Audi’s first all-electric car is refreshingly normal
For Audi’s first electric car built for mass consumption, simply known (like an 80s pop star without a last name) as the e-tron, it could have gone with any number of bodystyles. It could have gone with one that looks like the R8 sports car, coincidentally also called the e-tron and in fact, it did produce the R8-based e-tron in limited quantities, or a sports coupe-SUV or a four-door coupe, or even a big saloon.
In the fullness of time, it’s probably likely we’ll see all of the above, given how the carmaker is promising at least 20 fully-electric vehicles by 2025. Instead, the form Ingolstadt chose to spearhead its electric assault is a fairly vanilla full-sized SUV.
Now, the reasons for this are multiple, chief among them being how that bodystyle is the most palatable to a vast majority of the buying public. And really, with a powertrain that’s until now been the sole purview of early adopters, you’d want your first electric car to be as ‘friendly’ as possible, wouldn’t you?
And the e-tron certainly is a crowd-pleaser. It’s got a range in the region of around 400km, batteries that can be juiced up in an hour or so if you gas it up (in a manner of speaking) at a DC quick-charging station, a roomy rear bench and a cavernous 605-litre boot.
For all its practicality, you’ll probably also be even more pleased to know the e-tron is quite, quite rapid. It sends 360hp to all four wheels through a fiendishly complex all-wheel-drive system that can precisely meter out power to each wheel.
What this means, coupled with the always-on-tap zip endemic to all electric cars is a big SUV that handles like something much more sporty than its stoic profile would suggest, and all the more amazing when you consider this isn’t a light car, tipping the scales at just under 2,500kg.
The only big question mark surrounding the e-tron is how much it could tempt buyers away from its conventionally-powered siblings like the Q7. Priced at $377,500, it’s certainly in the ballpark of an SUV in its size class, but when you consider an entry-level Q7 costs $323,240, the e-tron’s price becomes a little hard to swallow.
Unless, of course, you’re one of those early adopter types. If you are, and also happen to be in the market for a full-sized SUV, there’s very little you could do wrong with the e-tron.
PRICE: $377,500 (including COE, excluding options)
GO: Advanced powertrain nestled in a crowd-pleasing body
NO GO: Still one for the early adopters