Audi e-tron SUV - Engines, drive & performance
Very fast in a straight line, but heavy Audi e-tron is untidy in corners
As with conventionally powered Audis, the e-tron features Audi drive select, a system that provides driver-selected profiles that control how the car feels and responds to steering and accelerator inputs.
It also controls the air suspension and the settings of its adaptive damping. One clever feature is that the e-tron can reduce its ride height by up to 76mm at motorway speeds, with the aim of reducing energy-sapping wind resistance to improve battery range. The regenerative braking is unobtrusive in operation, too. Unusually, it engages when the brake pedal is depressed, with the main hydraulic disc brakes only deploying when heavy braking is required.
All four wheels are powered via what Audi refers to as a ‘new generation’ of its quattro four-wheel drive system. it's able to vary the power that reaches each pair of driven wheels, reacting to road conditions in a fraction of a second. Meanwhile, stability and a 'sporty character' are claimed benefits of the low, central battery location. There's no disguising the e-tron's weight, though – it tips the scales at around 2.5 tonnes, which is more than 350kg heavier than the Jaguar I-Pace. As a result, the Audi EV feels rather unwieldy in tight bends. There's no doubt that the four-wh0.eel drive and low centre of gravity helps it to feel sure-footed, but enthusiastic drivers will still find more reward from an I-Pace.
Audi e-tron electric motor
The Audi e-tron is powered by two electric motors – one for each axle – that provide a total of 355bhp. However, when a sports mode is selected, you can engage a 'boost' mode for up to eight seconds, temporarily increasing total power to 402bhp.
That's enough to allow 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds when measured against the clock, but there's a sensation of even sharper acceleration because power is delivered instantaneously in typical electric car fashion. It's not as neck-snapping as the response in a Tesla Model X, but is less hesitant than a conventional Audi SUV with an automatic gearbox. A top speed of 124mph is said to be possible for up to a minute, which reportedly makes it possible to perform repeated full-acceleration runs to top speed several times with no noticeable loss of performance.