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Audi e-tron 55 quattro First Drive test report

Why should i buy it?

  • Immediate performance
  • Spacious interior

Why should i avoid it?

  • Price uncertain
  • Charging time

Engine and power

Front right three quarters

The brand new Audi e-tron represents the driving experience of a new electric era. Here, two electric motors drive the SUV emission-free and almost noiselessly with up to 300 kW (408 PS) system output and 664 Nm torque. The maximum drive torque is available in fractions of a second and ensures enormous pulling power. In our tests, the e-tron completed the sprint from 0 to 100 km / h in just 5.35 seconds.

Left side view

The two motors are powered by a 95 kWh battery that is mounted under the passenger seat. They also have quattro all-wheel drive and normally the e-tron drives itself via its rear electric motor and only when the driver’s right foot demands more power than it can deliver, the all-wheel drive distributes the torque to the front axle. The e-tron has a theoretical range of up to 400 km when fully charged. This of course depends on several factors such as driving style and traffic conditions. According to Audi, the car’s regeneration system accounts for up to 30 percent of the total range. In principle, the e-tron regenerates energy back into the battery every time the driver brakes or takes off the accelerator. In both cases, the electric motors act as a generator and convert the kinetic energy of the e-tron into electrical energy in order to bring more charge into the battery. It is interesting that the driver can adjust the extent of the regeneration using the paddles on the steering wheel. In the highest regeneration level, the e-tron brakes and quickly comes to a stop as soon as you release the accelerator.

Right behind three quarters

Speaking of performance, in typical EV fashion, the e-tron reacts immediately as soon as you press the accelerator pedal and accelerates sharply compared to all other vehicles around you. With over 400 hp and an instantaneous torque of 664 Nm under your right foot, the e-tron is fast and can easily put you back in your seat at full acceleration. In terms of range, we covered almost 200 km during the test, exposing the e-tron to both quiet and hard rides. In the end, we still had a range of around 130 km, but our conclusion on the actual range will have to wait until we carry out real tests with a few drives on the motorway.

Ride quality and handling

Front right three quarters

The adaptive chassis of the e-tron enables the driver to increase the driving level while driving. Not only does this reduce the chance of underbody scratches, but it also keeps the battery safe. As for ride quality, the e-tron is like any gasoline / diesel luxury SUV when it comes to stifling the harshness of bumps and potholes. There’s no underlying stiffness, and for something that weighs over 2.5 tons, there isn’t much side-to-side movement even on bumps.

Left side view

Dynamically, the e-tron feels like a typical large Audi – from the steering feel to the bodywork, everything is similar to that of a Q7. Sure, it can’t shift its mass quite as smoothly as other full-size SUVs, but it’s not that bad for everyday use. This is mainly thanks to the adaptive air suspension of the e-tron, which does an excellent job of providing a correspondingly pleasant driving experience in comfort and safe, planted handling in dynamic.

Right behind three quarters

Comfort, convenience and features

Audi e-tron dashboard

The cabin is typically Audi, which means that everything you touch or operate has a premium feel, right down to the wiper / turn signal levers and the controls for the exterior mirrors. The overall impression and the attractiveness of the interior are dominated by the two large touchscreen displays – one for the infotainment system and the lower secondary unit houses the air conditioning. Granted, the screens look brilliant especially at night, but they’re also great fingerprint magnets.

Sit in the front row

The dimensions of the e-tron are quite large, which results in an airy, comfortable cabin. The front seats are large and supportive, and because the e-tron is so wide, the seats are far apart. Here, too, there is plenty of leg and shoulder room in the rear and the back seat is well padded all round. What’s not so good are the relatively small windows, which could make three seats side by side a little claustrophobic. Fortunately, the lack of a transmission tunnel frees up more legroom for the middle passenger, but knee room is still compromised thanks to the penetrating climate control panel for the rear.

Audi e-tron sunroof / moon roof

The e-tron 55 quattro with Indian equipment has a panoramic sliding roof, matrix LED headlights, gently closing doors, Audi’s virtual cockpit (digital instrument cluster), ambient lighting, wireless charging, a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 16 loudspeakers, four zones Climate control and a heads-up display. In some markets, the e-tron is also getting virtual mirrors, which are basically cameras, instead of exterior mirrors that project the images onto dedicated screens on the front doors.

Audi e-tron electric tailgate release

The e-tron also comes with a 22 kW AC charger, but what is really practical is that Audi has placed charging points on both sides of the e-tron. There’s an AC / DC connector on the driver’s side and an AC connector on the other to make charging so much easier when you just want to plug it into your household power supply in both directions. Connected to the standard compact mobile charging system, the battery is charged to 80 percent in four and a half hours. Meanwhile, an 11kW AC home charger can fully charge the e-tron in eight and a half hours.

Conclusion

Front left three-quarters

Whether you are looking for a luxury SUV or an all-electric vehicle, the Audi e-tron is a good buy. It’s faster than most SUVs in its class and feels and drives like a conventional luxury vehicle, which is probably the most impressive thing about it. Together with the comfortable street manners, the solid build quality and a theoretical range of over 350 km, it makes a convincing electric car to life. Now it’s up to Audi India and how well they price the e-tron. If the brand can undercut both, the e-tron will certainly stir up the luxury EV segment for others.

Right behind three quarters

Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

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