The Audi E-Tron shows us the future, underwhelms on the road
If I was to tell you that I travelled to an exotic location to drive a new SUV, you would have probably said [UNKNOWN] Drew.
That just sounds like a regular Tuesday and you would be right, but if I was to tell you that I'm out here to drive an all electric car, well that's not something you hear me say everyday because frankly, [UNKNOWN] I haven't been that many all electric cars that we've been excited about, but We need to get excited about it.
Manufacturers across the board are beginning to develop them with the likes of Tesla steaming ahead and Jaguar having the I-PACE well we have to keep up, as is Audi.
So that's why we're here to drive this, the new Audi e-tron.
The e-tron is Audi's first ever all electric car with two electric motors, one at the front and one at the rear giving us the electric version of quatro all wheel drive.
Combined, the motors give us just north of 400 horsepower as 0 to 62 miles an hour just time up south of six seconds.
And a top speed of 124 miles an hour.
You'll get around 350 miles of range, depending on your driving habits, outside temperature and probably a raft of other conditions.
If you were to recharge the car at home in a standard plug, you'll be looking at about eight and a half hours for a full charge.
Or half that if you install a dedicated charger.
Hit up a fast charager, though, and you could get as much as 80% charge in just half an hour.
There aren't that many available yet in the UK, but there is plan to have way more installed in 2019.
The question whether or not Audi should have been making an electric car is a redundant one, and one that frankly was answered years ago.
Audi, like every single other manufacturer on the planet It is now or already has delivered their first, second, or even third electric car.
The e-tron just happens to be Audi's real fully electric car that's come to market, but you can guarantee that more are coming and that kind of brings me to the question on this car.
You see, you can figure out whether this car works for you very easily and in the same way you would with any other car.
You write a list of all the things Things you need your car to be able to do and then next to it a list of all the things this car can do and then between it you can figure out whether the car will work for you.
It's not rocket science.
The question I really want to answer is does this car scratch the itch of the kind of person who buys a car, not just because it gets A to B. But because they have a passion for the brand, we want to feel engagement with the drive.
Our electric cars at the point yet when they're not just a decision that you make with your head and you wallet, but one with your heart and your gut.
Immediately upon getting in the trunk It feels like an Audi, everything on the interior is exactly like you expect from an Audi.
I've driven a lot in the A8 and the Q8 recently, and this feels like you're getting into an exactly similar car.
The infotainment systems, the toys, the bells and whistles, the finishing, all is to the Audi quality you'd expect.
So if that is the kind of thing you're using To make a decision on whether or not to buy a car, does it feel like an Audi on the interior?
It immediately ticks that box.
But the driving engagement, that's, for me, the most crucial thing.
When I get in this and drive it doesn't feel like I'm driving an Audi.
It doesn't feel like I'm driving something special.
Handling-wise, the e-tron does hide its bulky weight quite well.
The nature of electric cars is that that extra weight comes from the batteries, which have the benefit of being able to be put low down in the car.
The distribution of weight, then, is actually pretty good, giving the car relatively sporty handling when pushed on the twisties.
Body roll was far less than you'd expect from a car this heavy.
Immediately, the weight of this thing should be holding it back.
It's almost 2.5 tons.
That's the size and weight of a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Don't expect the same kind of electric performance from, say, a Tesla Model S.
This thing is not built Built for [UNKNOWN] acceleration.
Those cars have been great at getting people interested in the idea of using an electric car for performance, but really, in reality, it's not a substantial way to use an electric car's battery.
[UNKNOWN] delivered in the more moderate fashion.
There is a sport section in the gear box, but that only delivers an extra [UNKNOWN] about fifty horse power.
So it doesn't really Do you feel like it's making that much of a difference?
[UNKNOWN] Response well when I first drove an electric car with the original [UNKNOWN] way back in the day and immediately I was sold on the idea of electric cars for performance.
The rapidness of the throttle response felt more like a vintage sports car than any modern car I'd ever driven.
In this e-tronics It feels a bit more dialed back, a bit more usable, a bit more pragmatic.
Plant your foot and you don't quite get that electric thump, that push back in your seat that we've kind of gotten used to with cars like [INAUDIBLE].
You can get up to decent speeds but it doesn't necessarily feel like you had a good time getting there.
The brakes equally have a tough time of it.
It's a big car to have to To stop but also the regeneration or recuperation as Audi calls it.
Means that the breaking works in a different way.
The breaks are being applied not just to slow the car down but to reclaim some of that energy that you'd be throwing away.
And getting the blend Between thosE two ways of slowing the car down is very important.
It result in a slightly none feeling not quite is dynamic cuz you needed to be on a car that could be doing a hundred miles on speed limit here on UAE Dynamically, the car's suspension system, well, it's a bit bumpy.
Even in its most comfortable mode in the comfort setting, it doesn't differ that much through to the dynamic setting, and on these smooth roads and out here, they are ultra smooth.
You're still feeling quite a lot of bumps coming back into the cabin.
And because the engine is so quiet Quiet.
Everything else feels a lot louder, so every bump in the road is more audible, the wind noise feels more audible.
It's all relative, but you still hear it.
Wind noise is reduced by these quite interesting side Rearview mirrors which are now cameras which finally legislation seems to be letting go ahead.
But the viewfinder for the moment, these small screens tucked in the door which are not exactly where you want to find them.
I keep finding myself looking at the camera instead of at the screen.
Having them on a screen like this doesn't mean it can eliminate blind spots, give you a wider field of view.
But just in the short time I've had to play with it, I've already found quite a few shortcomings For starters, I keep looking at the wrong place.
Secondly, in bright sunshine, they can look a bit glary we're seeing the reflection of whoever is in the passenger seat more than the feed that the camera is meant to be giving us.
But I have to get used to it.
I'm pretty sure it could a nice welcome edition and it definitely gives the car a more modern feel.
Feel in the exterior.
But the exterior styling isn't that crazy.
I already have gone along the same lines of come other manufacturers like Toyota did with the Prius where they didn't want the car to look futuristic.
Buying this should look like your Taking a bold leap forward.
Something that's scary to do.
And want it to be a comforting next step in your car buying history.
You want this to just feel as natural progression as say buying another Q5.
So the exterior styling doesn't go completely nuts.
So what you're left with is a car that's well equipped, comfortable and luxurious but a bit underwhelming to drive If buying an electric car makes sense to you, then the e-tron could be a great option.
As long as crazy acceleration speeds aren't on your wish list, this does give you everything else you might want in a luxury car that can simply get you where you want to go.
If, however, you feel the need for some engagement when you drive and some character from your car.
Then for now, at least, Audi's more traditional internal combustion engine cars might be more up your street.
Does it feel like an Audi?
Do you get the Audi experience from it?
Well, on the interior, everything you see, everything you touch Feels perfectly Audi.
Exactly as if you'd stepped out of a Q8 or an A8, and straight into this.
There's no real transition there.
On the driving dynamics, it's as Audi as an electric car can be right now, and that is the fairest I think I can be.
So the bottom line, is this a car, that I knew as a [INAUDIBLE] loving person should be interested in.
Well, it is an Audi, and Audis bring with them an inherent level of quality and it ticks all of those boxes.
But it's not quite as exciting to drive as other Audis can be.
But what this car represents might be more important than that, is a step forward for Audi and a signifier that the industry is moving towards a different future.
The people who buy this car and buy into its idea are helping set a trend that will be the future of Audi and all manufacturers really.
So from that point of view, it's worth getting excited about.
But from a driving dynamics point of view it still leaves me a little bit cold.
But in the same way how when the Prius came out and hybrid seemed a terrible idea, a bad investment and just not fun to drive.
Now we drive million dollar hyper cars with hybridization and think nothing of it.
It's the sign of a new future for Audi.
And from that point alone, it's a significant car.
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