Car review – Audi e-tron 55 quattro

Electric Belgian

The Belgium-built e-tron is a heavyweight in the premium electric SUV segment - literally and figuratively.


Familiar but revolutionary

Unlike some other electric models, the e-tron quattro looks anything but futuristic, with its lines those of a traditional Audi SUV.

What is striking on the outside is the lack of traditional exterior side mirrors if you go for the optional virtual ones that use stick-mounted cameras to display images inside the car on screens embedded in the doors. That should ensure a (tiny) gain in efficiency and increase the driving range by up to five kilometres, but they cost a pretty penny and add little practicality.

Inside you do not really notice this is not a traditional Audi as the entire dashboard and infotainment system with the double touch screen are lifted straight from the A6.


Two electric motors

The drivetrain consists of two electric motors, one putting out 170hp and 247Nm at the front and a second one of 190hp and 314Nm on the rear axle, which together provide a combined power of 360hp and 561Nm. In S mode, these values can be boosted to 408hp and 664Nm for a short time, giving the Audi very fast performance, sprinting to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and allowing it to pick up speed very fast. If asked, the e-tron will reach 200km/h.

With its 95-kWh battery, Audi announces a range of “more than 400km” (WLTP), but that is clearly too optimistic. We achieved about 300km. The three standard charging cables for the home, wallbox (11 or 22kW) or fast charger (150kW) are kept in a special storage compartment at the front under the bonnet so they do not take up any luggage space and are always easily accessible.

With an average test consumption of about 30kWh/100km, it is not exactly economical as an electric car. Its heavy weight clearly puts it at a disadvantage.


Quattro, but not really

The e-tron gets the suffix “quattro”, signifying four-wheel drive. However, this does not refer to the system other Audis get as there is no physical connection between the front and rear axles. The power is distributed fully electronically, with the emphasis on the rear wheels in normal use, and (more) assistance from the front wheels if necessary. This ensures flawless traction and grip on all types of surfaces.

Spacious, excellent finish but also expensive

Available space and luxury on board meet the expectations for this type of car and the silent operation and soundproofing are impressive. In addition, the air suspension ensures bumps are properly cushioned so driving comfort is never at stake. The boot is sufficiently capacious and can hold 600 litres. The finish and quality of the used materials are top notch. Unfortunately, the elite price point reserves the e-tron for the lucky few.

The e-tron is a real Audi, with all the qualities that entails. It allows its owner to both enjoy the benefits of a large SUV and reduce their carbon footprint, but it has to deal with heavy weight, an altogether limited driving range and a hefty price tag.

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    + Comfort and silence on board

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    + Lines of a traditional SUV

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    + Technology and performance

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    - Driving range still limited - High price