After months of previewing the e-tron all-electric sports utility vehicle through prototypes wrapped in bright orange and black camouflage, Audi has finally unveiled the final production version of the SUV in San Francisco, California.
The all-new Audi e-tron full-size SUV is the brand’s first fully electrically powered series production model, boasting of an electrifying appearance that betrays its zero-emission intensions. Wrapped in blue finish with a number of chrome accents, the new Audi e-tron comes with a light gray Singleframe grille, expressive sill area and an electric tailboard.
Audi first teased the e-tron in 2016 as its first tangible response to the plan by parent Volkswagen Group to electrify its entire vehicle lineup by 2030. Just like Audi’s other premium offerings, the new e-tron offers a new level of spaciousness and comfort inside. The interior of the new e-tron is marked by high-quality materials and fine workmanship, as well as a number of helpful technologies like the navigation with the e-tron route planner.
Powering the new Audi e-tron are two electric motors (dual asynchronous motors) -- one on each axle for an all-wheel drive performance. Getting their juice from a 95-kWh lithium-ion battery, these motors deliver around 265 kW (355 hp) of output and 413 lb-ft. of torque. However, when the driver activates the “boost mode,” the motors will temporarily hike their potential to deliver up to 300 kW (402 hp) of output and up to 490 lb-ft. of torque. In boost mode, the e-tron can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
Keep in mind, however, that these are the specs of the Audi e-tron for Europe, and Audi is still in process of homologating the US version. This means, that Audi still cannot release the final numbers – output, torque, range – until it has completed the homologation of the e-tron for the US market. The official estimated range will come from the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
In terms of performance on the sprint, the Audi e-tron is expected to be half a second slower than the Tesla X electric crossover and a second slower than the Jaguar I-Pace. Nonetheless, what really matters in an electric SUV isn’t its sprint performance but its everyday usability, practicality and range. With a 95-kWh battery – one of the largest capacities offered among EVs – the new e-tron can travel a great distance. Add that to the fact that the e-tron boasts of superb aerodynamics with a low drag coefficient value of 0.28 Cd (0.30 Cd in the US).
However, there are a number of really attractive techs in the Audi e-tron that won't be seen in the US version – no thanks to existing regulations that have yet to be revised. US regulations only allow for side mirrors to installed, which means that the side-view cameras in the Euro-spec e-tron won't make to the US version. The same is true for the matrix-beam headlights.
Audi is assembling the new e-tron at a facility in Brussels, Belgium. The electric SUV has a starting price of $74,800 in the US and EUR79,900 in Germany.