TO E OR NOT TO E? (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Audi's e-tron shows its rivals how to do a fully electric large SUV. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 55
Audi's first full electric car, the e-tron, is a technological 'tour de force'. This battery-powered large SUV takes the best bits from the brand's conventional Crossovers and blends them with next-level electrification technology. There's a beautiful cabin and we're even promised engaging driving dynamics. What's not to like? The price? Well you can't have everything.
Backgroundword count: 138
Wisely perhaps, Audi has taken its time in creating its first fully electric car. Ingolstadt has sat and watched others battle with inferior battery technology. Only now has it acted to try and redefine the standard when it comes to this kind of BEV and the result is the Audi e-tron. Unsurprisingly, it's an SUV, an obvious genre choice, first because that's what the world's most lucrative markets now most want these days - and second because a Crossover's high-set practical body shape provides plenty pf space to squirrel away all the electrified engineering without it intruding into passenger room in the cabin. The liquid-cooled 95kWh lithium-ion battery in the '55 quattro' variant delivers a WLTP-rated 249 miles of range and the e-tron drives, Audi says, like a car, not some kind of automotive appliance. Which is nice.
Engines and Tech Specword count: 236
Electric cars may have come on quite a lot since you last looked. With this one, there's a choice of two variants; a 71kWh '50 quattro' entry-level model and the 95kWh '55 quattro' derivative that most will choose - the version we tried. Here, you get an electric driveline with two asynchronous motors, one up-front with 181bhp and the other at the rear with 221bhp. They're electronically linked and together deliver 4WD and a prodigious power output of 402bhp. Mind you, that's only on offer in the performance-orientated 'Boost' mode that would decimate the WLTP-rated 249 mile driving range if you frequently replicated the 0-62mph time of 5.7s or approached the claimed top speed of 124mph. The development team just about managed to get this car to lap the infamous 20.8km Nurburgring Nordschleife race track twice at full tilt. It's much more realistic to think of driving in 'Normal' mode, which sees overall power drop to 350bhp - still enough to get you to 62mph in 6.4s. Not bad for a car that tips the scales at nearly 2.5-tonnes. Air suspension's standard and the ride height can be adjusted, with the 'Efficiency' mode lowering it by 27mm and 'Off-road' mode (yes, there is one) raising the car by 52mm. The steering's Q5-derived, while much of the suspension uses Q7 bits. As with other electric cars, the low centre of gravity should help in reducing body roll.
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Category: Hybrid or Electric Cars
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