The Audi e Tron is a mid-size electric SUV that is designed for the luxury end of the electric car market. First unveiled by Audi in 2018, the e tron's history is already quite varied, with an updated version of the car coming out after its 2019 release. This Audi e Troncar review will, therefore, focus on the latest models rather than the discontinued old version of the Audi e Tron 55 Quattro.
The e Tron SUV by Audi is a little disappointing on the range but the electric motor still provides enough motoring for most journeys you'll make. Firstly, the e Tron 50 quattro and the e Tron 50 quattro Sportback versions of the car have an WLTP range of up to 209 miles. The old version of the Audi eTron 55 Quattro that was made from 2018 to 2019 was only able to come up with a 259-mile range in tests. This has now been improved by Audi. Both the updated versions of the e Tron 55, the Quattro and the Quattro Sportback, have a range of over 270 miles under test conditions.
The Audi e Tron 55 has a lithium-ion 95kWh battery pack that is distributed fairly evenly throughout the car, making it handle well despite the weight. The Audi e Tron 50 provides a 71kWh battery of which 67.5 kWhs are available for motion.
A normal three-pin electric connection in the UK will take 42 hours to fully charge the battery in the Audi e Tron 55. With a 3.6 kW connection, this will drop to 26 hours and just 9 hours with a 22 kW charger. If you use a public fast-charging point to recharge from 20 per cent to 80 per cent, then expect the job to take only 30 minutes.
A full charge of an Audi e Tron 55 Quattro would set you back a little over £15 if you were to do the job at home. On the other hand, an e Tron Audi charged at a public rapid charging station is likely to cost about £13.50.
Nearly all versions of the Audi e Tron are in insurance group 50, although a few of the entry-level models are in group 49. The Launch Edition of the Audi e Tron Sportback is the cheapest to insure because it is in group 45.
Firstly, all Audi e Tron batteries come with an 8 year or 100,000-mile warranty, a good thing to know. The rest of the e Tron's moving parts are covered by a three-year warranty. This will last for 60,000 miles if you drive that far within the first three years in your electric car.
According to Audi, the e Tron SUV needs to be serviced every second year that it is on the road. The e Tron 55 Quattro should also be serviced if it has done 18,000 miles before the two year period is up. Various service plans for the Audi e Tron 55 and 50 models are available.
The Audi e Tron 55 Quattro is one of the few electric cars on sale in the UK not to be eligible for the government's plug-in car grant scheme. The e Tron's price tag is just too high to qualify. However, you won't need to pay vehicle excise duty on any Audi e Tron, nor if you take the car into the London Congestion Charge zone. There's a handy benefit in kind rate for company car owners that's similar to other electric cars in the e Tron's class.
Audi's insistence that the e Tron 55 Quattro be a fast electric car has paid off. The all-wheel-drive of the electric motors in the car means it will get to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds, topping out at 124 mph. The Audi e Tron 50, on the other hand, takes 6.8 seconds to perform the same feat. This version of the Audi e Tron has a top speed of 118 mph.
By way of comparison to the Audi e Tron 55 quattro, the Tesla Model X long-range version will reach 62 mph from stationary in 3.9 seconds, while the Plaid model of the Tesla does it in 2.6 seconds. A Jaguar I Pace takes 4.8 seconds, so the Audi e Tron 55, at least, is in good company even if the Audi e Tron 50 is a little slow out of the blocks.
The Audi e Tron 55 Quattro, the 50 Quattro and the Sportback styles all offer numerous driving modes including Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Individual, Off-Road and All-Road. You will detect the 2.5-tonne e Tron SUV is most responsive in S mode, however, which stands for sport.
The e Tron's efficient driving mode is the best one for preserving the life of your battery. Yes, it will dent the speediness of the electric SUV but that is okay if you are in heavy traffic anyway. Drivers can also alter the level of the regenerative braking offered by the Audi e Tron by tapping on the car's steering wheel-mounted paddles in the cabin.
In the real world, the Audi e Tron 55 Quattro offers the greatest amount of range in the city where the regenerative braking system Audi has produced for the car works at its best. On the open road, the car cruises comfortably and you never feel underpowered joining motorway traffic in any of the Audi e Tron variants. Off-roading, the Audi e Tron 55 Quattro holds its own, but it is on twisting and turning country lanes where it really stands out among electric cars as it handles so well in these conditions, largely down to its comfy air suspension system.
No Audi e Tron review would be complete without mentioning just how stylish this electric SUV looks. This 5-door car looks head-turningly good from every angle. Metallic paint costs £750 more but it is worth it for this good-looking car. The line of the Sportback is lower at the rear so it feels sleeker but the standard 55 Quattro version of the Audi still looks tremendous.
You get LED headlights, alloy 20-inch wheels, a high-gloss pack and adaptive air suspension with the standard Audi e Tron 55 Quattro and e Tron Sportback at the entry-level trim, known as Technik.
Other trim levels available for both the Audi e Tron 55 and the Sportback variants are the Sport, the S Line, the Black Edition and the Vorsprung. You get a top of the line styling pack with the Vorsprung and 22-inch alloys. By comparison, 21-inch wheels and matrix LED headlamps come with the Black Edition. The Sport and S Line trim levels are very similar and distinguishable because of the larger alloys on the latter while the Sport, like the Technik, has 20-inch ones.
Let us start with the dashboard. A 12.3-inch digital display serves as the dashboard in the Audi e Tron 55 Quattro and all other variants. Audi refers to this as its virtual cockpit and it is well laid out. There's a navigation system located on another screen on a centrally positioned console.
The infotainment system in the Audi e Tron Quattro is used throughout the range. It uses two screens, the one mentioned above which serves for the navigation system but which can also run other menu options. The second is positioned beneath this. You need to access the menu here to adjust the climate control which is one thing that would be better off with old-fashioned knobs rather than a menu system.
The Audi e Tron pioneered the use of cameras instead of mirrors to provide a 360-degree view. Unfortunately, glare can be an issue even though the cameras are high-quality. Most reviews rave about this equipment but it has upsides as well as downsides. With the Technik model variants, you get a toolkit, 4-way lumbar support in the car's seats plus two-zone climate control. There is also a six-channel audio amp with ten loudspeakers and a pair of USB ports.
There is a small but useful luggage compartment under the floor in the Audi e Tron 55 Quattro. A front central armrest provides another cubby hole along with a larger than usual glove compartment in the front.
605 litres of storage space are available in the boot of the Audi e Tron 55 Quattro as well as the 50 version which is more than enough for most family trips involving multiple suitcases. The rear seats fold down independently which makes the boot even more practical in terms of space. Its performance is only hampered by the small lip you need to get over to store items.
The Audi e Tron 55 Quattro was tested by NCAP in 2019 and was rated with five out of five stars. The reviews of its safety they made at that time highlighted Audi's engine safety and the power steering. The car scored highest for its performance with adult occupancy safety although child occupancy safety was not far behind.
Safety tech in the electric car includes front airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners in the front and rear. The SUV also has plenty of lateral crash protection. Other gear to look out for is the ISOFIX point in the back for a child seat to attach to and automatic braking tech that will kick in if a pedestrian or a cyclist is detected. Speed assistance and lane assistance are other standard examples of the safety tech on offer with the electric SUV.
Given that the Audi e Tron has a motor on each axle, two on the back one and a third at the front, the electric SUV could be even more expensive than it is. Packed with gear behind the wheel and throughout the entire car design, there is little to complain about in terms of price, however. Yes, it costs to get a new one on the road but cars this good – when they become used cars – tend to hold their value even when you are talking about an all-electric model.
An entry-level Technik version of the car could set you back as much as £62,025 before you start adding extras. The e-tron 55 Sportback is upwards of £68,000 and the bad news for people who want Audi's top of the range version of the all-wheel-drive car is that it is going to have an asking price of well over £70,000 before options are thrown in. That said, as most reviews have agreed, the e Tron is worth its hefty pricing structure, whether it is for its 95kWh batteries, the power it delivers to the motor or the layout in the cabin, all of which ooze quality.