Pros: Style and presence, impressive cabin tech, relaxing electric drive
Cons: Expensive, less range than rivals
Audi’s new electric SUV has officially arrived in Ireland and it is fastbecoming a top-searched electric model on Carzone. The e-tron rivals other premium electric SUVs such as Tesla’s Model X, the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQC. With understated presence, up to 391 kilometres of range, a premium cabin and Audi's latest and greatest technology at its core, the e-tron is a competitive new option in the premium electric class. We recently spent a week with the e-tron on Irish roads to see what it’s like to live with and how it compares to the best electric models on the market right now
The e-tron has lots of presence from the outside, especially in this vibrant Galaxy Blue paint scheme
Unlike the Tesla Model X or Jaguar I-Pace, the e-tron doesn't try to stand out from the crowd as an electric model. It is a combination of the Audi Q5 and Q7 SUVs in terms of size and style, with defining features including striking LED headlights and charging ports on either side for easy access. The e-tron’s side profile is sleek and sporty, while the standard adaptive air suspension system allows you to raise and lower the ride height at the touch of a button. A striking LED brake light cluster runs across the rear of the e-tron and it looks superb at night time. A standard, the e-tron is equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels and black roof rails, while our test car is finished in an eye-catching Galaxy Blue paint scheme.
The e-tron boasts a rear LED light strip which is particularly striking at night time, along with an electric tailgate as standard
Stepping inside, the e-tron is suitably premium with one of the highest grade interiors in its class. The driver’s area is dominated by Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system and two further touch screens in the centre console for controlling infotainment and heating. The system offers intuitive layouts and haptic feedback when you touch buttons, while Audi’s smartphone interface offers seamless connectivity. The driving position is immensely comfortable and offers a commanding view of the road. The front seats are sporty and electrically adjustable with lots of lower back support, while they are heated as standard for cold morning starts. The e-tron is spacious throughout with enough room to seat tall adults comfortably, although legroom in the middle rear seat is somewhat restricted.
The cabin feels suitably premium with high grade materials throughout, ambient lighting and several vibrant touch screen displays
Although the e-tron is less practical than the Audi Q7, it is still spacious inside with various areas to stow away items, including a large binnacle underneath the driver’s armrest and sizeable door bins. As the e-tron’s battery cells are located underneath the floor of the rear passenger area, boot space is notably better than the Mercedes-Benz EQC, with 605 litres of room and a flat-loading floor. Drop the rear seats down and this increases to 1,755 litres, which is plentiful for carrying flat-pack furniture or other bulky items. What’s more, there is an area underneath the boot floor with additional storage space, while charging cables can be stored in a compartment beneath the bonnet. Family buyers will be pleased by the e-tron’s full five star Euro NCAP rating and it also features ISOFIX mounts on all seats, although it is isn’t available with seven seats like the Tesla Model X.
The e-tron serves up lots of comfort from the driving seat with a wide range of electric seat and steering wheel adjustment
The e-tron is powered by a 95kWh battery and a pair of electric motors with a combined output of 402 horsepower and Audi’s variable Quattro all-wheel-drive system. This means it can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 5.7 seconds and it accelerates swiftly despite its weight and size. It’s smooth and quiet on the move, with an unusual airplane-style gear leaver and several different driving modes to choose from, including efficient, dynamic and off-road modes. This adjusts the power delivery accordingly, preserves battery life and raises and lowers the e-tron's ride height depending on the setting. The e-tron weighs in at almost 2.5 tonne which means it is quite lofty during cornering in tight turns, although it offers lots of grip from the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. While it isn’t quite as fast as rivals such as the Tesla Model S or Jaguar I-Pace, the e-tron offers more than enough perfornance for daily driving.
The e-tron is very relaxing to drive with acoustic glazing as standard and minimal cabin noise on the move, courtesy of the silent electric motors
Charging and range:
The Audi e-tron offers 391 kilometres of range from a single charge, which is somewhat less than the Mercedes-Benz EQC (420 kilometres), Tesla's Model X (507 kilometres) and the Jaguar I-Pace (470 kilometres). That said, we found range the e-tron's general power consumption to be highly accurate, even in cold conditions and driving at different speeds. It supports rapid charging at the new IONITY charging network which will include six locations around Ireland, meaning the battery can be charged from empty to full in around 50 minutes on a 150 kilowatt station. The e-tron can also be charged at home via a domestic socked or a specially fitted wall box charger.
The e-tron's 95kWh battery offers up to 391 kilometres of range on a single charge and we found power consumption to be very accurate during our test
Prices and features:
Prices for the Audi e-tron start from just under €99,810 excluding the SEAI grant for electric cars and Government VRT rebate. The e-tron commands a premium price tag in similar fashion to the Tesla Model X and Mercedes EQC, athough it is equipped with a huge specification as standard. This includes 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air-suspension, Audi’s connect system with a three year subscription, Audi’s virtual cockpit system, electric front sports seats, an electric tailgate, LED headlights, MMI navigation, leather and alcantara upholstery and lots more. The e-tron scores well in terms of safety, with a suite of safety systems as standard including active lane assist, pre-sense city and basic to mention a few.
Prices for the e-tron start from €99,810 excluding grants
Carzone verdict: 4/5
Audi’s first electric SUV is an enticing package, with understated and sleek styling, a premium cabin and high efficiency to its name. Unlike its rivals, the e-tron doesn’t flaunt its electric roots, which is a good thing. What’s more, it has a hugely impressive cabin with slick touch screen technology and enough room to ferry four adults. That said, it demands a premium price tag, while it faces stiff competition from Tesla, Mercedes, Jaguar and other emerging electric car rivals. Over its competition, the e-tron offers subtlety, sophistication and real-world SUV abilities.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Audi e-tron Sport 55 Quattro 265kw
Prices from: €99,810 (excluding VRT rebate and SEAI grants)
Annual Motor Tax: €120
Motor: Dual electric-motor with long-range 95kWh battery