Audi has at all times had a knack for advertising and marketing. Whether or not making motorsport hyperlinks to an iconic Quattro rally automobile, or just leaving the fantastic V10 howl of an Audi R8 Efficiency do the speaking itself, it is aware of tips on how to make folks need its vehicles.
Nevertheless, the corporate goes to have to alter its tune over the approaching years because it gears as much as ship a full dimension vary of fully-electric choices. The Audi e-tron is the primary automobile within the model’s electrical offensive, however fairly than Audi ‘going electrical’, the agency proudly heralds that ‘electrical has gone Audi’. So, as we check it within the UK for the primary time, is it the game-changer it claims to be?
Constructed on a modified model of the MLB platform discovered beneath a variety of different Audi SUVs, the Tesla Mannequin X rivalling e-tron provides up one powertrain configuration to begin with: a 168hp entrance motor and a 188bhp rear motor mated to a 95kWh battery. The full system output stands at 302bhp, although this peaks at 402bhp for eight seconds with an overboost perform. It’s capable of settle for 150kW DC quick charging via its CCS connector, which signifies that charging from flat to 80 per cent full takes half an hour. Nevertheless, you received’t discover a 150kW charger beside the highway in Britain simply but.
Whereas the powertrain is a revolution for Audi, the styling intentionally isn’t. The model is focusing on core patrons with the e-tron, so whereas the Jaguar I-Tempo seems to be like little else on the highway, the e-tron might be mistaken for a Q5 – only one that’s barely longer and decrease.
It is the identical story on the within. Like lots of the newest Audis, the sprint is dominated by three shows – two touchscreens on the sprint, one other forward of the motive force. These acquire EV-specific menus; the customisable Digital Cockpit digital dials present the connection between motor load and brake regeneration in actual time, whereas the navigation system options the placement of public charging factors. If a high up is required it will probably plot routes accordingly. Some would possibly choose the minimalist Mannequin X look, however the Audi feels considerably extra sturdy and costly when it comes to perceived high quality.
That brawny feeling continues out on the highway. This can be a huge, heavy automobile – weighing one of the best a part of two and a half tonnes – which brings with it good and unhealthy factors. One of many e-tron’s biggest strengths is consolation: geared up with adaptive air suspension as normal, it manages to glide alongside even fairly dreadful surfaces with little fuss. It’s exceptionally quiet, too, with barely a whisper of highway and wind noise. Admittedly our automobile featured optionally available acoustic facet home windows (£525), however that is an especially enjoyable SUV, regardless.
The electrical motors assist right here, delivering little or no whine, even beneath the type of exhausting acceleration that delivers a 5.7-second Zero-62mph time in overboost mode. If something, it’s the way in which that it delivers the efficiency that’s most spectacular: there’s no ready round for a gearbox to make its thoughts up earlier than pulling out of a junction in a rush, and whereas the throttle response isn’t fairly Tesla-sharp, it’s extra vigorous and linear than a combustion-powered Audi SUV.
Quick although it’s, it undoubtedly isn’t sporty. It weighs one of the best a part of two-and-a-half tonnes, and if it actually feels it via the corners. A lot of that mass is mounted low, so stability is rarely in query; it’s simply to not eager to alter route in a rush. The steering’s gearing is pretty gradual too. Whereas it’s enjoyable to twist, it doesn’t assist disguise the heft.
All of that kinetic power provides potential to transform all of it again into electrical power every time you decelerate. A brake regeneration system comes into play when braking at beneath a charge of Zero.3G, or by handbook adjustment via the steering wheel paddles. In consequence, coasting downhill or in the direction of junctions helps to maintain the battery topped up.
The powertrain and battery format interprets right into a sensible cabin. Again seat passengers are handled to limo-like ranges of legroom, and the flat ground signifies that there’s a great deal of footroom even three-up. Out again, there’s an unlimited 660-litre boot, which is backed up by a modest 60-litre entrance compartment to carry onto the cost cables.
There’s two trim ranges to select from initially. £71,520 will get the usual mannequin, which comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, and leather-trimmed, electrically-adjustable seats. The launch version prices £82,270, and provides 21-inch wheels, a 360-degree parking digital camera, matrix LED lights and a preconditioning system for the air con and seat heating, amongst others. In fact, each of these costs will be subtracted by £three,500 due to the federal government’s plug-in grant.
We additionally sampled one of many e-tron’s celebration items: the rear view cameras. Normal on the Launch mannequin and a £1,250 possibility in any other case, it’s on this configuration the place the e-tron is at its most slippery – the Zero.27 coefficient of drag determine, Audi says, is class main. The OLED shows themselves work fairly effectively, displaying a crisp picture with solely the tiniest trace of latency. The display place wants some work although – whereas wanting over to the passenger facet appears pretty pure, the motive force’s facet display appears as if it’s positioned at an excessive amount of of a shallow angle and just a little too low, so it’s not as straightforward to have a look at as a standard mirror.
Audi expects demand for the brand new e-tron to be excessive, and residual values mirror this. A 3-year-old e-tron that’s coated 30,000 miles ought to maintain 65 per cent of its worth – greater than equal forecasts for each the Mannequin X (58 per cent) and I-Tempo (59 per cent).