Here to clear the air

Audi e-tron

Price: £59,900 - £88,000

Audi has played it safe with its first electric car. It's simply another of its high quality, signature SUVs that happens to be powered by electricity. 

  • Battery size: 71 - 95kWh
  • Miles per £: 18.6
  • Battery warranty: 8 yrs/100,000 miles
  • Emissions: 0g/km
  • Range: 182-233 miles

Ginny Says

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7/10

“Many people will love the way the e-tron looks, it’s first and foremost a luxurious Audi SUV, but others will wish it makes more of a statement. Personally I fall into the later camp, although I’m impressed by how refined and comfortable it is to drive.”

Tom Says

8/10

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“Another one of those big-manufacturer EV SUVs that tries very hard not to offend. Not as sporty as a Jag iPace, the e-Tron is for Audi SUV owners who don’t want to be intellectually challenged. It’s a good car - just not a revolutionary electric SUV.  ”

Audi has played it safe with the e-tron. Instead of making an electric car which looks like something from a sci-fi movie, it has created an SUV which looks like pretty much any other car from its range. It means that customers might choose it just like it was any other engine option, rather than having to feel they’re making a big lifestyle change.

The same goes for the way it drives, as Audi has made it as simple as possible to switch to electric. Anyone who has driven one of the company’s modern models will be able to get into an e-tron and get going without needing to crack out the instruction book.

While that might be a positive for some buyers, other ‘early-adopters’ (people who like to be the first with gadgets) do like to have something to show off to their friends, and the e-tron’s ‘wow factor’ list is limited to the door mirrors – or lack of them. The more expensive model is the first car in the UK to swap mirrors for cameras, which makes the e-tron narrower and more aerodynamic. It’s clever, but we’re not sure the technology works well enough yet to make the switch.

The e-tron drives pretty well though, and is certainly as fast as most petrol or diesel SUVs. But it’s a heavy car, weighing just under 2.5 tonnes. That’s about 400kg more than a Q7 diesel and 300 kg more than Jaguar i-Pace – that’s like carrying four average-sized adults around all of the time. Most of that bulk is mounted low down in the car so it doesn’t feel too cumbersome on the road, but it does feel like a heavy car when you are accelerating or braking.

Carrying around those excess kilograms is going to hurt efficiency though, and the Audi has a claimed range of 182 miles between charges for the cheapest 50 model, rising to 193 miles for the faster 'S' versions. That should translate to a comfortable 170 miles in real-world driving, which is enough for most drivers - but it’s not exceptional, especially considering the e-tron has a 71 or 95kWh battery. It means you’ll be charging for longer (and paying more) to go a shorter distance.

To take the sting out of this, the e-tron can be super-rapid charged at a rate of up to 150kW  - compare that to a Tesla supercharger, which is ‘only’ 120kW.  If you can find one of these new chargers, it means the e-tron can take an 80 per cent charge in half an hour.

So, the e-tron is a good car. It’s not revolutionary, but it does a fine job of being an Audi SUV which happens to be powered by electricity. That may be enough for some buyers.

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