Audi e-tron Review
The Audi e-tron electric car has a posh interior that’s also very practical. Its two electric motors give an impressive turn of speed but not the range you’d expect from a traditional petrol or diesel SUV
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Poshest interior fitted to an EV
- Spacious cabin
- Quick but relaxing to drive
What's not so good
- EV range still an issue
- No 150kWh chargers in the UK
- Feels very heavy in bends
Audi e-tron: what would you like to read next?
The Audi e-tron is the company’s first electric car – blending everything you love about a conventional Audi with zero emissions and easy, instant performance that make it ideal for town driving.
Audi is famed for its high-quality interiors and the e-tron sets a new benchmark here for electric cars. It has a hewn-from-granite feel and top-notch plastics that make the Tesla Model X seem a little bit cheap-looking.
What really catches your eye is Audi’s high-tech infotainment system that features no less than three huge screens. All of them get crystal clear graphics, while the lower dashboard touchscreen has haptic feedback that mimics pressing physical buttons. Then there are the optional rear-facing cameras that replace regular door mirrors with OLED screens on the insides of the doors.
The e-tron’s interior design might resemble the cabin of X-wing Starfighter but with four spacious seats and a big boot, it’s a lot more practical
All this clever tech is fitted to an interior that is very practical. There’s loads of room for four adults and the Audi e-tron has a huge boot that’s tall and square – making it more spacious and easier to load than the boots you’ll get in Audi saloons such as the A6 and A8.
What defines the e-tron is its two electric motors that take the place of a conventional petrol or diesel engine. With zero emissions, they mean the Audi e-tron is exempt from paying city tariffs such as the London Congestion Charge and the car’s silent running makes it extremely relaxing to travel in.
More surprising is just how quick the Audi e-tron feels. With up to 408bhp, it can get from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds, but the instant power and grippy four-wheel drive mean it feels even quicker. Factor in a variety of optional autonomous driving features and this is a safe electric car that feels as at home in the city as it does on the motorway.
It’s not all good news though, because although the Audi e-tron is quick in a straight line the huge weight of its battery makes it feel ungainly and cumbersome on tight country roads.
Its 249-mile range is also still some way off what a diesel SUV can manage. And, although you can replenish its battery from flat to 80 percent in 30 minutes using a 150kWh fast charger, there aren’t any of those in the UK. Instead, it’ll be an overnight job on a home charger.
So the e-tron still hasn’t solved all the problems that come with electric car ownership – and it isn’t as quick as a Tesla Model X – but if you’re looking for an EV that’s practical, high-tech and genuinely posh, it should be at the top of your shopping list.
The Audi e-tron has more high-tech screens than a Currys shop window, but it’s a shame they’re so tricky to use when you’re trying to focus on driving
The electric Audi e-tron has a spacious interior making it a perfect family car. There’s room for four people and their stuff, although some will want for a pair of extra seats in the boot
The e-tron’s big battery means as an option you can set the car’s air-conditioning and seats to the perfect temperature before you even get into the car
The Audi e-tron has wide comfortable front seats that make it very easy to find your perfect position, even if you aren’t quite as svelte as you once were. They offer a wide range of electrical adjustment so you can tower over other road users or hunker down in the cabin for a sportier feel. You also get four-way lumbar support for a little extra support on longer journeys.
Heated front seats come as standard and, as options, you can also have them cooled and swap the manually adjustable steering wheel for one that moves electrically – it also glides out of the way when you get in and out of the car.
Your passengers in the back do without the gadgets – they can’t even recline their seats or slide them backward and forwards like in other SUVs – but there’s not a lot else to grumble about. Access through the big rear doors is brilliant and the e-tron’s raised height makes it easy even for achy grandparents to slide into place.
Tall adults will have plenty of leg, knee and foot room, too, and you won’t knock your head off the car’s roof even if it has the optional panoramic sunroof.
Interior storage in the Audi e-tron is just as good as you’d expect in the firm’s other cars. The large door pockets will each swallow a litre bottle of water with space left over for quite a lot more and their felt lining stops smaller items rattling about over bumps.
You get two cup holders each for the front and back seats and all e-tron’s get wireless mobile phone charging. The latter comes in combination with Audi’s Phone Box which uses the car’s ariel to amplify your smartphone’s signal in places where you get poor reception.
The e-tron has a huge 605-litre boot that will happily swallow a set of suitcases plus further soft bags. The boot has plenty of handy features like tethers for holding down your luggage, hooks for keeping your shopping upright and a couple of smaller storage areas for smaller items.
You can fold the back seats into the floor by pulling a couple of levers that are conveniently located at the front of the boot. The resulting flat floor and huge boot opening make it easy to slide bulky items into place and the 1,755-litre capacity means the e-tron has plenty of space for sliding in a mountain bike with both its wheels attached.
You even get a bonus 60-litre ‘frunk’ underneath the car’s bonnet that offers just about enough room for a large soft bag.
Like all electric cars, the e-tron’s performance is instant, although with more than 400hp it feels a little more instant than most. It’s also heavier than most, though, and that hinders its cornering ability
The e-tron has the instant acceleration of a scalextric car that’s burst into life during a power surge
The Audi e-tron is powered by batteries and two electric motors that pump out up to 408hp. With one motor each on the front and rear axle, the e-tron is four-wheel drive giving you fuss free acceleration even on slippery roads.
As a result, the e-tron can whisk you silently from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 124mph, though the most basic Tesla Model X is quicker still. The Audi’s best performance only comes in eight-second bursts in ‘S’ mode though, most of the time you get 306hp and a 0-62mph of time of 6.6 seconds to help prolong battery life.
Drive sensibly and the e-tron should have a range of 249 miles, helped by regenerative brakes that recharge the battery every time you lift your foot off the accelerator. Although, it is worth noting that the Audi’s range is someway short of the 292-mile range Jaguar claims for its I-Pace.
On the bright side, the e-tron is the first production car that can be charged using 150KW fast-charging stations that mean its battery can be recharged from flat to 80 percent in 30 minutes. But, sadly, 150KW chargers are yet to reach the UK.
As a big SUV, the Audi e-tron might not look like an obvious town car, but there are many things that make it great for the city. Its silent electric motors make it a quiet car to trundle about in and their instant thrust means you can shoot into gaps when others are caught dawdling.
You don’t need to worry about being in the right gear because there is only one and with no nasty emissions, it’s free from paying additional tariffs like the London Congestion Charge. Even parking is easy because the car comes as standard with a 360-degree camera that gives you a bird’s eye view all around the car.
Unlike smaller EVs, though, the e-tron’s an electric car that works equally well when you get onto the motorway. With up to 408hp available, the Audi delivers the same vigorous acceleration as you get in town and the car’s air suspension does a better job of ironing out the road than when you’re tottering about at slower speeds.
The e-tron’s large wheels – particularly the 21-inch items on top-end versions – make a bit of thrum when you’re cruising but there’s no engine noise to speak of. The optional rear-view cameras don’t suffer from the wind noise you get with wing mirrors, either, so if you go for them there’s no need to spec the double-glazed side windows.
Better to save your money for the Tour Pack that – in addition, the standard automatic emergency brakes and lane assist – adds a variety of driving aids that mean the e-tron can more or less drive itself on the motorway and in busy traffic – as long as you keep your hands on the wheel.
With all this clever kit – not to mention the huge 700kg battery hidden under the floor – you won’t be surprised to hear that the e-tron feels heavy in bends, even for a big SUV. Its 2,490kg kerb weight means it tips the scales at 300kgs more than a Jaguar I-Pace.
As a result, the Audi can’t match the Jaguar’s relative agility in bends and turning hard in tight corners results in a lot of screeching from the front tyres. Sweeping country A-roads suit the e-tron better because it’s less prone to plowing through fast bends and the four-wheel drive means you can zap from one corner to the next at a fair rate of knots. That said, too much of this will see your 250-mile range drop like a stone. Towing will have a similar effect but it’s worth noting that the e-tron can haul a 1,800kg trailer if you need it to.