Flagship takes to the road
”Vorsprung durch Technik” (or "Progress through Technology") is the famous strapline for the marque with the four rings. Audi has demonstrated this many times down the years: there was the Quattro transmission in the 80s, then the start of the sports car hybrid era in 2012. Now it’s all about electric cars. Having proved itself on the racing circuit, the e-tron is now hitting the road, and we tested the technology at the wheel of the e-tron Advanced 55 Quattro
Kicking out 300 kW and at an unladen weight of 2,520 kg, length of 5m and height of 1.60 m, the Audi e-tron is a true flagship model. But it’s nothing like a warship inside. With its clean-lined, minimalist interior, it’s definitely one of the most luxurious SUVs around: leather on the doors, dual zone air conditioning and no fewer than 3 driver monitors. The first screen is for the entertainment system, with GPS, radio and Bluetooth. The second is just below the central screen and is for entering GPS coordinates by hand and regulating the interior temperature – all on a touchscreen. The last screen is the Audi virtual cockpit, holding most of the information from the other screens. Drivers can customise the information they want to receive via steering wheel buttons. The mostly digital design isn’t practical to use when driving, but luckily Audi have thought to add a little clicking sound when you touch the buttons, so drivers know what they’re doing without taking their eyes off the road.
For many, driving an Audi is pure class, but with the e-tron, you’re really strutting your stuff. When you take to the road in one of these, you feel a bit like a ship’s captain. This is much down to the driving position, giving the impression of looking down on everything in your path.
For the e-tron, Audi has gone to town on the driving modes, which are all very different: the body lowers a full 8 cm between the all-terrain mode the most dynamic configuration. You can actually feel the height changes from your seat. Given the car’s dimensions and weight of the batteries, there’s no denying that the Audi e-tron is not the most agile of cars. It’s heavy, yes, but comfort is everything for this vehicle range. And they’ve really pulled it off. The smooth handling, comfortable seats and amazing controlled suspension make driving this SUV a very pleasant experience.
The time we spent with the Audi e-tron was brief but memorable. It consumes a lot of energy, that’s true, but, given its weight, you need power to shift this Audi SUV. Its strength is definitely in the space it offers: there’s plenty in the back seat area and boot – it would be a real shame otherwise for a car that’s 5m long. And you don’t need to slam the e-tron’s doors to close them. Just push them back towards the body and Audi technology takes care of all the rest – these small details are all part of the luxury.
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Image source: ACL