The Luxury Electric car segment is heating up. We have the Mercedes EQC, Jaguars I-Pace already there. BMW’s Electric cars are on their way and so is the Volvo XC90 Electric. Now the German Premium car maker Audi is all set to get their first Electric model into India the e-tron. We have driven the Audi E-Tron for our road test review and here is all that you need to know on the latest German Electric in town.
Food for Thought
Audi unveiled the e-tron in its concept form in 2015 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The initial deliveries for the e-tron began in 2019. There also is a Sportback variant of the e-tron that came into production in 2020. In Norway, the e-tron was the best-selling car any kind in October 2019. In November 2019. In the Netherlands, the e-tron was the #2 most registered car of any kind in December 2019. In 2020 the New Zealand government started purchasing e-trons as official government cars. The Audi e-tron is built on the Volkswagen Group MBL platform which stands for Modularer Längsbaukasten, translating from German to “Modular Longitudinal Matrix”. This platform is used by many models from the Volkswagen group between Audi, Volkswagen, Bentley, Porsche and Lamborghini. The 95 kWh battery pack on the e-tron consists of 4,323 cells arranged in 96 separated modules.
One look at the e-tron and you cant mistaken it for any other car but an Audi. You get to see all the family traits on the Electric SUV. Upfront you get the Bulgarian beard grille which Audi calls as the single frame grille finished in platinum grey color with horizontal slats finished in glossy grey color running across with only the top and middle slats being closed and the middle 5 slats left open. Six vertical chrome lines along with the Audi ring logo finish up the designing of the grille. The bumper gets lots of sharp character lines along with a large air dam, air vents and a faux skid plate giving that macho SUV look to the face. The all LED headlights gets advanced digital matrix glow in them and come with sharp design DRL’s that define them. The headlights also get a unique four horizontal LED strips that is a signature styling for the Electric SUV. The bonnet gets four character lines that flow backwards defining it.
The side profile is typical Audi SUV like and reminds you a lot of the Q5, Q7 etc. You get a sloping roofline, chrome surrounds around the large glass area abd large wing mirrors with LED turn lights here. What defines the sides of the e-tron is the power opening charge ports on each sides of the fenders with the e-tron badging on them. You also get glossy black insert strips that run back wards on the lower section of the doors, this kind of visualizes the location of the battery pack in the car which is placed under the floorboard. The fenders also get body colored flat inserts around the wheel arches defining them. The Audi e-tron drives on 20 inch special e-tron 5- arm alloys finished in graphite grey shade mounted on 255/550R20 spec Continental tyres. You also get yellow paint on the brake calipers that add some glamour to the sides of the e-tron. The roof gets metal finished roof rails, panoramic sun roof and a shark fin radio antenna.
The rear profile of the e-tron is as pretty as its face, here you get a rather unique one piece LED strip stop light that runs across the boot lid. The slim and sharp designed LED tail lamps are neatly flushed into the bodyline while the rear glass is placed at a sharp angle along with a large body colored spoiler. The rear bumper comes with sharp character lines and slim stop lights along with a large faux skid plate that complete the e-trons behind. The e-tron comes with a 600 plus liter spacious boot area with an all electric tail gate that is also openable with gesture.
Step inside the e-tron and you immediately are welcomed with a plush and premium trademark Audi cabin area. The dashboard has a wraparound design and comes in layers. You get a flat top finished in black and made of soft material, you get hand stitching running across the length. Below this is the thick wooden insert panel that looks and feels very premium. Between this is a glossy black panel with e-tron written on it that glows, you also get ambient light on this panel. There is metal inserts around the AC vents that add to the rich feel. The e-tron gets three LCD color display screens on its cabin, centre dash, instrument cluster and the climate control unit. The centre dash comes with a 10.1 inche touch screen unit that runs powered with the latest generation Audi MMI OS.
This unit gets all the connectivity features including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, FM radio, navigation etc. You get a very unique tactile feedback when you use the touch screen unit. The sound system on the e-tron is the premium 16 speaker 3D sound system from Bang & Olufsen pumping out 705W of rich audio. Below the MMI screen is a small touch screen that is the control unit for the 4-zone climate control. The instrument cluster is the all color digital screen that Audi calls as the virtual cockpit. You get all the tell tale readings here for the car, battery charge, distance, drive modes, GPS, infotainment etc. This display can be customized as per the drive mode. The steering unit is the four spoke design with metal inserts and mfd buttons on it along with leather wrapping with hand stitching. You get full electric adjust for height and rake on it.
The centre console gets a very unique drive shifter which consists of a large leather wrapped pad area, metal finished drive control unit and glossy black inserts. You get the electromechanical hand brake. Behind this drive control unit is the storage compartment with bottle holders in it, a unique vertical wireless mobile charge dock and storage area under the centre armrest. The seats get full leather upholstery and electric adjust for height, reach, back angle and lumber settings. You get two memory preset functions for the drivers seat. Seat comfort is pretty good with loads of head, shoulder room. Back and under thigh support is also very good.
Rear seats get three adjustable head rests, folding arm rest with storage and bottle holders. Rear passengers also get a two zone climate control unit with individual setting for the blower and temperature settings. Comfort level at the rear is excellent with tons of leg, knee and head room. You can also sit very comfortably in the middle seat with a near flat floor helping things here. For the rear passengers you also get side window sun blinds. A total of four USB C mobile charging ports are available two for the front and two for the rear passengers.
Drive – Battery – Motor
The Audi e-tron comes powered with a 95 kWh battery that’s mounted under the floor of the car, this battery pack is weather sealed, liquid cooled plus it gets a metal sheet protection under it to avoid any damage from the road while in motion. This battery powers two brushless motors that power the rear and front wheels of the SUV making this a intelligent Electric Quattro (all wheel drive) drive system. In IC car power figures the e-tron has 408hp of power and makes 664Nm of torque. As per Audi the SUV can do a dash to 100kmph in just 5.7 seconds and as a range of upto 484kms on a single charge.
Coming to the charging systems, the e-tron can be charged using the 11kW AC unit in 8.5 hours, using a 22kW AC power source will charge it in 4.5 hours while the 50kW DC charge system will do the job in just 1.9 hours. You also can charge it using the 100kW DC power source in under 1 hour and a 150kW DC charger will give it full juice in under 30 mins flat. You also get three recuperation levels using the paddle shifter to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy. When you remove your foot from the gas pedal, the electric motors act as alternators and provide massive resistance in order to recuperate energy and send it back to the battery.
One of the best things on an Electric car is that they give you instant acceleration from the word go. First thing you notice is that as there is no engine there is no noise or vibration in the cabin when the e-tron is On. You just need to tap the paddle and the SUV surges ahead instantly at a blink of an eyelid. You also get the drive modes to toggle between comfort, dynamic, sport and eco. Then there is air suspension which also lowers or raises the SUV by 20mm. The steering feels lively and the fun to drive factor is immense. The 20 inch wheels come very handy as it not only helps the e-tron glide over bad roads and speed breakers but also polishes and perfects the ride quality.
Despite weighing more than 2.5 tonnes with a driver on board, the E-tron handles bends and curves very nicely. The intelligent suspension does a very good job while the steering always feels connected and in control. You nstantly have asmile on ur face when you realize you driving an all electric car and this adds to the fun factor of the e-tron.
Electric cars are the future and Audi is getting there with the e-tron. The SUV is highly practical, wonderfully classy inside with loads of room and is highly efficient too. The e-tron In short has it all plus it retains the typical Audi drive, safety and comfort traits. The Audi e-tron is a very good choice for those looking for a big dose of luxury in their electric SUV, and is well worthy of your consideration when it launches on the 22nd of July. The Electric Game has just begun.
Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar
Video Edits – Bhushan Joshi