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2019 Audi e-tron Overview
For such a technology-focused brand, Audi has recently embraced electrification in its production cars. 2019 brings forth the e-tron, the brand's first fully electric crossover.
The e-tron fits neatly into the midsize SUV category. It fits in between Audi’s own Q5 and Q7 crossovers and is about the same length as the BMW X5, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and Porsche Cayenne. And plenty of Audi’s crossover DNA carries over into the e-tron, from the long hood to the strong shoulder line with prominent wheel bulges to the uninterrupted side glass and wide D–pillars. Still, there are some subtleties to point out the e-tron’s special status within the lineup: The octagonal “Singleframe” grille is done up in satin silver, and each headlight bezel features four stacked LED bars meant to evoke a battery charge-state indicator. You’ll also find some neat aerodynamic tricks that make it ultra-efficient, like bumper creases, wind-optimized alloy wheels, and a flat underbody pan.
Inside, there’s a strong geometric theme in the wraparound dashboard, which gets an interactive-LCD instrument panel, cockpit, infotainment system, and climate control panel. The center stack is canted ever so slightly toward the driver, and all physical buttons are positioned in ergonomically friendly areas. All five occupants will find themselves held in well-upholstered seats with luxurious materials. The e-tron offers 28.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats upright, which expands to 57 when they’re folded. Thanks to the lack of a driveshaft, the center-rear position gets a flat floor instead of the usual center hump. Audi also states that it has taken painstaking measures to drown out unwanted road noises, which tend to be more noticeable in electric vehicles since they lack the constant hum of an engine.
As far as propulsion goes, the e-tron makes use of an electric motor at each axle and a large 95 kilowatt-hour battery that catapults it to 60 miles per hour in just 5.5 seconds. The standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system engages solely the rear motor under most conditions in the interest of efficiency but will engage the front motor when you need additional traction or stronger acceleration. It also benefits from an aggressive three-stage regenerative braking system that’s responsible for capturing up to 30 percent of the car’s range, and the brake-control system imperceptibly decides whether to use the regenerative braking or the friction brakes when decelerating. You also get four-mode stability control that can raise or lower the body for optimal ride height. Even charging the e-tron is a breeze, since a public 150 kW charging station can bring the battery to an 80 percent charge in as little as 30 minutes. Meanwhile, all-important range and horsepower figures aren’t available at the time of this writing, but we’d expect them to be competitive with similarly sized electric crossovers, such as the Jaguar I-PACE and Tesla Model X.
The basic Premium Plus grade includes 20-inch wheels, a pre-conditioning climate control system, LED exterior and interior lighting, adaptive headlights, navigation, a 3D Bang & Olufsen sound system with 16 speakers, 12-way power heated and cooled front seats, leather upholstery, illuminated aluminum door sills, and a panoramic sunroof. The Prestige Package includes rear sunshades, upgraded seats with massage, power-closing doors, high-end leather upholstery, passenger memory settings, and an air-quality package with an ionizer. Finally, Audi will produce a 999-unit run of First Edition models to commemorate the e-tron’s introduction. First Edition models get special 21-inch wheels, a unique Daytona Grey pearl paint, orange brake calipers, black leather with gray contrast stitching, ash natural wood inlays, LED puddle lamps with “edition one” projection, and a night vision assistant.
The e-tron doesn’t leave you wanting for safety options, either. A top-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert come standard. Meanwhile, the Prestige and First Edition trims include a driver-assistance package that bundles adaptive cruise control, lane-change assist, parking assist, and a 360-degree camera system.
The Audi e-tron is the brand’s first foray into a mass-market, fully electric vehicle, and it’s clear that the designers, product planners, and engineers all put plenty of thought into it. Look for fuel economy, range, and power figures closer to the e-tron’s rollout in the second quarter of 2019. As of September 2018, you can configure and reserve an e-tron with a $1,000 deposit.
Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.
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