On the road
Even though the 50 quattro is the entry grade, it’s exceptionally quick off the mark, hitting 100kmh in just 6.8 seconds, according to Audi. Like the Tesla Model 3 we tested last year, the base e-tron offers more than enough straight-line performance for a driving enthusiast. But if you feel you need even more, the 55 quattro is the pick.
The e-tron maintains its pace on challenging roads with twisty sections and steep ascents. The dual motors combine for remarkable, linear performance. Of course, constant full-throttle acceleration isn’t the best way to save on battery range. Thankfully if range is the priority you can switch the Drive Mode Select between Comfort, Dynamic and Efficiency. Dynamic improved response further but we couldn’t detect any other changes.
The 2.5-tonne EV handles like a more compact and nimble vehicle – something of an Audi SUV trait. Everything from the new Q3 to the large Q7 and Q8 are all dynamically capable. The all-wheel-drive e-tron hugs bends even when on loose road edges, and there is zero lateral movement. The impressive suspension setup includes a damping tune that’s geared towards comfort, making for a calm and rewarding ride. The thick tyres also help keep out nasty ruts and bumps. It’s as compliant on a crumby country backroad as it is on a smooth urban street.
EVs emit little noise when you’re moving, save for tyre noise, and the e-tron’s hushed cabin is well insulated from outside intrusions.
From when we collected it to when we dropped it off three days later, the available range had dropped by 180 kilometres, but the odometer had us doing 152 kilometres. That difference in kilometres is understandable given we pushed the e-tron hard during testing. We could have achieved better economy during a week of regular commuting. The official driving range of 336 kilometres is dependent on performance, weather and road conditions, and vehicle load.
In comparison, the Benz EQC’s range is 353 kilometres, the Jaguar I-Pace is 470 kilometres and the Tesla Model X starts at 561 kilometres.
Given our brief loan period, we didn’t test the charging time or capabilities, but we noted that the e-tron has a charge port on both sides of the car, which is useful.
According to Audi, the e-tron 50 quattro can be charged from zero to 100 per cent battery capacity in 36 hours using a regular 10A household power point, seven hours with an 11kW home wall charger, and about an hour and 25 minutes with a 50kW fast-charging station. Audi is offering the e-tron with six years’ free charging using the Chargefox public network.