Striking to look at, beautiful to drive and green – if only it wasn’t so expensive writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? Hot on the heels of the Jaguar’s I-Pace, Audi’s first pure electric car, the e-tron 55 Quattro has been eagerly awaited since the covers first came off the concept at the Shanghai motor show back in 2017. The all-wheel-drive SUV boasts a 248 miles range, a maximum towing capacity of 1,800 kilograms and a new generation of the Quattro drive.
Styling? The design is, sharp, clean and subtle; unmistakably Audi.
Under the bonnet? Two electric motors that can deliver up to 300 kW allow the SUV to accelerate from rest to 60mph in 5.7 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of some 200kph.
What about inside? Inside it is driver-centric and exudes the level of stylishness and luxury one might expect from the cabin of an Audi. The ‘Virtual Cockpit’ instrument binnacle screen and the button-free uncluttered cabin is familiar from the latest A6. Larger than the Q5, the e-tron comfortably seats five and still has plenty of room for storage and family accoutrements with a generous 600-litre boot.
On the road? Once behind the wheel, it’s instantly clear that the appeal of this car is more than simply emission-free motoring. It drives like an Audi and is even more fun than you might expect. Steering is precise and it is beautifully refined.
What about the range? But it’s not all good news, Audi claims that the e-tron can cover more than 391km on a single charge, but the range is probably the most disappointing aspect of the car. Various driver modes allow for different driving styles but set the dial to Dynamic and the range begins to quickly disappear and you will struggle to achieve anything close to the quoted range. Reassuringly using a fast-charger you can recharge to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes but if charging at home it will take overnight. And for convenience, the e-tron has three charging points, one DC and two AC, positioned on both sides of the car.
And safety? The E-tron scored five stars when tested this year by the EuroNCAP and an impressive 91% for Adult Occupancy and 85% for child.
Will it break the bank? Pricing for the E-tron starts at £70,805 which includes four-year service and delivery.
So the verdict? The Etron is one of a host of new models that competes on luxury and is designed to rival Jaguar’s I-Pace and future models like the Porsche Taycan and Mercedes-Benz EQC. Striking to look at and simply beautiful to drive the E-tron is a great car but it could be better, its let down by an unreliable range and an eye-watering price. But if you crave a bit of exclusivity and a clear conscience you might find this new Audi very tempting.
Why you’ll buy one? Smooth, Stylish, Silent
Why you won’t? Range, very pricey
Audi e-tron 55 quattro
Battery: Lithium-ion / 95 with 265kw 300 bhp
Max speed: 124 mph
0-60: 5.7 seconds
Model price range: Starting Price: £70,805
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 5
Range: Up to 248 miles
Drive Type: All wheel drive
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 660 (1725 litres)
Wheelbase : 2928mm
24th June 2019