Audi e-tron 55 quattro review

Audi e-tron 55 quattro review

Audi’s gone big on electrification, and the e-tron SUV is the cornerstone of initial product, offering a long range and ultra-rapid charging. Subtle updates since launch models have unlocked driving range from the same powertrain, and the e-tron 55 quattro can prove a technological tour de force.

Review by Chris Lilly

AUDI E-TRON 55 QUATTRO: PERFORMANCE

There’s no lack of performance from Audi in this version of the e-tron, with a twin-motor set-up producing 300 kW (408 hp) across both axles - in overboost anyway. Most of the time it has 265 kW, with a ‘push-to-pass’ system to access a bit more oomph. It’s good for a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds, which is more than ample for most drivers. Those desperate for greater performance can opt for the e-tron S model.

It’s easy to access that performance too, even compare to other EVs, as the e-tron is set-up to be a doddle to drive. The pace is well modulated so drivers will rarely be taken by surprise when acceleration - as is possible with the throttle response on some EVs. It means that the Audi doesn’t feel as quick as a Jaguar I-Pace for example, but is also more relaxing to drive.

HANDLING

Audi’s e-tron is well placed within the rest of the brand’s line-up. It’s a well balanced machine, that doesn’t offer the comfort of the Mercedes Benz EQC or as agile as the I-Pace, but does everything pretty well. It doesn’t excel, but neither are there any weak spots.

Its greatest strength is as a motorway cruiser, where it shrugs aside long-distances without a care, and ensuring occupants get to their destination fresh and comfortable. Like many Audi saloons and SUVs, the e-tron does a good job of settling down at a motorway pace. It does a decent job around town, but there’s no disguising the e-tron’s size or weight, even if the suspension and handling combine to create a relatively nimble large SUV.

BODY STYLE

Audi has created a nicely designed SUV in the e-tron, managing to stand out to passers by without being too garish. That said, the Catalunya Red paint job on the test car is a little too ‘stand out-ish’ for my tastes, but a different colour is an easy thing to change.

As mentioned, the e-tron is a large SUV, but its design means that it doesn’t look huge. The benefit here is that owners get a spacious and practical EV, which can comfortably live with family life in a single-car household. A large boot will deal with everything daily life can throw at it, as well as a full holiday load-out, whilst the occupant space is excellent.

COMFORT & CONTROLS

Audi e-tron 55 quattro interior

Audi’s interiors are top notch currently, and the e-tron is no different. The controls look great and work well, and there is plenty for the driver to customise, getting things just so. A digit instrument panel is just part of that, and then there are dual screens on the centre console, featuring haptic feedback for improved accuracy.

The test car had digital wing-mirrors, with rear-facing cameras rather than actual mirrors, and a screen placed in the car’s door. The problem is the screen is too low compared to where a driver looks for a wing mirror, particularly on the nearer driver’s door. It’s not a deal-breaker, I’d save the money and stick with conventional ways to look behind you.

AUDI E-TRON 55 QUATTRO: MPG & RUNNING COSTS

Thanks to a few tweaks to software, Audi has unlocked a bit of extra range. Range is up to 255 miles on a charge, from the 241 miles beforehand. It’s not a huge increase, but handy nonetheless, and will quickly add up to fewer charges over the course of a week for most drivers.

In real-world conditions, the range holds up better than it did previously - over and above the extended range. Calculated range from the average efficiency figure (2.9 miles/kWh) brings a charge’s range to around 240 miles. On a long distance run over fast country roads and with plenty of climbs, more than 210 miles was calculated, based on percentage used; that’s over non-EV-friendly terrain. Mix in a greater amount of urban driving, and that range will quickly move up.

GREEN CREDENTIALS

Audi’s recharging system is one of the best on the market, and allows drivers to charge their e-tron at up to 150 kW DC and 11 kW AC as standard - there’s a 22 kW AC on-board charger available. Recharging on ultra-rapid 150+ kW points will see a 5-80% top-up in just half an hour. The CCS inlet is found on the driver’s side, between the front wheel and front door, whilst there’s a secondary, near-side Type-2 inlet as well.

The e-tron’s brake energy recuperation system is also excellent, able to capture a significant amount of energy when on full. The user can either leave it in auto or manually control it using the drive-mode select, but neither are as intuitive as rival efforts. Utilised well however, and the range can really be boosted.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

There is plenty of choice for e-tron customers. To start with, there is the choice of 55 or 50 models which determines the power and battery size on offer. There is also a body-style choice with the e-tron SUV or e-tron Sportback coupe-SUV, and there’s an S performance version of each body-style. The e-tron 55 SUV comes with a choice of Technik, Sport, S Line, Black Edition, or Vorsprung trims.

Fitted as standard are 20-inch alloys, LED headlights, air suspension, quattro all-wheel drive, drive mode select, leather upholstery, MMI Touch Duo infotainment system with 10.1-inch screen at the top, Audi Virtual Cockpit digital display, keyless entry and start, reversing camera, and wireless phone charging.

AUDI E-TRON 55 QUATTRO: MODEL SUMMARY

There are three main premium electric SUVs in the e-tron’s market - the e-tron itself, plus the I-Pace, and EQC. Each is very different, but the e-tron’s flexibility and size makes a great case for itself. A good range and ultra-rapid charging allow for a highly useful EV set-up, and the e-tron is a practical model with plenty of space and a lovely interior. I just prefer the Jaguar and Mercedes, but it is ‘just’, and the improvements Audi has launched has made that decision closer than ever.

Audi e-tron 55 quattro rear

Model tested: Audii e-tron 55 quattro First Edition
Body-style: Large SUV
Engine / CO2: Twin electric motors / 0 g/km
Trim grades: Technik, Sport, S Line, Black Edition, or Vorsprung

On-road price: e-tron 55 Quattro range from £72,925
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:2nd Jul 2021

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