Audi E-Tron 55 Quattro Review
Vorsprung Durch Elektrische Fahrzeuge

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
10 Dec 2020
 

Where silence is golden, the Audi e-tron does very well, providing a whisper-quiet drive

With the tightening of emissions laws especially in developed nations, manufacturers are taking their progress on electrification very seriously. Just last year, Jaguar brought us their all-electric I-Pace “sort-of” SUV, and more recently, we also got a taste of Porsche’s high-performance Taycan “sort-of” sedan. Within the same family of the latter, Audi too has fielded their idea of how a luxury EV should be like, and as with many manufacturers, SUVs are currently in-vogue, so why not present us one with an inoffensively-styled SUV body?

The e-tron, when compared to its Jaguar rival, comes across as a little more understated; with a design that is easier to accept. The mid-sized SUV is almost 5 meters long, and 1.6 meters tall, and sports a wheelbase of around 2.9 meters. There are some similarities between the e-tron and the visually louder, and slightly larger Audi Q8, and you could even miss it silently whizzing by, thinking that it is the latter.

To help improve on its slipperiness, the e-tron has a flatter grille with lesser open slats, and it does ride lower than most same class-sized SUVs.

Audi’s very first EV, shows plenty of promise, and also forms the roadmap for them for things to come, as more of their range eventually goes electric.

Inside

The Audi e-tron’s cockpit features dual 10.2” and 8.6” touchscreens, which boasts haptic feedback, similar to higher-end Audis, and also gets a good scatter of high quality switchgear. The infotainment is well thought-through, and responds quickly to your requests. This is perfect especially when you are using the SatNav, where you will appreciate how quickly things load up. Mobile phone connectivity for both Apple and Android systems are also supported.

I particularly like the e-tron’s open pore wood paneling, where it forms a ledge, visually splitting the dash into an upper and lower section. The traditional spot for the gearshift lever is more of a wrist rest, where a smaller drive selector toggle resides. Other than that, most of the interior is of familiar Audi quality and styling, which is in my books, among the best in the business.

One thing that our test e-tron was missing, and something I was hoping to see, was its nifty door-mounted wing cameras. A world-first, that replaces mirrors with wing-mounted cameras, and utilises OLED panels on the door cards (you can see the blank area where these would have been). If LTA does approve them, very good… but if they do not, then the e-tron loses a little something special. Our test car makes do with conventional wing mirrors. Yeah… they do the job, but…

The e-tron accommodates up to 5 passengers with ease, and rear passengers benefit from window blinds and USB charging ports. There is ample headroom even for those at the rear, since the roofline is relatively flat. A 660 litre boot, coupled with a wide loading area, also makes the e-tron a very versatile car.

The Drive

Where silence is golden, the Audi e-tron does very well, providing a whisper-quiet drive. The throttle pedal feels accurate, and since there is no engine or transmission, the experience does feel a little surreal, since it is non-mechanical. 

I do appreciate how Audi had made sure that adjusting the car’s regenerative braking would be an easy affair, via a pair of shift pedals placed behind the steering wheel; meaning that you can turn it up and down on the fly, instead of hiding it deep inside some menu which you need to search for.

The e-tron’s creamy-smooth and refined driving experience is delivered with the help of the car’s adaptive air-suspension, that irons out the bulk of the bumps on our roads; and is able to vary its height by up to 76mm, but keeps the car at its lowest when cruising on the highway for improved aerodynamics. While it can be driven enthusiastically, especially when you switch over to ‘Dynamic’ drive mode, the e-tron actually is intended for a more relaxed drive; where it does its finest work. After all, it does weigh in at 2,940kg, hence it is not the most ideal of cars to chuck around.

But if you are looking for figures for proof, the e-tron boasts a total output of about 400bhp, and 664Nm. And even with its heft, it can reach the 100km/h mark in all of 5.7 seconds. Its direct drive and balanced delivery, thanks to its twin motor quattro drivetrain, means better wheel bite, helping leave most vehicles in your dust, when taking off from the lights. But in most cases, where added push is not required, the e-tron achieves better efficiency by relying mainly on its rear motor to drive the car.

One of the key issues that potential EV buyers will have at the back of their minds is range anxiety. The battery in our test car can store up to 95kWh of energy, and we can say that the e-tron can clock distances past 300km with ease, or about an entire work week of driving  and a little more.  

Our Thoughts

The e-tron is a refined and stylish SUV, that previews what is to come shortly for the rest of Audi’s cars. As a luxury EV, it is sensible, and I also like that it is a little understated, when compared to the Jaguar I-Pace.

In Summary

We Like

Spacious, practical and refined. Good on range too.

We Don't

Infotainment unit is a magnet for fingerprints… remember to pack a cloth.

Verdict

The e-tron’s refinement certainly wins us over, and you can truly appreciate the thought that Audi had put into bringing us their very first EV. We hope that those side cameras will make it to our shores.

Car Loan Calculator - Audi E-Tron 55 Quattro (A)

SGD 348,861 (7 Jan 2021)

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Engine

Engine Type Inline 4
Power 402bhp
Torque 664Nm

Performance

Acceleration 5.7s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 200 km/h

Misc Technical Data

Drive Type F4
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4901 x 1935 x 1629) mm
Wheelbase 2928 mm

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs