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 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.
The e-tron has the instant acceleration of a scalextric car that’s burst into life during a power surge
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.