Audi e-tron (2019-present)

Audi's e-tron is an electric, luxury SUV with a 200+ mile range and advanced technology

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Familiar Audi design and feel
Spacious five-seater
Hi-tech options

Weaknesses 

Expensive
No seven-seat option
Lengthy charging time
Best New Discount

Audi E-Tron Estate 300kw 55 quattro 95kwh 5dr auto

Total RRP £71,560

Your quote £66,715

You Save £4,845

Driving an electric car will eventually be normal - if the government's plan to ban petrol and diesel car sales goes ahead - so Audi's plan to win sales is to build a normal car, that happens to be powered by electricity.

The company’s first mainstream electric car is a large five-seat family model which is a bit larger than the popular Audi Q5, but not quite as bit as the seven-seat Q7, promising smooth, effortless power and whisper-quiet progress.

Like those cars, the Audi e-tron is tall and rugged-looking, making it a sport utility vehicle (SUV). It should be capable of taking you into the wilderness and back too, with an official range of 248 miles. This should give you around 220 miles in real-world driving before the battery needs recharging. You'll need around two hours to get an 80 per cent charge at a "fast" motorway service charger until quicker options arrive later in the year.

The company’s first electric car doesn’t come cheap: it's priced from £71,490 from new (although there are already discounts), whereas a Q5 with a diesel engine costs from £40,525. Finance buyers will notice less of a difference because the e-tron is expected to be worth almost two thirds of its new price after three years - an extremely high value - which should make monthly payments more affordable. 

It's still not cheap, though, and few owners will recover the difference in fuel costs, even if they do charge up at home. However, you won't be pumping pollutants into the streets you drive through and there are a few added extras which means that the e-tron isn't exactly normal.

Inside you'll find three screens - fitted as standard - heralding your arrival into the future (and matching the electric Jaguar I-Pace). One screen, Audi's "virtual cockpit", displays dials and information behind the steering wheel.

Two touchscreens in the middle of the dashboard control most functions and vibrate gently when you activate a function to imitate a physical button. There's also voice control, including Amazon Alexa for news, music streaming, on-the-move ordering, or other skills, as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto for easy control of phone apps, but no longer any rotary dial or touchpad.

Small rear-facing cameras replace the side mirrors on higher-specification cars to reduce wind noise. The video stream appears in two additional screens, mounted in the doors, and looking below, rather than out of the windows does take some getting used to. They are sure to be a talking point but it's hard to recommend upgrading to the cameras for entirely practical reasons.

Technology aside, leather seats are standard and other surfaces around the interior use woods and metals that look and feel high-quality. It's luxurious, with a fit and finish comparable to the high-end Q7.

There's enough space for four adults, with plenty of room in the rear. it's larger than a Q5, thanks to an extra 100mm between the front and rear wheels. Adults will be less comfortable in the middle rear seat because a central unit forces them to straddle their legs on either side. The 600-litre boot is greater than a Jaguar I-Pace or Audi's Q5.

The 2.5 tonne e-tron isn't light but its twin motors, powering the front and rear wheels, deliver sports car-levels of power and an instant response, without the need to rev them. Acceleration from 0-62mpg takes 5.7 seconds, which might be almost a second slower than the Jaguar I-Pace and seven-seat Tesla Model X but is swift enough for most family trips.

You won't want to carry too much of that speed into corners where the weight of the car does make itself felt, as it hesitates to change direction, unlike the zippy I-Pace. It does perform well for a heavy car, though, feeling stable with little leaning.

There's a price to pay for Audi's electric SUV, but only in the wallet: as long as you have a home charger to replensih the battery overnight (it'll take 80 hours to charge from a three-pin socket), then the range, performance and finish of the car are unlikely to disappoint. That is, unless Tesla, Jaguar and the forthcoming Mercedes EQ C could appeal more.

Last Updated 

Friday, February 8, 2019 - 19:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / 60,000 miles; Battery: 8 years / 100,000 miles
Boot size: 
600 litres
Width: 
1938mm
Length: 
4901mm
Height: 
1692mm
Tax: 
£0

Audi E-Tron History 

  • February 2019 The first Edition 1 versions of the e-tron go on sale: a limited run of 30 cars with extra standard equipment
  • May 2019 First deliveries of the Audi e-tron. e-tron and higher-specification Launch Edition available.

Understanding Audi E-Tron car names 

  • E-Tron
  • Trim level
    Launch Edition
  • Motor
    55
  • Driven wheels
    quattro
  • Trim level
    There are two versions of the Audi available: the standard e-tron and the e-tron Launch Edition, which includes more standard equipment.
  • Motor
    Audi uses a number to indicate how powerful a model is, and the system applies across the range, whether a vehicle is petrol-, diesel- or electric-powered. The 55 badge indicates strong performance and applies to electric cars with between 245 and 300kW of power.
  • Driven wheels
    All Audi e-tron models carry the quattro badge, indicating that the motors drive all four wheels.

Audi E-Tron Engines 

e-tron 55

There’s just one power choice for the e-tron: a pair of electric motors, which produce the equivalent of 408 horsepower (hp), which is roughly equivalent to the high-performance Porsche Macan Turbo.

Unsurprisingly, there is a price to pay for the car's 2.5 tonnes of weight, and this comes in the 0-62mph acceleration time of 5.7 seconds, which is extremely quick for a large family car, but a second slower than the Porsche.

In reality, you're unlikely to miss that performance a great deal, as the instant response from the engine (which doesn't need revving to deliver maximum power), is startlingly fast, and the acceleration is sustained to high speeds.

Even buyers upgrading from another electric car will be impressed with the e-tron's quietness, with very little wind or road noise heard at motorway speeds - but this has only been tested with the small cameras are fitted in place of side mirrors. It's not yet known how the standard mirrors will affect the acoustics.

With range anxiety - the fear of your battery running low before you reach your destination or a charging point - being one of the biggest barriers to the current take-up of EVs, the e-tron’s official 248 mile driving range will be welcome. Our test found that even driving at motorway speeds, which requires considerable power, over 200 miles is possible (although we did drive in temperatures similar to a British summer – cold weather will reduce the range).

Recharging the battery should take around 90-120 minutes using 50kW CCS chargers, the sort found at motorway service stations, or just 30 minutes for a 80% charge from a 150kW charger. These are not yet available in the UK but we should start seeing them being introduced later in the year.

Fuel

Range

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

e-tron 55 quattro

battery electric

248 miles

408hp

5.7sec

12mph

Audi E-Tron Trims 

e-tron, Launch Edition, Edition 1

No matter what version of the e-tron you choose, you'll have a car with a luxury specification that includes the three-screen dashboard, including two touchscreens; leather seats; 20in alloy wheels; air suspension; bright LED headlights and four-wheel drive.

Some increasingly common driving assistance systems are lacking as standard, though, such as adaptive cruise control to automatically adjust the car's speed to that of any vehicle ahead. It's standard on most Volkswagen Golf models - which is part of a £1,950 option pack. This is partly because it's an advanced system that uses a radar, laser and camera setup to accelerate brake and steer the car at a range of speeds from stop-start traffic to 124mph. It monitors speed signs and slows down automatically when the limit reduces.

This system is included as standard on the e-tron Launch Edition, which helps to justify the almost £11,000 premium over the standard model. This also includes the side cameras in place of mirrors, which are gimmicky, but should make the car more aerodynamic, reducing noise and increasing efficiency. Matrix LED lights can shift the car's main beam to provide maximum light without dazzling other drivers.

Higher-grade leather and a panoramic sunroof are included too, as well as the ability to cool or heat the car remotely before you get in. This is only optional on the entry-level e-tron, which will make owners feel miffed, given that this ability comes as standard on the cheapest Renault Zoe.

An extremely small production run of 30 Edition 1 cars have been built to mark the launch of the e-tron and all have been sold to buyers who put down a deposit when the car was announced. Extras include aluminium exterior styling elements (including roof rails), upgraded audio system, four-zone climate control, LED interior lighting, sports seats, sensor-controlled boot release and orange brake calipers.

Audi E-Tron Reliability and warranty 

With fewer moving parts than a standard car, there should be less to go wrong on an Audi e-tron, although the car's digital set-up does make it prone to electrical gremlins both inside the car and underneath the bonnet.

A standard three-year, 60,000 mile warranty is no better than average, but the most expensive part of the vehicle - the battery - does carry an eight-year, 100,000 mile guarantee to offer some peace of mind that a sudden failure could result in you having to remortgage your house.

The e-tron is all-new and doesn't share major parts with other cars in the range, so it's too early to tell whether it will suffer from any particular issues.

Used Audi E-Tron 

The e-tron is yet to go on sale as a new car, so used examples are not yet available.

The purchase price and the relative rarity of cars will also ensure that buyers looking for a second-hand electric vehicle bargain should look elsewhere as the e-tron won’t be a bargain for many years to come. Indeed, trade guide CAP Gold Book predicts the e-tron will be worth 62 per cent of its original purchase price after three years and 30,000 miles.

This would make the e-tron one of the best cars currently on the market at holding its value, keeping used car prices high, but potentially making finance more affordable.

Audi E-Tron Prices

300kw 55 quattro 95kwh 5dr auto

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel electric
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £66,715

You could save up to: £4845