Home / Drives / Audi e-tron 55 quattro Test Review – Vorsprung durch Elektrik

 

The Audi e-tron finally makes its entry into India as the Ingolstadt brand’s first all-electric SUV. In 55 quattro guise, the e-tron promises both potent performance and long range. How does it fare in the real world, though?

Audi e-tron 55 quattro

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

An “electric future” has gone from concept to reality rather quickly. While electrification has come in slow and gradually, the move to full battery electric vehicles (BEV or just EV) seems to have been brought in harder and faster. Promises were made and targets were set before reality crashed down and forced its acceptance. Now, though, there have been more strides and, as we look forward to a post-lithium age with graphene and hydrogen being prime candidates, the cars that can make a difference are coming around as well.

The e-tron is a 4.9-metre-long SUV that is about the size of a Q7 but is a five-seater. That’s the gist of it. The huge 400-volt, 95-kWh battery pack, with 86 kWh usable, sits in the floor, moving a lot of weight (700 kilograms) and, thus, the centre of gravity far lower down. The Audi e-tron 55 quattro weighs in at 2,520 kg dry. There is a five-level air suspension — a five-link set-up front and rear with air springs — and the drive select modes vary the ride height, by as much as 76 millimetres. More on that later.

Audi e-tron 55 quattro

Built on the modular electric platform, the design of the e-tron reflects the essential Audi elements that see a tweaked take for the electric version of the car. It has the octagonal Singleframe grille for a front face with Matrix LED headlights and four horizontal bars below it to create an e-tron-specific light signature. The 20-inch wheels with 255/50 rubber lend it a distinct SUV side-profile with the very Lamborghini Gallardo-like orange-coloured calipers pointing to its EV nature. The rear has a wide, slatted diffuser and, well, no exhaust-ends. The charging port is under a flap on the driver side and has the logo in orange. The big doors open up to reveal a sharply styled interior.

The cabin is a proper luxurious affair with trim elements in high-quality wood and piano black surfaces. The screens are touch, yes, but they need to be pressed like buttons rather than tapped — and that’s for everything from the climate controls to the drive select modes. Of course, many functions can be managed using the voice control system. The Audi virtual cockpit is standard and has a choice of configurations: Classic, Sport, and e-tron. Classic and Sport offer a traditional two-dial display. The e-tron layout has a centre speedometer display with information on either side, including information about the electric drive system.

That electric drive system in the Audi e-tron 55 quattro has a two-motor set-up — one each for the front and rear axle — for proper quattro functionality the electric way. The front motor is a 125-kW unit good for 170 hp and 247 Nm. The rear motor is a 140-kW unit that makes 190 hp and 314 Nm; as much as the 2.0 TDI motor managed. Together, the two motors in their regular mode produce a combined 265 kW or 360 hp and 561 Nm. That’s good for a dash from zero to 100 km/h in a claimed 6.6 seconds. But there’s more.

The thing with asynchronous motors is that they can increase their output for a brief period. This “boost” mode is available for up to eight seconds during which the front motor kicks out an additional 10 kW and 62 Nm, to make 184 hp and 309 Nm, while the rear one makes 25 kW and 41 Nm more, for 224 hp and 355 Nm. The total peak output is 300 kW, or 408 hp, and 664 Nm. Now, zero to 100 km/h is dismissed in just 5.7 seconds; 0.9 of a second quicker. The top speed, in either case, is limited to 200 km/h.

Audi e-tron 55 quattro

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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