2019 Audi e-tron Joins the Luxury EV Class | Edmunds


[MUSIC PLAYING] MARK TAKAHASHI: EVs are here. And if you ask me,
they’re here to stay. The good news is they’re
getting a lot better and there are a lot more that
are available, from affordable to extravagant. The latest EV in
the luxury class is this, the all new
2019 Audi e-tron. Do me a favor and
hit Subscribe below. We have a lot of great
content coming your way. When the e-tron goes
on sale this spring, prices will start
right around $76,000. Stepping up to the top Prestige
trim will set you back $83,000. It’s pretty much right in
there with the Jaguar I-PACE, but it’s quite a
bit less expensive than a comparable Tesla. Model X. For that money, you get a
95-kilowatt hour battery. That should give you
somewhere in the neighborhood of 240 miles of range. You also get two electric
motors, one for each axle. That gives it all-wheel drive. Combined, they have an
output of 400 horsepower. You also get 1,000 kilowatt
hours of free charging on the Electrify America
charging network. On that network, you
could take advantage of the 150-kilowatt
fast chargers. That will get the e-tron to
80% charge in only 30 minutes. The Electrify American
Network is growing, and it’s soon going to challenge
Tesla’s Supercharger Network. For charging at home, the
e-tron takes a standard Level 2 charger. Audi has partnered with
Amazon to streamline the purchase and
installation of your charger. All of this adds up to a lot
of potential for the e-tron to challenge the Jaguar
I-PACE and Tesla Model X, as well as the upcoming
Mercedes Benz EQC. The big question is,
how does it stack up? Best way to find out. is
to take it for a spin. [MUSIC PLAYING] This e-tron lives up
to Audi’s reputation for quality interiors. It’s very similar to
the A6, A7, and A8, so if you have any real
in-depth questions on that, go check out those videos. All the materials are great. All the buttons,
all the controls, they fall to hand perfectly
for the most part. As I said in the
A6 and A7 videos, I’m not that big a fan
of the new MMI system. I feel like the main screen
is to just a little too low. I liked having it
on top of the dash. And I realize that aesthetically
it’s not as pretty, but for usability, it was
right in my sight lines. I also miss the MMI knob,
mostly because this touch screen is too low. It’s too distracting to use. But I do love this
virtual gauge cluster that’s semi-customizable. And visibility is great. This has a head-up
display as well, and you get really
clear directions. As far as seat comfort goes,
these are the base seats. They’re cloth, and in
this hot desert weather, they breathe surprisingly well. The support is, I
think, appropriate for a vehicle like this. It’s not too sporty,
so it doesn’t have super aggressive side bolsters. A good lumbar support,
and that’s something I really look for in cars too. Overall, visibility is good. I actually think rear visibility
might be a little bit better than the Q5. If not, it’s the same. I’m not a fan of
these virtual mirrors. And fortunately,
in the US, we’re not going to have to worry
about that because they’re not legal for use in the States. I’m sure we’re going to get
just regular old mirrors that will give you all the
situational awareness that you need. Another thing I really
like as this new shifter. Before, they used to have that
yacht handle that kind of moved as one piece. This is a new evolution on that
where only one section of it moves, and it’s really cool. I like this evolution of it. As expected from anything
that’s SUV sized like this, there’s plenty of
space for me back here. I’m 5 foot 10. This seat in front
of me is set for me. And I have a wealth of foot
room underneath the seat, tons of knee room, way
more than I need. And one thing I really
like is the seat cushion isn’t mounted so low, so I’m
getting good thigh support. These seats don’t recline,
and they don’t slide. But just sitting in
here, it feels good because it’s at the
right angle for me. I could be comfortable back here
for a road trip, no problem. And just the physical
space is enhanced by the feeling of spaciousness. These windows are big. This window over
my shoulder helps to open it up a little more. It’s not at all claustrophobic. In the US, we’ll have the
panoramic sunroof as well. That should open
it up even more, although it might cut into
a little bit of headroom up here in the corners. Down here, we have the quad
zone automatic climate control. And these are nice, capacitive,
smooth buttons, really easy to use as well. Also, two USB ports below
and a 12-volt power outlet. In my opinion, it’s a great
place to spend some time, whether you’re an
adult or a child. Like any EV, the power delivery
is ridiculously linear. You have a ton of
power all the time. That’s one of the great
benefits of electric motors, is you get all the
torque instantly. It’s not an internal
combustion engine where it has to spool up. Now, this looks a
lot like a small SUV, but it is a little bit shorter,
so you get a little more sporty handling. And then you have
the battery pack that’s in the floor
of the car, which means that your center
of gravity is really low. So it handles much more
like a regular car, and a sporty car at that. Now, we’re on some crazy
twisty road here in Abu Dhabi. The scenery is fantastic too. The car feels very capable. We’ll start getting into
some of these S turns. See if you can actually
have fun with this car. And you can. The tires aren’t even
making any noise yet. The steering feels good. Like any car today, there’s not
a whole lot of feel or feedback to the driver anymore,
but it’s precise. And I’m not getting into
that weird variable ratio madness where you’re in a tight
turn and all of a sudden it turns in even further. I’m getting a little bit of
fight back from the wheel, though, just because I have
lane-keep assist on, but also not a big deal. And even though it’s
an EV, the brakes feel remarkably conventional. There’s not a lot of
heavy liftoff and regen, but you can actually select
three different levels of regen with the paddle shifters. But since we’re climbing and
not coming down the hill, I’m not going to bother
with that just yet. To answer the question, is
the e-tron fun, yep, it’s fun. Coming through the next hairpin
here and hit a straight, let’s see what happens
when I whack that throttle. And wow, it’s a really
good neck-stretcher. Here we go. OK, so it’s not the “pin
you to the seat” Tesla type of power delivery, but
it’s still really impressive. And honestly, as much as I
like insane mode on the Teslas, it’s kind of useless. Most people with
EV sensibilities don’t want to go that fast. And honestly, the higher
profile of the Tesla Model X doesn’t lend itself
to being tossed around on corners either. This does. When it comes to ride comfort,
it’s kind of hard to tell. These roads in Abu
Dhabi are glassy smooth. They’re all relatively new. And I don’t know if I’d ever be
able to find some choppy roads in this country. But it feels planted. It feels solid. It’s taking care
of the body roll pretty well, considering it’s
a higher profile vehicle. But I can’t drive it a
lot like a regular sedan. Wee! Now that I’ve made it up
the hill in record time, we’re going to go down the hill. And I’m going to
mess around with that variable recuperation,
which is brake regeneration. There’s a few
menus here where we go through Efficiency Assist. I went to Manual, and it
activates these paddle shifters. And in a lot of ways,
it operates a little like paddle shifters
for a transmission, even though this technically
doesn’t have a transmission. So we have three levels,
and what that does is it almost allows you to
one-pedal it down a hill. Right now, I’m
actually just feet off both pedals in the
highest regen mode, and I’m actually having to give
it a little bit of throttle to get back out of it. But it’s a nice, linear
engagement of the regen. It’s not one of those where
it just drops the anchor and tosses the parachute out as
soon as you lift off the pedal. And there’s not a noticeable
transition between regen and using the brake pads. It’s almost seamless. That’s a little rare among
EVs and especially hybrids. When it comes to
breaking, you’ll feel the nose dip a
little bit, but it’s still very well managed. What I find intriguing,
too, is there’s quite a bit of height difference
between the different drive modes. Dynamic really slams it down
to the ground to the point where it just feels
like a bigger wagon. In off-road mode, it’s going
to lift it quite a bit. Hopefully, we’ll see a
little bit of that later. If there’s one word to describe
how this drives, it’s linear. Going from dead
stop to accelerating hard to hitting the brakes,
it’s really easy to predict. It’s really easy to drive. [MUSIC PLAYING] All right, I did in fact find
a rough road in Abu Dhabi. We are in off-road
mode, and that is also fairly unique among
these new classes of EVs. We did some light
off-roading, but still, it was more than most SUV
owners will ever do in the lifetime of their car. And it handled it fine. It’s a fairly smart version of
Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system, and it
exceeded expectations. So if you have some light trail
work to do, it’ll handle it. Definitely handles some
deep snow and ice too. [MUSIC PLAYING] After driving this e-tron
throughout Abu Dhabi, I can say I really
quite enjoyed it. It’s got the right
amount of power. It’s got the right
amount of range. It’s really nice to look at. It’s really nice to sit in. It has a lot more versatility
than the Tesla Model X. And even though I haven’t driven
the Jaguar I-PACE just yet, i think it’s going to be
a pretty close battle. When it comes down to
it, I would definitely take the e-tron
over the Model X. For more information
on the Audi e-tron one as well as its competition,
head on over to Edmunds.com. To see more videos like
this, hit subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]