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With so many vehicles on the roads currently, natural resources are slowly depleting. Additionally, petrol and diesel prices are touching the sky. To counter this, vehicle manufacturers are looking at alternate sources of fuel - the most-popular of them being electricity.
Many manufacturers have already launched electric vehicles in the Indian market and the segment has picked up pace. Audi is now all geared up to launch its all-electric SUV, the e-Tron in the Indian market soon. The e-Tron was first showcased back in 2019 in the Indian market.
The electric SUV was supposed to make its debut last year. But, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the launch had to be postponed. Now, ahead of its launch, we took the Audi e-Tron for a quick spin and here is what we have to say about the all-electric SUV.
Exterior & Design
The Audi e-Tron that we received was decked in the Tango Red Metallic shade. This paint shade makes the car look sporty and the overall blacked-out elements go well with it. As the sun set, we could notice the SUV looked even better with the orange light reflecting on it from the sky.
At the front, you get sleek looking headlight units that have the DRLs placed in a unique way and these headlamps are really bright. The cluster is equipped with Audi's digital matrix lighting system. The throw from the headlamps is great, illuminating everything up to a distance of about 500 metres. Audi says the range of the light is close to a kilometre.
The electric SUV gets a sporty bumper with blacked-out elements on either side. The bumper also has vents to channel air through there and this gives the vehicle better aerodynamics.
Also, you do not get chrome at the front of the car. The front grille surround is finished in brushed silver. Even the grille itself gets a similar finish. You also get a front parking camera that is present right beneath the Audi logo. The lower half of the bumper is also finished in brushed silver.
Moving on to the side of the e-Tron, the first thing that you will notice is the e-Tron badge present on either side of the fender. Just beside the badge is a button, hold it for two seconds and the panel will slide open revealing the charging socket of the SUV.
After unplugging the charger, you again need to hold the button for two seconds to close it. A single touch will not open the charging unit, eliminating all chances of it being opened by mistake.
The massive 20-inch dual-tone five-spoke alloy wheels grab one's attention immediately. The wheels look massive, and the SUV gets big brake callipers finished in a bright yellow shade with the e-Tron badge printed on it. Overall, the alloy wheels and the brake callipers make the e-Tron look extremely sporty from any angle.
At the rear, the electric SUV gets sleek tail light units with an LED bar connecting them. This setup gives the car a futuristic styling. You also get the e-Tron and the 55 Quattro badging on either side of the boot lid. The e-Tron gets a rear parking camera with adaptive guidelines which make parking in tight spaces much easier. The SUV also gets a 360-degree parking camera feature as standard.
Cockpit & Interiors
Step inside the cabin and you will notice that most of the interior is finished in Black. This gives the electric SUV a sporty feel to the insides as well. Other than that, there are brushed aluminium elements present all around the cabin of the car.
The centre stage on the dashboard is taken by two touchscreen displays. The one on top is a 10.1-inch infotainment unit complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the second screen that is placed below is an 8.8-inch unit that displays other vehicular information and also acts as the control panel for the air-conditioning and climate control. The Audi e-Tron has a four-zone climate control system.
Instrumentation is taken care of by an LCD unit that Audi likes to call the Virtual Cockpit. This screen gives out loads of information about the vehicle and what it currently is up to. With the help of the ‘View' button on the steering wheel, the cluster can be configured according to one's needs.
Coming back to the steering wheel, the controls on it are handy and will keep the driver focused on the road. The Audi e-Tron comes with a fancy two-spoke steering wheel. The contours on the wheel allows the driver to have a good grip on it. We did feel that a flat-bottom steering wheel would add to the sporty feel. The steering wheel also gets the electronic tilt and telescopic adjustment feature.
Time to talk about the seats now. The two front seats are electronically adjustable in 12-ways. However, only the driver's side gets the memory option and controls for the same are present on the door panel, right ahead of the boot release switch. The cushioning provided by the seat is great, making them comfortable for long journeys.
The rear seat has good under-thigh support and soft back support. Three passengers can easily be accommodated in the back seat and if there are only two passengers at the rear, the centre armrest can be deployed. The controls for the rear AC zone are present in the centre and the rear passengers also get two Type-C charging sockets.
Electric Motor, Battery & Handling
The Audi e-Tron is offered with three powertrain options, starting with the 50 Quattro. The 50 Quattro comes with a 71.2kWh battery pack and pumps out 312bhp and 540Nm. The more powerful 55 Quattro and S variants come equipped with an identical 95kWh battery pack. But, the S variant pumps out an impressive 435bhp and 808Nm, and in ‘boost' mode it pumps out 503bhp and 973Nm.
We drove the 55 Quattro variant that produces 360bhp and 561Nm and in ‘boost' mode these numbers rise to 408bhp and 664Nm of peak torque. There are two electric motors that power the e-Tron - a 125kW motor at the front and a 140kW motor at the rear. The power is sent to all four wheels via Audi's 'Quattro' AWD system.
Audi claims that the e-Tron can travel a distance of up to 441kms on a single charge. We couldn't really test the full range, but depending on driving conditions, we can say that it has the capability to travel that distance judging from the range on the instrument cluster.
The Audi e-Tron can be charged from 0-80 per cent in just 30 minutes using a 150Kw DC charger. However, the SUV will take almost 8.5 hours to do the same feat using an 11Kw AC charger. Speaking of chargers, it is notable that the Audi e-Tron comes with an AC charger that is placed in a compartment under the hood.
The e-Tron can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.7seconds when being driven in the Sports mode, and it will continue to reach a top speed of 200kmph. It can achieve these figures as all of the torque is available from the word go, without any drivetrain power loss. It also features different power modes (six driving modes) and regenerative braking to enhance the driving range.
The Audi e-Tron gets adaptive air suspension. Now with every mode you select, whether it be on-road, off-road, comfort or dynamic, the height of the vehicle adjusts automatically. The best place to be, is in the Comfort mode. In this mode, the throttle response, steering wheel and suspension are all balanced out and gives you a comfortable ride.
Thanks to the adaptive air suspension, the ride quality is excellent. The SUV just glides over any bumps and potholes that our roads can throw at it. Also, the insulation level inside the cabin is excellent and not a single sound from the outside will enter the cabin.
Since the e-Tron is all-electric and does not have an IC engine, there is no vibration or noise coming from the engine bay. The electric motors produce a faint whine and that is all the sound there is.
At high speeds, the only audible noise is from the tyres and that can also be taken care of by just turning up the music. Other than that, the only other noise that can be heard is the whining of the electric motor while accelerating, if you floor the SUV hard, but that is not bothersome at all.
The Audi e-Tron handles brilliantly and the steering wheel has good feedback. It can be hardened or softened by selecting the different drive modes. However, there is also an individual mode that allows you to configure the motor, gearbox and steering response independently, according to your taste. Despite the size, the SUV handles well and body roll is well-contained.
The all-new Audi e-Tron 55 Quattro definitely looks futuristic and has an eye-catching stance to it. Also, the e-Tron is the first fully electric SUV offering from the brand in the Indian market. The new e-Tron will soon go up against the likes of the Mercedes EQC400 and the Jaguar i-Pace electric in the Indian market.
The Audi e-Tron offers a host of features and is a good handler at the same time. So, if you are willing to spend a lot of money on a fancy car and save the environment at the same time, you should definitely check out the all-new Audi e-Tron. We expect the all-new Audi e-Tron to be priced at just above Rs 1 crore, ex-showroom.