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On The Road With Audi’s New Electric E-Tron
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
As I write this review, I have a Tesla parked on the driveway. Whatever one thinks of the eccentric Mr Musk, there is no doubt there are plenty of buyers willing to join the electric car revolution, but who also demand comfort and luxury into the bargain.

Audi has now launched its premium offering, the e-tron, a full-size electric SUV which heralds the start of the company’s EV offensive. We can expect to see four fully electric models from the Vorsprung durch Technik brand by the end of 2020.

Sitting between the Q5 and Q7 in size, the e-tron’s family resemblance is clear and should delight Audi aficionados.

Premium pricing is the order of the day, so expect to pay £71,520 to get behind the wheel. At the time of writing a £3,500 government grant is still available.

Equipment count is high but there is ample scope to personalise, ably demonstrated by the £20,000 worth of extras fitted to my test car.

A Launch Edition model is also available for £82,270 and may be worth it for the larger alloy wheels, better leather and the somewhat intriguing cameras, replacing the exterior side mirrors. They are a conversation piece, no doubt, but I found the sighting of the screens on the door and the view they offered hard to get on with.

The UK Media Launch was held on home turf and the familiar test route through some outstandingly beautiful Yorkshire countryside allowed me to push the e-tron to its limits.

Majoring on comfort, the large SUV was not at its best on the narrow, twisting country lanes. The car’s considerable girth caused a few breathe-in moments and the handling suggested a set up more designed for cruising the autobahns than cutting a path through the Yorkshire Dales.

Seven driving modes are available, including an off-road setting that raises the suspension and with quattro all-wheel drive, there is no reason to doubt the e-tron’s go-anywhere capabilities.

A 95kWh battery feeds two electric motors, one per axle and which jointly deliver up to 408PS. This is enough to propel the e-tron to 60mph in less than six seconds an on to an academic 124mph top speed. Impressive, as Audi’s new baby weighs in at a hefty 2,500kg.

As is the electric car way, the acceleration is seamless and with excellent sound deadening fitted, the only noise is a little flutter from around the wing mirrors and the occasional distant whirr from the motors. The future is silent, and it really is most relaxing…

Charging is an issue that worries most would-be adopters and it is not all good news. With a dedicated home charger, the battery can be charged overnight and should you be lucky enough to find a 150kW charging station on your travels, then you can top up to around 80% in as little as 30 minutes. Use a standard domestic 13 amp socket however and you will have a long wait…

Who needs wing mirrors?
Grants are available for the installation of a home charger and Audi’s partner is Pod Point.

The battery itself is covered by a comprehensive 8-year/100,000 mile warranty.

Audi quotes a range of up to 241 miles using the new WLTP testing regime. Driven hard over the launch test route, I would suggest an easy 200-mile range for all but the very heavy footed.

Aiding the range is the e-tron’s regenerative braking system, which harnesses energy that would otherwise go to waste.

The interior of any Audi is always a delight and the e-tron’s is no exception. High quality materials abound and there is space aplenty for all on board.

Also by Andy Harris...
The All-New Mazda3 Is Here
'Coupe High Rider' - Toyota’s C-HR On Test
The Jewel In Rolls-Royce’s Crown? Cullinan On Test
Mintex Classic Rally Comes To Yorkshire
All-New Range Rover Evoque UK Launch
Touch-screens are now de rigeur at this end of the market and whilst intuitive to use, they do require more eyes off the road time than is desirable.

One of the e-tron’s main rivals is Jaguar’s I-PACE, recently crowned both European and World Car of the Year. It’s a more exciting car to drive and is a little cheaper too.

And then there’s Tesla with its own dedicated Supercharger network, an undoubted boon. However, the aforementioned Model X on test broke down and had to be recovered, so quality maybe a little patchy!

The e-tron does things the Audi way with bold SUV looks, a top-flight interior and ease of use. Best-in-class residual values should ensure good PCP and company lease deals. It demands few compromises and is undoubtedly the way forward. It heralds a new era at Audi and from what I can see, it will be an exciting one.

Fast Facts

Audi e-tron 55 quattro
Price from £71,520 before grant
95kWh battery
0-62mph in 5.7 seconds (boost mode)
Top speed 124mph
Single speed automatic with e-quattro drive
Emissions – 0g/km CO2
Range up to 241 miles
BIK 16% (2019/2020 tax year)
Insurance Group 50E

On The Road With Audi’s New Electric E-Tron, 30th April 2019, 9:49 AM