Audi e-tron (2019)
Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.
Here it is, the one so many of you have been waiting for. The Audi e-tron has been roaming our roads for some time now and we have been lucky enough to experience the 50 quattro variant for a weeklong test drive. The first thing we noticed when collecting the e-tron is just how normal it looks. Yes it is well designed and oozes German quality but what we like is the fact that it doesn’t shout, electric car! It’s a product of the carbon-neutral Audi Brussels plant that has been designed to combine a high level of efficiency with the style and quality you would expect from any Audi. To be honest, the untrained eye would probably struggle to even know it is powered by electricity.
The model we had on test was the Sport version, which featured glorious 20-inch alloys and lovely valcona leather sports seats inside. The cabin is plenty big with all the creature comforts you would expect from an Audi and the build quality is second to none. You won’t find any mix and mash materials used other than leather, soft touch plastics and crystal clear screens. On startup you get a subtle chime to let you know the vehicle is started before you waft off in sheer silence. Power is plentiful like most electric cars with that wall of torque available from a standstill. Paddle shifters offer various levels of regenerative braking allowing you to enjoy single pedal motoring with sufficient braking experienced on lifting the accelerator pedal. This means that the energy from practically all-normal braking manoeuvres is recovered and fed back into the battery. This becomes very intuitive when driving and also helps battery life.
Just like all Quattro Audi’s, the four-wheel drive system delivers power by utilising an electric motor mounted on each axle. This gives the e-tron 50 a combined total of 230 kW and 540 Nm of torque, which will see you complete the 100km/h sprint in 6.8 seconds on your way to an electronically limited 188kph. In order to achieve the highest efficiency from the 71kWh battery the e-tron is smart enough to use only the rear electric motor in most driving situations. The front electric motor is activated predictively when needed or if the conditions suddenly change. The regulation of the electric all-wheel drive is extremely fast, highly connected and very precise. In other words you would rarely know what motors it is using to power which wheels. Combine this with air suspension and the e-tron’s low centre of gravity and it not only drives but corners excellent.
The Audi e-tron claimed a 5-star Euro NCAP rating by scoring 91% in Adult Occupant Protection, 88% in Child occupant protection, 71% in vulnerable road user protection and 78% on the safety assists. The e-tron comes with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Emergency calling, should you have an accident. It also features lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert with reversing collision avoidance. It has Adaptive Cruise control, automatic headlights and blind spot monitoring. Ultimately any car that achieves the top, 5 star rating is something to instill confidence when it comes to parting with your hard earned cash!
At the time of driving our Sport test car was priced at €79,320 (excluding grants). Entry for the Advance model starts at €74,990 and the S-Line was coming in at €85,110. With finance available from 3.9%, the Audi e-tron 50 offers Irish drivers’ considering an EV pretty good value with monthly repayments from €779* on PCP. There are other competitive financial options available to customers so be sure to speak with your local Audi dealer.
Ok so after a week what was it like to live with? Well we explained the drive was excellent as was the build quality but unless you are living in the city and doing very short trips we are not sure if the 50 is the best battery option for you. The 71-kWh battery with its two electric motors is supposed to provide a range of up to 330 kms according to the WLTP test cycle but realistically we got no where near that. In reality it was more like 250. Yes the e-tron also has a 120kW charging capability which facilitates recharging to 80 per cent capacity in approximately 30 minutes at fast-charging stations but if you live in Kildare and commute to Dublin you will be pulling in every second day for a charge. Our advice would be to step up into the e-tron 55, which has the bigger 95-kWh battery. This should see you good for a real world driving range of 365 km/h and that is something that you can live with. Audi, along with other car brands are working with Ionity to continue adding fast-charging sites to the six already in operation. If you can obtain a larger battery model and have access to one of these chargers then the e-tron will totally change your perception of electric vehicles. Finally you will have the range with the build quality to match from an electric vehicle.
71-kWh battery not enough
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