2020 Audi E-Tron Review: Comfortable, Luxury, & Hi-Tech
The Audi e-tron is the first series battery-powered Audi: it is well soundproofed, lively and well cared for. The cameras that replace the mirrors do not convince only the position of the screens.
2020 Audi E-Tron Exterior – Dimensions
The 490 cm long Audi e-Tron SUV is the first series electric of the Audi. Modern in style, but not as extravagant as some rivals, it wants to be a usable car every day more than a simple technological exercise. It is not built on a specific platform for electric vehicles (this is the PPE, which is developed with Porsche and is expected on the next models), but on a widely modified version of the MLB used for the Q7 and Q8. Like the latter, it has an impressive front and a sloping rear window, which gives a nice sporty touch. But in the e-tron every detail of the bodywork is different, starting from lights and bumpers. The battery, which weighs 700 kg, is screwed under the bottom of the car and contributes to the rigidity of the body. If the starting price is known, to know how much the options will cost you will have to wait until the beginning of 2019, when the price list will be announced.
2020 Audi E-Tron Engine Specs
The two electric motors of the Audi e-Tron (for a total power of 360 horses, with a peak of 408 hp for 8 seconds using the Boost function) are placed one between the front wheels and the other between the rear wheels; as long as the latter have grip, traction is all behind, as in real sports. No self-locking differential for the Audi e-Tron: their function is performed by the brakes which slow down the wheel which tends to “skate”, to transfer the bike to the other on the same axis. On the other hand, the latter rarely come into operation in slowdowns: only under 10 km / h or over 0.3 g deceleration; in other cases it is the same electric motors to brake, operating from generators dragged by the wheels and recovering energy to “fill up for free” the batteries.
2020 Audi E-Tron Range
Of course, the Audi e-tron also recharges from a power outlet, through a motorized flap on the left fender: using the 150 kW columns, the German manufacturer declare 30 minutes to regenerate the 80% battery. These columns are still a rarity but some projects, also co-funded by the European Union, aim to spread its presence. Thanks to an agreement with Enel X, those who buy the e-Tron are entitled to 3,300 kW free in two years: according to the house are enough for 14,000 km, while with a special card you already have access to 80% of public posts throughout Europe. Unlike many rivals, there is a dedicated compartment (of 60 liters) to store the cables: it is not very practical, because it is located between the front engine and the bonnet, but at least avoids dirtying the contents of the trunk (wide and well finished, but with a threshold a bit ‘high from the ground).
Interior & Features
The charging phases can be controlled from the mobile phone: one of the many functions of the Audi Connect system, which can also be accessed from the onboard display. Through the same channel you can also activate (paying) latent functions: for example, the Audi e-Tron has as standard the led matrix headlights that, however, are “deactivated” via software and behave as ordinary beam lights fixed. By remotely “unblocking” the function, you can enjoy the full performance of these lights (anti-dazzle and adaptive lighting) for a month, a year or forever. The advantage? You can try out the potential for a while, and then decide to use it forever, or enjoy it only when you really need it. In the same way, they can be activated for a fee and only for the time that we want many other functions: from the direction indicators that light up in sequence, passing to the semi-automatic parking lot and ending with the Dab radio.
To reiterate that this Audi e-Tron is a series Audi, however special, we think of the interior: the dashboard is very similar to that of the more recent A6 and Q8, with two large touch screens in the central area. The lower one also manages the “climate” and allows you to write the addresses with your fingers when using the navigator. In this operation, the plate and wide wrist rest help, under which there is the barbell to select with the thumb the march forward or backward. Materials and finishes do not reserve surprises and are up to the German brand. What you will not find in other Audi are the two 7 ” screens in the door panels, next to the handles: they replace the rear-view mirrors, showing the images taken by the cameras mounted instead of the latter. It is an optional, a “first choice” for the house that also helps a little to reduce the resistance to air during the advancement and the rustling (the shells that receive them are very thin). Another advantage? You can have multiple views (including what is recorded by the lens on the other door) and you can orient the camera by swiping with your finger on the left screen. Weaknesses? The screens are positioned a little too low and you have to get used to the fact that they are oriented perpendicular to what the cameras shoot. After all, the technicians could not do otherwise, having had to work on the modified body of an existing model.
Driving the Audi e-Tron two advantages immediately emerge the absence of noise (not only that of mechanics but also the rustling and the rolling of the tires) and the good modulation of the braking (even rarer for electric cars). Instead, thanks to the compact camera mirrors and the side windows and acoustic windshields (on the guided car), even at 130 km / h the hisses of the air are very reduced. And the braking is promoted with praise: the pedal has a correct weight, the action is modulated and you do not notice “steps”, even at very low speed.
The rest is what is expected from an electric over 80,000 euros: the steering is precise and the air springs “smooth” the roughness. The accelerator of the 2020 Audi E-Tron is well modulated and the two engines push with vivacity, but without “gluing” to the backrests. Not even in S mode, where you can take advantage of the Boost function which, as mentioned, brings the power from 360 to over 400 horsepower. Too bad that these works are not available automatically by fully depressing the accelerator (for example in carrying out an overtaking), but must first place on S the rocker for the “gear”. There are even seven driving modes (including those for off-road driving); instead, there are three levels of energy recovery in the release, which can be selected using the “paddles” at the wheel. And you can also leave it to the electronics, which decide moment by moment how much to slow down, also based on the maps of the navigator; so, after a straight line in which the car “runs in neutral”, near a roundabout it will gradually begin to slow itself: a smart and comfortable idea.