Audi’s first all-electric model, the e-tron SUV, will cost from £70,805 in the UK. Although officially due to go on sale early next year, interested buyers can put down a £1,000 deposit to secure ‘priority’ access. First customer deliveries are due in the spring.
The e-tron is a 4.9-metre SUV that’s designed to sit between the Q5 and Q7. You can see influences from the likes of the Q8, but there are unique e-tron touches such as a flush grille and, more radically, cameras that replace the regular side mirrors.
Its shape is relatively conventional, though – a reflection of customer feedback, according to lead exterior designer Stephan Fahr-Becker. He said: “In the clinics the customers asked us, ‘Can we just have a nice-looking electric vehicle?’ If we’d ended up with something that looked like a stranded whale, nobody would have been ready for it.”
The e-tron will have a pair of electric motors, one on each axle. The front unit has 168bhp and the rear 188bhp, and they can offer a combined ‘boost’ output of 402bhp for up to 10 seconds. Audi isn’t mentioning weight, beyond saying that the e-tron will be over two tonnes – but the motors are strong enough to take the car from 0-62mph in less than six seconds, and on to 124mph.
As the e-tron is designed to be a long-distance EV, Audi says it should deliver at least 248 miles on the tougher WLTP test cycle. The car features brake-by-wire tech that interprets pedal inputs and then chooses how best to slow the vehicle – using the motors to recuperate energy, or the conventional pads and discs.
The level of recuperation can also be adjusted using paddles behind the steering wheel. Technical programme manager Dr Andreas Klem told us: “In the test cars, I find that I go for the strongest recuperation in town, because it’s very relaxing. Then I back it off a couple of stages for highways and motorways.”
The charging set-up is particularly neat. The driver’s side gets a flap that folds down smoothly, in a piece of pure theatre, to reveal a DC port that’s capable of 150kW charging – enough to get the car back up to 80 per cent of charge in less than half an hour.
Audi will also offer a couple of options for home, and should your parking layout require it, you’ll be able to spec a second AC-only charger on the passenger side, to make access easier.
Inside, the e-tron looks set to deliver typical SUV practicality. There’s room for five adults, and the 60-litre waterproof area below the bonnet takes load capacity to a useful 660 litres. Lowering the rear seats increases this to 1,725 litres.
Those mirror cameras will be optional, but they’re estimated to add just 2km to the car’s range. They display their info to OLED touchscreens integrated in the door panels, which can be used to fine-tune the angle, too. Kerb cameras and a wider angle for motorways are also included.
Just one version of the e-tron will be offered in UK showrooms at launch, although we’re soon likely to see sport-themed S line and fully loaded Vorsprung editions.
There will also be styling packs, and you’ll be able to choose between 19, 20 and 21-inch wheels – with 22-inch rims available once Audi Sport launches its take on the car.
Which all-electric SUV would you choose, the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace or Tesla Model X?