Large Audi SUVs have pretty much their own flavour of motoring — minimalistic, luxurious cabins, loads of space, supreme ride comfort, and more than agreeable performance and dynamics, especially if you like the typically Audi precise, slightly over-assisted feel from the steering. And now with the Audi e-Tron, the brand’s first-ever all-electric model, it seems you can add zero emissions and zero driving noise characteristics to that list.
Granted, it has taken a while since we first saw the Audi e-tron on our shores back in 2019, but the pandemics largely to blame. Now that it’s here, we finally know that India gets the Audi e-tron in its most impressive 55 Quattro variant, equipped with twin electric motors, one on each axle for electric Quattro all-wheel drive. Not just, it’ll also be launched alongside its sportier looking (and otherwise identical) Audi e-tron Sportback variant on July 22nd, with booking already open. That’ll bring the grand total of luxury EVs to four, the other two being the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Jaguar I-Pace. So then, is the Audi e-Tron the luxury electric vehicle to pick, especially considering it packs the fastest onboard charger, and wall box charger, of the bunch?
While we’ve been waiting for the Audi e-tron (and the rest of the refreshed Audi line-up, truthfully), the Audi Q8 SUV-coupe was launched last year. And to our eyes, the Audi e-tron looks pretty much like the range-topping Audi SUV, especially in brighter shades that do its shape justice. The significant differences being in the Q8’s rear-end styling that’s an evolution of the Q7’s flattish rear, while the Audi e-tron is more an evolution of the Q5’s curves, being based on a highly modified version of that SUV’s MLB evo platform. And while that may be, the Audi e-tron (at 4,901mm length, 1,935mm width, 1,629mm tall, with a 2,928mm wheelbase) is a lot closer in size to the Q7 and Q8, than the Q5, and that may be it’s strongest suit. Also, with the Audi e-tron sat on 255/50 section 20-inchers, it’s again closer to the Audi Q8’s wheel/tyre package, and for the size, it’s got enough sidewall to not have to worry about too much. On the brighter colours, the contrast gloss black trim does stand out a lot better, and intersects the sheet metal in interesting ways, especially in the lower rear doors with its additional aero elements just ahead of the rear wheel — all helping the Audi e-tron to an impressive 0.27Cd.
The charge ports are hidden by a foldout door, which bear the e-tron’s badging. Now, otherwise, the most futuristic bit of styling on the Audi e-tron, the outer rearview cameras on stalks instead of mirrors, don’t make it to India — and that’s probably for the best, considering the learning curve involved, and potentially high cost of replacement. But it does get Audi’s coolest headlights thus far, in the Digital Matrix LEDs that project all manners of animations on start-up. Our time with the car was limited to a few hours during the day, so we don’t have word on how the headlights actually work, though.
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