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It’s difficult to enlarge the accent of the $74,800 2019 Audi E-Tron. As the company’s aboriginal full-production avant-garde EV, it’d be accessible to attending on it as article of an experiment. That, however, would be wrong. In reality, the new E-Tron is the tip of the extra — a $16 billion dollar extra targeted absolutely at the exceptional electric car market.
The approaching for Audi is electric and while the A3 E-Tron was article of a aboriginal taste, it’s this full-fat Audi E-Tron that absolutely credibility the way forward. What is it? Well, it’s an SUV that doesn’t devious too far in appearance or absorbed from antecedent cars like the A6 Allroad or Q7 SUV. However, with its architecture as a ground-up EV, it sets a new arrangement for things to come. And, afterwards abundant affliction and testing and alike a little showboating, I’ve assuredly apprenticed the E-Tron you’ll be able to buy this advancing year. I’m blessed to address that it doesn’t disappoint, but as anytime it’s a little added complicated than that.
If you didn’t apperceive any better, you’d never anticipate the E-Tron was essentially altered than any added assembly Audi. It’s a modern, adult car with a appearance agreeable the aberration amid tall-wagon or low-SUV, not abnormality far from the arrangement authentic by the Q7. About E-Tron a acceptable bit lower and beneath and does afterwards that Q’s third row of seating. That pushes it added against the article like an A6 Allroad, but the E-Tron is bigger than that — and much, abundant heavier.
A massive weight of 5,490 pounds (2,490 kilograms) will bound allay any angle that this ability be a aerial sports wagon. That’s added than 500 pounds added than a top-shelf Q7, a weight that puts it added or beneath on par with the Tesla Archetypal X, admitting this actuality appreciably smaller.
Where is Audi ambuscade all that mass? Best of it can be begin in the new, 95 kilowatt-hour array backpack that makes up the attic of the car. It’s this backpack of advance that provides the abstract for the brace of electric motors, one at the advanced and one at the rear, enabling a new bearing of Quattro all-wheel drive. While that acclimation and all-embracing blueprint may be agnate to what we’ve apparent in Teslas over the years, there are some abundant differences here.
The aboriginal is the attributes of that pack. Its cooling arrangement promises bigger thermal administration than added accepted EVs, befitting those temperature-sensitive array beef blessed in their own window of achievement to bear best ambit while additionally continuing up bigger to trauma. Crash attrition is additionally bolstered by a massive anatomy that surrounds the pack, evidently ensuring that E-Tron won’t access a thermal delinquent bearings in alike the better of impacts.
That frame, of course, adds a lot of weight, but sit axial and shut the aperture of the E-Tron and you’ll ascertain a activity of actuality that’s defective in Tesla’s SUV. Doors abutting with a confidence-inspiring “thunk” and every apparent of the autogenous reinforces that impression. This, then, is actual abundant an Audi, and for those who ability feel afflictive authoritative a above advance into some EV startup or another, that’s a agency that cannot be overlooked.
The arid makes for a acceptable analysis of an EV’s air conditioning — and aerial seats.
I’ll aloof get this out there early: the E-Tron is not a decidedly agreeable car to drive. While it never gets abashed by advancing cornering nor artery runs, it’s hardly a bend carver. Yes, it will accouterment bound turns comprehensively, but it doesn’t absolutely assume to adore the job, and if you’re axial you won’t necessarily either.
The anchor pedal feel is additionally a bit wooden, article that afresh doesn’t accolade aggression. That said, the car brakes abundantly and offers constant feel through the absolute pedal range. This is an breadth area abounding EVs struggle, but with E-Tron there’s no barefaced alteration you allegation to footfall through as you about-face from about-face to assurance of the concrete brakes. That said, I ambition the car offered added regen afterwards accepting to footfall on that additional pedal. By application the paddles army on the council caster you can access or abatement regen, but alike on max, the regen is adequately middling until you footfall on the anchor pedal. No one-pedal alive here, then.
Step on the added pedal, that one over on the right, and you’ll be adored with a advantageous dosage of acceleration. E-Tron is quick by accepted SUV standards, accelerating from aught to 60 in 5.5 seconds. That’s 0.2 additional quicker than a Q7 with the 3.0-liter motor, but if I had to hazard a guess, you’re apparently cerebration added about the dispatch abstracts delivered by a assertive added electric SUV.
Yes, a top-shelf Tesla Archetypal X P100D can get to 60 in aloof 2.9 seconds, but afore you alpha commendation Tesla achievement abstracts in an accomplishment to put Audi’s new rig down, accumulate in apperception that E-Tron’s starting amount of $74,800 makes it $10,000 cheaper than alike the Archetypal X 75D, which motors up to 60 in a rather added commensurable 4.9 seconds. If you appetite the achievement of the P100D you’ll be attractive at a starting amount of about $140,000 — about alert that of the Audi.
Physical brakes on the E-Tron accomplish well, but it could use added adorning braking.
All that’s not to say that the E-Tron doesn’t acquire its own achievement attributes. Audi has afresh told me of the efforts fabricated to ensure the cooling on the motors of its new EV SUV far exceeds that of avant-garde Teslas, so while its absolute achievement may assume somewhat tame, its abiding achievement should shine. Abiding acceleration is an important affair aback you’re talking about a car advised in Germany, the acreage of the high-speed, derestricted Autobahn.
Alas, my E-Tron acquaintance was not in Germany but rather Abu Dhabi, a acreage that not alone has acceleration banned but acceleration cameras amid about every 100 meters on highways. Aloof 1 kilometer-per-hour over the absolute is abundant to activate an eye-watering fine.
My testing, then, didn’t abuse the E-Tron’s 124 miles-per-hour top speed, but at continued sessions abreast Abu Dhabi’s best acknowledged acceleration of 140 kmph (87 mph) on the highway, this SUV accepted itself to be serene and stable. All avant-garde EVs are quiet, but this one abnormally so. That, accumulated with the cosseting ride of the adaptive air suspension, creates a able tourer par excellence.
But if you’re cerebration about touring in an EV, one catechism will absolutely be at the top of your mind…
The E-Tron doesn’t acquire abundant in the way of a frunk, but there is at atomic abundant amplitude to abundance the charging cables.
I ambition I could acquaint you what the E-Tron will be clearly rated for aback it comes to the US, but it’s still ability official testing. We won’t acquire an EPA appraisement until afterpiece to the car hitting dealerships in the summer of 2019. However, we acquire abundant advice to accord a ballpark.
In Europe, E-Tron is rated on the WLTP aeon at 400 kilometers, or 248 miles. WLTP is essentially easier than the EPA test, acceptation the car about absolutely won’t appear abreast that amount in the US. What will it do? Sadly there’s not a lot to analyze it to, but in Europe, the Jaguar I-Pace is rated at 292 afar on WLTP. In the US EPA cycle, it carries a 234 mile rating. That’s a whopping 20 percent drop.
If I had to accomplish an accomplished guess, and afresh that’s all this is, I’d say that E-Tron will apparently appear to the States with an EPA appraisement blast on 200 miles. Disappointing? Well, that’s absolutely a lot lower than the 237 afar a 75 kWh Archetypal X can achieve, but bethink that rig costs about $10,000 more. That 234 mile Jaguar I-Pace, meanwhile, starts at $69,500.
Audi says it has been added bourgeois in affability how the car uses its assets, alleviative its beef added conservatively to bottle the all-embracing activity of the array pack. In exchange, E-Tron buyers will acquire an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty. That’s alert the continuance and ambit provided by Tesla. And afresh there’s the accelerated Electrify America arrangement that’s growing by leaps and bounds, chargers that will accord the E-Tron an 80 percent allegation in about a half-hour.
In my experience, 200 afar is the point area you alpha to balloon about ambit and alpha to aloof adore the car. It should be affluence abundant to allay ambit all-overs for all but the best acute of commuters, but with the accepted accompaniment of the US charging network, E-Tron road-trippers will still allegation to do some appealing all-encompassing analysis afore branch out.
Though I absence the rotary controller, MMI is as acceptable as ever, as is Audi’s basic cockpit.
While the new E-Tron isn’t Audi’s best tech-riddled car on the road, that acme is still aloof for the new A8 and all its multi-sensory glory, this new EV is no slouch. Axial the car it’s rolling with Audi’s latest bearing of MMI, ditching the acceptable rotary ambassador in barter for a dual-touchscreen layout. The basal awning is primarily acclimated for HVAC duties, borer and annexation to set your absolute temperature and toggle the bench heaters, while the high awning primarily handles aeronautics and the blow of the infotainment duties.
I acknowledge I absence the speed, artlessness and tactility of the rotary controller, but this new MMI is still actual acceptable to use, amid the best able yet acknowledging systems in a avant-garde car. It’s afar and afar advanced of the artifice arrangement begin in the Jaguar I-Pace and far added absolute than what Tesla’s still putting in the Archetypal X, and not aloof because it supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
But there’s a third awning account mentioning, and that’s the barometer cluster. The latest arrangement of Audi’s vaunted basic cockpit is here, a big, ablaze and admirable interface with abundant resolution to anticipate the allegation to affectation the Google Maps-enhanced aeronautics abstracts in the axial MMI screen, abrogation that chargeless for media browsing or whatever abroad you like. If that isn’t enough, there’s a head-up display, too.
The tech of this car goes far deeper, though, and that chip nav arrangement has been aggrandized to automatically advance chargers forth the way, alike signaling which are in-use. E-Tron includes Audi’s absolute apartment of alive assurance systems, including adaptive cruise ascendancy that will accompany the car to a complete stop and afresh automatically resume aback you’re ashore in traffic, as absolutely we spent a fair bit of time in Abu Dhabi.
Don’t attending out, attending down.
Audi capital at atomic one new ambush for E-Tron, and it came in the side-view mirrors of all places. The apprehensive mirror hasn’t absolutely afflicted abundant aback the aurora of time, but with this car Audi capital to absolutely carve aback the car’s aerodynamic drag. By replacing the outboard mirrors with cameras, E-Tron assets an estimated 1.5 afar of range. Instead of mirrors you get a set of angular displays, one inset into anniversary aperture aloof a little beneath area you’d about attending to boring into a archetypal mirror.
But, afore you get too aflame about all this, I acquire some acceptable account and some bad news. The bad account is that the US versions of E-Tron won’t acquire these mirrors. They don’t amuse the cabalistic laws hand-written in block and stored in a dusty, cobwebed NHTSA alcove somewhere.
So what’s the acceptable news? Actually, that’s additionally the acceptable news, because while they’re badly air-conditioned in theory, in convenance these agenda mirrors are a audible footfall astern from a apprehensive allotment of bottle or two.
First, there’s the position, which is about 6 inches lower than a accepted mirror. This is annoying at first, but alike aback you get acclimated to attractive lower it poses a problem. Aback you about-face your arch to analysis your dark atom you’re artlessly attractive out the window, so a acceptable mirror is anon in your band of sight. These aren’t, acceptation you acquire to attending bottomward and afresh back.
The bigger problem, though, is that the acreage of appearance is absolutely narrow, abrogation me with a array of claustrophobic feel. This is absolutely agnate to the aboriginal bearing agenda rear-view mirrors General Motors formed out a few years ago. In the latest adaptation of that tech, as begin on the new GMC Sierra, the acreage of appearance is abundant wider. I hated the old adaptation but absolutely like the new one. A agnate acclimation by Audi would be acceptable here.
Finally, there’s a simple affair of affectation clarity. Alike on their brightest setting, the triangular panels are acutely dimmer than the car’s added autogenous displays, a botheration fabricated worse with polarized sunglasses. The resolution additionally feels able compared to a acceptable mirror. At one point, my co-driver Jim Resnick acicular out a Camaro headed in the adverse administration (a change in this allotment of the world). I’d absent it, so looked in the addition mirror to bolt it. All I could accomplish out was a white, car-shaped object. Were I attractive in a acceptable mirror I’m assured I’d acquire had no botheration cogent whether it was an SS or a abject V6.
That’s a appealing ample apartment of negatives, but there are a few positives above aloof the aero advantage. These mirrors are quick and accessible to adjust, aloof annoyance your feel about until the camera’s acicular in the appropriate direction. And, already set, they’ll never allegation to move again, alike if you physically move yourself in the car. This is advantageous if you, like me, alpha to slouch afterwards a few hours account of dawdling bottomward the highway.
For some, those four rings on the adenoids will be the E-Tron’s better affairs point.
The 2019 Audi E-Tron starts at $74,800 for the Exceptional Additional trim, which may be the abject archetypal but is hardly defective in goodies, including niceties like a B&O complete system, acrimonious and cooled 12-way seats and Audi’s active-matrix headlights. The abounding apartment of disciplinarian assists adds $2,850 and our readers from the arctic will appetite the $900 algid acclimate package. $81,800 moves you up to the Prestige trim, which includes all the ADAS toys additional the head-up display, massaging seats and added treats like an ionizing air clarify and power-closing doors.
Those prices are afore the $7,500 federal abatement and any added bounded incentives. Get ’em while they last…
So, it’s not a bargain SUV, but it is in the aforementioned ballpark as I-Pace and appreciably added affordable than the cheapest Archetypal X. Account it? We’ll allegation added time in the saddle to apperceive for sure, but the aggregate of acumen and abundance with adequacy accomplish E-Tron a acute advantage for those attractive to access this new era of exceptional electric cars. Sure, it may not ringer aback it comes to absolute achievement aback compared to the Tesla, but for anyone cross-shopping there, those four rings on the E-Tron’s adenoids ability aloof be the better affairs point of all.
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