Love or hate it, but you can’t ignore the fact that the future of mobility in India and elsewhere lies with the electric vehicles. The new-age electric cars are far superior and as practical as their IC-engined counterparts, while being green and nature saviour. One such car is the Audi e-Tron SUV. Not only is the e-Tron brand’s first-ever EV, it’s an incredible start to Audi’s goal of phasing out conventional fuel cars by 2033. We decipher the top reasons why Audi e-Tron is a stepping stone in brand’s journey and what makes it so special.
First things first, no matter how much you deny, but EVs from yesteryears used to carry a different design language than IC engines vehicles and were not that good looking. What Audi has done here is launch their first ever EV as a SUV, a segment in demand today and most probably tomorrow. The e-Tron gets a conventional styling language which will help it gel well in this conventional vehicle heavy market and also eases the transition for a first time EV buyer.
Upfront is a large hexagonal grille with matte grey finish and prominent bonnet lines adding the bulk to the car. At the sides are massive 20-inch wheels with yellow callipers and an elongated body profile while the rear gets integrated spoiler and connected tail lights. And not just the overall design, Audi has actually added charging ports on both sides to deal with parking problem a lot of EV buyers face while using public chargers.
Inside the cabin, you get the sense of a regular Audi vehicle which is a good feel if you are switching from IC-engined SUV to an electric SUV. The all dark cabin with a hint of grey elements is of top-notch quality. The dashboard area gets a waterfall design with twin screens, one for infotainment and other AC control. You also get another screen for virtual cockpit making the cabin look future ready yet approachable.
Feature wise, the e-Tron gets a panoramic sunroof, four-zone climate control, wireless charging, wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, optional air purifier, ambient lighting with 30 colour options, head-up display, and much more. What’s missing however are ventilated seats, wireless phone connectivity, connected car technology which snatches away some fun from the Audi’s electric SUV.
Not just features, a car in India has to pass a crucial factor of practicality and the e-Tron is as spacious as any other full grown SUV in the market. The boot has a volume of 660-litres which makes it really massive and highly practical as it’s both deep and wide. Not just the boot, the car screams practicality from inside the cabin as well as there’s enough legroom and shoulder room at the rear bench, and the floor is almost flat; despite a battery pack beneath.
Now before we discuss about the performance, we have to discuss the range because for EVs to do well in terms of sales, range has to be incredible. Audi has played it smartly by offering 2 different variants having 2 range options. The one we drove gets a maximum 484 km WLTP range. There are 3 variants on offer - two in 55 configuration and one in 50 configuration priced between Rs 99.99 lakh to Rs 1.17 crore, a range that’s similar to the other two rivals.
As for the charging, Audi is providing a home mounted 11 kw AC wall charger, along with a charging cable that can plug in any of the 15 ampere sockets. Then there are DC fast chargers that you can find at Audi dealerships or elsewhere.
The e-Tron 55 draws power from a 95kWh battery pack, which supplies it to two motors, one on each axle. The 55 gets an output of 408hp/664Nm. But that’s just for sports mode. In regular modes, the e-Tron delivers 360hp/561Nm output and nowhere does his output hampers the performance much. In fact, in order to conserve battery, I drove the SUV mostly on ECO mode and found it fun to drive, like rest of the Audi cars.
It was so like driving regular cars that to an extent I almost got disappointed as I was expecting something unusual about driving a big and bulky EV as this one. The only change is tremendous acceleration you get on the push of the pedal thanks to the electric drivetrain. Like other EVs, the e-Tron also gets regenerative braking, but unlike most EVs, it doesn’t feel like abnormal while braking the car.
The Audi e-tron is also super smooth to drive with suspension soaking up most of the bumps despite having a massive 700kg battery underneath the cabin. This also helps in good driving dynamics by lowering the centre of gravity. The steering decent enough for our city commutes as Audi has tried to lighten it to balance the heavy vehicle, taking out some of the feedback.