motors produce only a tiny “whine” when you press down on the accelerator.
Meanwhile, Autocar argues that drivers may not be able to match the e-tron’s official battery range of 241 miles in the real world. After completing the 118-mile test route, which spanned both A and B roads, the e-tron had around 63 miles left in its battery – some 60 miles short of Audi’s official figure.
The battery system makes the Audi somewhat heavy at 2.5 tonnes. The weight, however, has had little effect on the car’s handling, as it “grips strongly and steers with a reassuring sense of purpose”, the magazine says. The steering is short on “feedback”, but that’s to be expected from a family SUV.
The EV is crammed with hi-tech features, too, including a digital instrument cluster and a pair of infotainment screens housed in the centre consoles.
“The Audi e-tron has completely wowed simply because it is so normal,” says the Aberdeen Evening Express. It swaps the “spaceship-like qualities” of older electric cars for more conventional looks and equipped the car with features plucked from the firm’s “fantastic SUV range”.
“Paired with its impressive range and high-quality specifications, it’ll surely be convincing more people to make the switch to electric driving,” the news site concludes.
Prices for the entry-level E-tron kick off at £71,490, while Launch Edition models cost from £82,240.
As the Daily Express notes, buyers of both models qualify for a £3,500 discount in the UK, under a government grant for EV buyers.
Audi says that the E-tron’s 95kWh battery pack is capable of powering the SUV for around 241 miles on a single charge.
The figure has been calculated using the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which came into effect on 1 September as a more accurate method of measuring battery range and exhaust emissions.
It’s an impressive range, but the E-tron doesn’t match the 298-mile range of the Jaguar I-Pace.
While the Mercedes-Benz EQC’s 280-mile range is also better than the E-tron’s, the EQC’s range has been measured using the old – and arguably less accurate – New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) system.
Will the E-tron be fast?
It certainly won’t be a slouch. Electric cars provide near-instant torque, meaning they can often sprint from 0-62mph at the same speed as a supercar.
Audi claims the E-tron’s 402bhp and 490lb-ft of torque helps launch the SUV from 0-62mph in under six seconds, before “silently” hitting a limited top speed of 124mph, Top Gear reports.
The E-tron can charge its battery quickly, too. The motoring site says E-tron owners can “juice it up to 80% in 30 minutes” using a 150kW charger. These chargers are quite hard to find, but more will be available across Europe in the next few years.
Is it autonomous?
Not entirely. The E-tron can be specced with semi-autonomous safety features (where a driver is still needed to operate certain functions), but it won’t be capable of completely piloting itself.
According to Reuters, the E-tron will be equipped with an advanced cruise control setting that helps keep the car “within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle”.
Much like the semi-autonomous systems offered by rival firm Tesla, drivers must keep their hands on the wheel when the safety features are engaged.