Audi e-tron review (2020): Best premium all-electric SUV?

The Audi e-tron was first unveiled back in 2015 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where it went into production three years later. The all-electric SUV was and is still aimed at those looking to keep their carbon footprint down to a minimum, all while basking in luxury.

The 2020 model of the 55 quattro that we have on review, taps more into the vehicle’s 95 kWh battery – taking usable capacity from 83.6 kWh up to 86.5 kWh, which bolsters its all-electric range from 222-259 miles to 227-271 miles on the WLTP test cycle.

If you’d prefer to watch a review of the Audi e-tron, visit our YouTube channel.

Audi e-tron price & competition

The e-tron starts from £59,885 for the 230 kW (308 hp) Technik 50 quattro and stretches all the way up to the 300 kW (402 hp) Vorsprung 55 quattro that’ll set you back £92,785 without the optional extras.

The latter model adds a larger battery pack and a more powerful motor. The 55-line that starts from £70,785 offers 300 kW (402 hp) of power with 664 Nm of torque and a quoted driving range of 231-254 miles. The cheaper 50-line has a smaller motor that outputs 230 kW (308 hp) of power and 540 Nm of torque, all while lasting 178-198 miles on a single charge.

Audi e-tron style

The Technik 55 quattro on review has numerous options taking its tally up to £84,855; these are as follows:

  • Floret Silver metallic paint: £750
  • 21″ 9.5J 15-spoke alloy wheels: £950.00
  • Power door closure: £675
  • Head-up display: £1,450
  • Tour pack: £1,950.00
  • HD Matrix LED headlights with dynamic front & rear indicators: £1,350
  • Storage package: £125
  • Privacy glass: £475
  • Acoustic glazing side windows: £525
  • Comfort & sound pack: £1,895
  • Electric steering column: £425
  • Panoramic glass sunroof: £1,475
  • Aluminium roof rails: £425
  • 4-zone deluxe air conditioning: £825

We’ll touch upon each of these options throughout our review.

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When it comes to its competitors, there are a number of other premium all-electric SUVs to consider, such as the Mercedes EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model X that start from £64,925, £65,195 and £82,980, respectively. The Tesla’s base model (Long Range) offers 314 miles of range and is configurable in a seven-seater variant for an additional £3,400.

Audi e-tron rear

If you’re not too fussed about the badge that’s stuck at the front and back of the vehicle, you might want to consider these all electric SUVs: the budget £25,495 MG ZS EV; the incredible Kia e-Niro that starts £29,595, although, you’ll most likely be interested in the £33,850 variant boasts a larger battery pack (180 miles up to 282 miles), and likewise, the Hyundai Kona Electric that starts from £30,150 but the £35,900 variant adds that much-needed range.

Read next: Government car grant for electric cars: A complete guide on the PICG

Audi e-tron exterior review

The e-tron’s steep price tag is imminently apparent as soon one sets their eyes on the vehicle. From the exterior, Audi’s all-electric SUV is both futuristic and sporty-looking. At the front, its large-sized grille fits with the sheer size of the vehicle; the SUV measures 4901mm in length, is 1935mm wide excluding its mirrors, and has a height of 1629mm including the roof-mounted aerial.

From the side, our model comes fitted with £950 21″ 9.5J 15-spoke alloy wheels, which give the car a sporty profile. As standard, however, the e-tron has 20” 9.0J 5-spoke alloys that give it a more subdued look, instead.

Around the back, the SUV is reminiscent of a vehicle from the future. The vehicle’s sleek taillight stretches across the boot lid. There are no fake exhausts outlets either, which make for a welcome sign for those who dislike Audi’s imitation on its other vehicles.

Elsewhere, our model came equipped with the £1,350 HD Matrix LED headlight system, which adds dynamic front and rear indicators. The option also reduces the risk of dazzling other road users, whereby it dynamically adjusts its front beam.

When it comes to paint, ‘Brilliant Black’ – a solid colour – comes as standard. The following metallic paint finishes add £750 to the final bill: Galaxy Blue, Typhoon Grey, Catalunya Red, Glacier White, Mythos Black, Siam Beige and the pictured Floret Silver. You can also opt for a £3,400 exclusive Audi paint finish, too.

Read next: What is an EV? Everything you need to know about hybrid and electric vehicles

Audi e-tron interior review

Step inside and you’ll find the e-tron oozes quality. From the vehicle’s comprehensive steering wheel and its futuristic gear selector to its lavish-looking dashboard trim. While there are a few plastic panels dotted around the cabin, the overall look and feel is luxurious.

Audi e-tron cabin

The 10.1″ infotainment display takes centre stage on the e-tron’s dashboard; through it, you can tweak your vehicle’s settings. The screen is extremely responsive and makes it easy to navigate Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) interface. Better still, it emits haptic feedback when pressed, meaning you get a feel of the settings you’re altering; a small but much-appreciated touch to the display’s practicality.

The same could be said about the 8.6″ display that resides under it. The smaller panel is dedicated to climate controls. Here, you’ll be able to change the fan speed, temperature and initiate the front-heated seats, which come as standard on both the 50 and 55 quattro.

Move up to the instrument cluster, and there’s a customisable 12″ panel that resides behind the steering wheel. It’s bright, gives you all the information you require and is comprehensively laid out, whereby it shows your power usage, range, and speed among other things.

Read next: Volkswagen e-up! review (2020): A bite-sized electric car

For an additional £1,450, you can add a head-up display, which shows key driving information without you having to take your eyes off the road. Here it’ll display your speed, indicate if you have safety assistant systems enabled – such as lane-keep assist as part of the £1,950 Tour Pack option – and display speed warnings among other things.

Keeping with the theme of technology, the e-tron supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, whereby you can connect a compatible smartphone with the MMI interface via one of the two USB slots found by the centre console. You can also connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, which unlike most of its competitors, is refreshing to see the inclusion of the AAC codec alongside SBC. The former transmits superior quality audio over Bluetooth and is the preferred choice for iOS users.

When it comes to audio, our e-tron comes equipped with the 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, which outputs 705 watts of total power; this is namely due to the inclusion of a subwoofer that is housed under the boot floor at the rear of the vehicle. If you’d like to know how it performs, watch our dedicated review of the audio system on YouTube.

As part of the £1,895 Comfort and Sound Pack, you’ll also find 360° cameras, advanced keyless entry and customisable multi-coloured LED interior lighting.

In terms of practicality, the centre console has a retractable cover that reveals two cupholder spaces. Also here, you’ll find a wireless smartphone charger that doubles up as a holder and a 12V cigarette lighter. Further down, there’s a small compartment to store your valuables but bear in mind that large-sized purses, for example, won’t fit in here.

Read next: MG ZS EV review: An affordable all-electric SUV

Audi e-tron storage review

Speaking of storage, there’s ample amount of space on each of the Audi e-tron’s four doors. A 500ml bottle of water can reside next to larger-sized items with ease, while at the back, a collapsable middle seat reveals two cupholders and a plush storage compartment.

If you don’t have a fifth occupant and want to transport elongated items, such as a few pair of skis, the entire fifth seat and be brought down to help facilitate you transporting larger goods.

It’s at the back, however, where the Audi e-tron really shines. Its rear boot reveals 660 litres of space and if there are only two occupants in the vehicle, with the seats down you’ll find yourself with a remarkable 1,725 litres. There’s even a 60-litre front storage compartment, which allows you to conveniently stow away the vehicle’s charging cables or additional luggage. It’s extremely spacious.

Read next: MG ZS EV Exclusive audio review: Impressive 3D surround sound

Audi e-tron comfort review

One could also associate this with both headroom and legroom across all five seats. 6-foot (182cm) individuals will fit with ease and those who are even taller won’t feel cramped either. The two front seats are electronically adjustable, too.

The only issue is that the e-tron is limited to five seats only. Larger-sized families might look toward the Tesla Model X, which can be customised in a six or seven-seater variant, instead.

As for seat comfort, it’s perfect. Be it on short drives along country roads or longer motorway cruising, all five seats will keep you planted without making your lower back wish it was sitting on a comfy sofa, instead.

Elsewhere, the £1,475 panoramic glass sunroof option adds a lot of additional ambient light into the cabin, which is a welcome sign in a country like the UK. The £475 privacy glass option also gives rear occupants a little more peace of mind knowing they can’t be easily seen from the exterior of the cabin.

Audi e-tron sunroof light

The most notable aspect of the car’s comfort comes in form of its sheer quietness. Here, the £525 acoustic glazed side windows help reduce cabin noise. Without the option, there’s still minimal road noise that peers through from the wheels and little wind noise that can be heard deflecting off the A-pillars. It’s reminiscent of the serene interior cabin of the Audi A8 L TFSIe, which we previously reviewed here at TotallyEV.

Read next: Audi A8 L TFSIe review: The best luxury plug-in hybrid?

Audi e-tron performance review

Very much like the luxury executive Audi A8 L TFSIe, the e-tron has air suspension, which allows one to glide over speed bumps and potholes with ease. Combined with the insulated interior cabin, the all-electric SUV makes for an enjoyable drive.

Likewise when it comes to manoeuvrability and parking, where the large-sized SUV makes for a pleasurable experience: the steering is lightweight and easy to handle; the reversing and 360° cameras comprised within the Comfort and Sound Pack make it supremely easy to see your surroundings; while the SUV’s large windows and mirrors allow for great all-round visibility.

But, don’t let its serene interior throw you off – the 55 quattro is no slouch in terms of performance, namely when its lobbed into Dynamic mode through the infotainment system – this stiffens up the suspension and steering wheel, and betters throttle response.

Its motor outputs up to 300 kW (402 hp) of power in boost mode, dispatching a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds. Take away this mode, which is only at your disposal in the Individual or Sport driving modes, and the SUV will get to 62mph from a standstill in 6.6 seconds. Impressive for a vehicle that weighs north of 2,565kg.

The e-tron’s top speed is limited at 124.3mph, which won’t be an issue for those living outside of Germany. As for body roll, the SUV does lean a little around country roads even when Dynamic suspension is selected, but for a vehicle of its size, it’s perfectly acceptable. Of course, if you are to set the suspension to Balanced or Comfortable, the e-tron’s hefty chassis will rock from side-to-side.

Audi e-tron performance

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That’s namely due to the rather large 95 kWh battery pack that is housed within the underfloor of the e-tron’s chassis. Despite its size, not all of it is usable – 86.5 kWh in the 2020 variant is at one’s disposal; here, Audi claims the SUV will achieve 227-271 miles on a single charge. Unfortunately, its a rather inaccurate claim, with the e-tron achieving closer to 190-200 miles in our mixed driving tests – not what you would expect from a luxury all-electric vehicle.

By comparison, the 64 kWh Li-ion polymer battery pack found in the £33,850 Kia e-Niro lasts a staggering 260 miles on a single charge and even gets up to its claimed 282-mile range within inner-city routes. The same couldn’t be said about the Audi e-tron, which is severely hampered by its limited driving range.

Audi e-tron boot design

To help recoup energy back into the battery pack, Audi has a few levels of regenerative braking methods to choose from; unfortunately, these come disabled no matter which level you selected in your previous outing. Thankfully, it’s extremely easy to flick through them, as the flappy paddles on the steering wheel are exclusively there to fulfil that function.

When it comes to recharging the e-tron, Audi has cleverly integrated two charging ports, one on either side of the SUV’s front wings; the flap is electronically operated, which leads to a more premium-feel, too. By the driver’s side, there’s a Type 2 and CCS port, while on the front passenger’s side there’s a Type 2 port, only.

Through a rapid 50 kW or 150 kW charge point, the e-tron can get up to 80% charge in under 30 minutes. A 22 kW charger will take 9 hrs till full; a 7 kW input will take 14 hrs, and a 3-ping plug socket will take a whopping 42 hours.

Read next: Kia e-Niro review (2020): The best all-electric SUV?

TotallyEV’s verdict on the Audi e-tron

Truthfully, the e-tron’s biggest downfall is its lacklustre all-electric range, which is put to shame in comparison to an SUV (the Kia e-Niro) that costs a fraction of its price. It is also limited to a five-seater configuration, only making it not ideal for larger-sized families.

Otherwise, the Audi e-tron is a perfect example of what a luxury all-electric SUV should be: it’s spacious, comfortable, has a lavish exterior design and a plush interior, and most importantly will bring a smile to your face when you’re driving at speed or even cruising on the motorway.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for all of the above and can live with its limited all-electric driving range and most importantly, can afford it – the Audi e-tron might among the best premium all-electric SUV on the market.

Could you see yourself driving the Audi e-tron or does its range put you off? Let us know in the comments below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Exterior design
10
Interior design
10
Storage space
10
Driving comfort
9
Performance
6
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Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.

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