Audi has become the latest luxury brand to offer an all-electric SUV, having debuted the e-tron in San Francisco last night.
Like the Jaguar and Mercedes, there’s no mistaking the Audi e-tron as anything other than an Audi. Its design features swooping lines and fine little details that you might expect to see on a concept car, but otherwise this is a handsomely proportioned Audi SUV that looks rather like a cross between the Q8 and Q7.
Inside, it’s the same story. You get the new dual-screen infotainment set-up on the centre console – as seen on the new A8, A7 and Q8. The instrument panel is also digital, using Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. And otherwise, it looks like every current-gen Audi – from the A4 to the Q8.
Of course, the Audi e-tron isn’t actually anything like the rest of the range, because there’s no engine under the bonnet. Instead, propulsion comes courtesy of a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery mated to two electric motors. Power is 300 kW (or 402 bhp in old money).
That means the e-tron will do the 0-100 km/h dash in under 6 seconds and reach a (limited) top speed of 200 km/h. That’s a little slower than both the Jaguar I-Pace and the Mercedes EQ C, but it still ain’t bad considering this is a two-tonne, full-size SUV.
Range-rise, the Audi is about on par with the rest of its premium competitors – 400 km is the claimed range, thanks not only to smart battery tech, but also to superb aerodynamics which produce a low drag coefficient. And there’s some interesting regenerative braking tech on the e-tron, too.
Where the Audi trumps its competitors, though, is in the recharging department. The Audi e-tron accepts 150 kW DC fast-charging, meaning you can fill up to 80% in 30 minutes, so long as you find the right charger. We reckon that’ll be a major selling point for anyone thinking of taking the plunge into electric car ownership.
Also, it’s a big SUV – you get 660 litres of space in the cockpit, and the car is best in class for front headroom, rear headroom and rear legroom.
In terms of the drive, Audi isn’t making any claims about sportiness, so we’re guessing the e-tron is going to major on refinement and comfort. Still, there are seven driving modes, ranging from an extreme eco setting to a full-on sports setting. So we’ll see what’s what when the car becomes available for test drives.
Deliveries start in Europe at the end of this year, but we’ll probably be well into 2019 before the e-tron makes it to the Middle East. As for local pricing, we’re assuming it’ll hover around the AED 350,000 mark that it’s going for in Germany. Good value compared to a Tesla.
All told, it looks like Audi’s well and truly ready to join the all-electric future.