- 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds in Sport boost
- Top speed around 124mph
- Overtaking is still a breeze
Audi’s first fully electric plug-in production model features a pair of electric motors, one for each axle for Quattro all-wheel drive, their combined output being 355hp.
That power can be increased to 402hp momentarily under boost when Sport is selected on the transmission, allowing the E-Tron a 0-62mph time of less than 6.0 seconds. Top speed should be in the region of 124mph.
It retains Audi’s Drive Select system, which offers a choice of Offroad, Allroad, Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and a configurable Individual setting, Audi’s BEV not just an SUV in looks, then, it promising some real off-road ability.
The quoted range under the WTLP measure should be in the region of 241 miles, a full charge via a 150kW high output charger taking 30 minutes - that infrastructure yet to be rolled out through Europe, but promised in the next few years. Home charging, via a typical high voltage charger should take about 8-9 hours, the E-Tron able to manage timings, depending on house energy usage loading, the availability of any solar energy at home and reduced rate tariffs.
- Physics-bending in a straight line
- Newton has his way on the twisty stuff
- One of the best bits about the car
Audi slaps the quattro rings and a Dynamic mode on most things nowadays, but the E-Tron actually earns those badges. In a straight line, it does what we’ve come to expect from electric cars; it’s remarkably quick to 30mph, and only really shows its weight when in braking zones. We were even impressed at just how composed the car is in the twistier bits: driven gently, like an eSUV should be, it’s remarkably fun to push.
The E-Tron is agile in corners – providing you add respectful levels of steering angle. Driven in a measured way, you’ll find much less body-roll than you’d expect of a 2.5-tonne car. It’s efficient, too, boasting a drag figure of just 0.28, which is relatively low for an SUV.
It’ll also perch up on the same suspension for the best ground clearance should you want to take the car off road. We found the ride quality highly impressive on its air springs, with a natural feel despite the fact our launch cars were sat on 21-inch alloys.
The steering felt a little light in Comfort mode, but gets heavier as you select sportier gaits from the E-Tron, and it’s fabulously responsive when you turn into a bend.
The brakes nip at your inside wheel where required to tighten the car’s line, but a cleverer trick is the introduction of a two-stage brake pedal. This means the car actually uses its motors in reverse, as a sort of generator, to recover some of the energy lost when you don’t need full braking power. Push harder and the car’s traditional hydraulic disc brakes begin to work, but you get 0.3g of deceleration with the motors alone. Thankfully, this entire process is rather seamless, which is exactly how it should be.
We didn’t think it as abrupt as Nissan’s Leaf can be when slowing down, but during our test the car told us we’d managed to recuperate nearly seven miles of range simply by braking or lifting off. You can also use the paddles to reduce or increase the rate of energy recuperation, and it’ll feel like the car is sticking in the higher modes.
The battery weighs around 700kg and is housed in the E-Tron’s unique structure - which Audi engineers claim is some 40% stiffer than that of the Q5. Its total kerb weight is a not inconsiderable 2,490kg, which highlights how impressive the handling is in spite of that heft.