09/12/2021

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The car that cares

2021 Audi e-tron 55 quattro India review, test drive

We drove the Audi e-tron SUV in 2019, the very same yr it was scheduled to be launched in India. Nevertheless, selected supply chain constraints, adopted by pandemic-linked delays intended that this complete-electrical Audi SUV shed its initially-mover advantage to the Mercedes EQC, which launched in 2020, and the Jaguar I-Speed that launched earlier this yr. These delays, nonetheless, could be a blessing in disguise for Audi, as industry recognition and acceptance of EVs in India is substantially bigger now than it ever was. To start out with, Audi will launch two versions of this all-electrical SUV – e-tron fifty five and e-tron fifty five Sportback – each of which attract ability out of a 95kWh battery. The concentration of this evaluation will be the previous.

Audi e-tron fifty five quattro: what is it like?

The e-tron is dependent on a heavily modified MLB Evo system, which also underpins the likes of the Q5 and Q7. This five-seater e-tron is very similar in dimensions to the 7-seater Q7, stretching around 5m in duration, just about 2m in width, and two.9m in wheelbase, hence holding a unique size advantage around the level of competition.

The enclosed hexagonal place up entrance mimics Audi’s traditional grille style.

Audi has adopted a traditional styling approach (inside and out) with the e-tron, so when it appears to be like sharp, it does not scream ‘electric’ in its style language. This has been intentionally carried out to make buyers sense at dwelling as they changeover from an internal combustion motor auto to an electrical auto. Grabbing the limelight upfront is a substantial, enclosed hexagonal place completed in gray that mimics a standard Audi entrance grille. The trendy headlamps and 20-inch wheels incorporate some oomph to its style, and for India, we get a standard outdoors mirror setup, somewhat than the futuristic, albeit gimmicky twin external digicam setup, which we experienced in its intercontinental iteration.

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Lurking guiding the alloys are substantial eighteen-inch discs which deliver impressive halting ability. 

Uniquely, Audi has supplied a charging provision on possibly facet of the car, and what’s cool is the way the flap slides down electrically at the press of a button. Supplying away its all-electrical identity are the eco-friendly selection plates (mandated for EVs in India), and orange highlights on the e-tron badge and the brake calipers.

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Uniquely, the e-tron gets a charging provision on each sides, on the entrance fender. 

Audi e-tron fifty five quattro: what is it like inside?

Continuing the traditional styling philosophy from the outdoors, phase into the e-tron’s cabin and you will right away establish style traits and areas shared with other Audis, which is no terrible detail. The sheer excellent and healthy-end on the inside are major-notch, and there is not a one small-hire place in this Audi’s cabin. The uncluttered, layered dashboard properly wraps itself about the cabin, flowing seamlessly into the door pads. The most putting element is the twin display setup – 1 for the infotainment and the other for the climate manage, each of which are angled toward the driver. The screens have very clear displays, as very well as an alternative for haptic responses (gentle vibration) when ‘pressed’. What lifts the futuristic sense of the e-tron’s interiors is the fantastic digital cockpit (complete-electronic instrument cluster), which is 1 of the ideal models about when it comes to display screen excellent and ease of use.

article imageThe style and colours are quite business-like. High-quality and healthy-end are major-notch.

The wide entrance seats have business cushioning and you really don’t sink into them. The dull gray seat color is quite business-like, and brighter inserts or coloured stitching would have livened up the inside. Storage and charging areas in the entrance are aplenty and there is a clever recess place to wirelessly demand your smartphone when placed perpendicularly.

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Broad entrance seats never sense quite plush because of to the business cushioning. 

The rear bench is properly formed, and the backrest is set to a snug angle. The very good news is that, even although the battery pack has been accommodated beneath the floor, the floor is not far too substantial-set, so neither are you seated in an uncomfortably knees-up posture, nor has the headroom been compromised. The seat itself is wide plenty of to accommodate a few travellers abreast and the floor is just about flat the protruding air-con console, nonetheless, hampers knee-home for the center occupant.

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The rear seats are really snug, as is the seating posture.

At 660-litres, the e-tron’s boot is substantial, and the place saver tyre is neatly tucked beneath the boot floor, exactly where there is also an added place to retail outlet the charging cables. What’s a lot more is that, in the absence of an motor less than the bonnet, the entrance has an added trunk or ‘frunk’, exactly where a little tender bag or the charging cables can be stowed.

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At 660-litres, the boot place on supply is impressive.

Audi e-tron fifty five quattro: what characteristics do you get?

The e-tron’s standard feature listing contains 20-inch wheels, Matrix LED headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, Audi’s digital cockpit (completely-electronic instrument cluster), twin screens – 1 for the infotainment and the other for the climate manage – each providing haptic responses, a four-zone climate manage, adaptive air-suspension, wireless charging, wired Android Automobile and Apple CarPlay, and a reverse digicam. Incorporated as a section of its extensive solutions listing are the its electronic Matrix LED headlamps which have a cool trick up their sleeve – in addition to lighting up the street quite very well, these also complete a theatrical gentle demonstrate every time you lock or unlock the auto. The solutions listing also characteristics an on-board air purifier, fragrance, ambient lighting with 30 color solutions, a 16-speaker 705W Bang and Olufsen quality seem program, head-up display screen, tender-closing doors and then some a lot more. Characteristics these types of as ventilated seats, wireless telephone connectivity and related car tech, to identify a couple, are missing completely, the panoramic sunroof does not lengthen all the way guiding, and consumers who look for further and geeky EV-linked information and facts on the screens will be still left a bit brief-changed with the oversimplified displays on supply.

article imageIts panoramic sunroof just isn’t really as huge as some of its rivals.

Audi e-tron fifty five quattro: what is it like to push?

The e-tron fifty five attracts ability from a 95kWh battery pack, which materials vitality to two motors, 1 on every axle. In its sportiest environment, the e-tron generates 408hp/664Nm, 184hp at the entrance axle and 224hp at the rear. But in other modes, the e-tron will make 360hp/561Nm (170hp in the entrance and 190hp at the rear).

Suitable off the bat, you will be amazed by how carefully the electrical motors respond to the flex of your right foot, and you will even forgive Audi for not providing a standard creep operate. Press down a bit a lot more and you will practical experience what quick EV torque usually means. A mere flex of your right foot is plenty of to scoot earlier sluggish-shifting site visitors with the style of gusto you’d least hope from a two.six tonne SUV. Acceleration is potent and linear, and the ease with which the e-tron gathers pace quietly and seamlessly is just about a non-occasion. Curiously, the e-tron emits a whirring-like seem to alert pedestrians and other street consumers of its existence, when on the transfer, by way of external speakers.

article imageIn spite of tipping the scales at two.six tonnes, it provides potent functionality.

Change from D to S and this Audi unleashes the added 48hp/103Nm in overboost method, less than challenging acceleration. When driven flat-out, it gallops from -100kph in a blisteringly quick five.58sec, and with your foot pinned to the floor, it will max out at 207kph.

The e-tron has two configurations for vitality regeneration – handbook and automobile. What’s impressive is how intuitive the automobile method is when you lift-off. Not only does the deceleration sense as all-natural as in an ICE auto, it cleverly allows the car to coastline to maximise the length lined, or it recuperates demand and decelerates, all dependent on the driving design and style and battery state. What’s a lot more is that, if you have to have to get rid of pace, you can tug at the still left paddle, which increases the intensity of regeneration and mimics motor braking in a way that slows the car down.

You can manually convert regeneration off or set it to two preset levels. Curiously, most of the time, even when you do use the brake pedal, the wheel brakes are only referred to as to duty for the duration of quick deceleration, previously mentioned .3g pressure.

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Air-spring at all four corners makes certain a snug and very well-cushioned journey. 

Using on air springs at all four corners, the e-tron soaks up street shocks quite competently, and even sharper edges aren’t really as jarring as you’d have imagined in a car with brief sidewalls and sitting down on 20-inch wheels The push modes change the ride’s softness, and in Ease and comfort and Effectiveness method, it gets appreciably softer, resulting in some float at speeds. The ‘Auto’ method, nonetheless, balances the suspension’s behaviour extremely very well, with managed system actions and no undue pitching or bobbing.

As the e-tron’s 700kg battery pack is tucked beneath the cabin floor, its bodyweight is concentrated reduce down, resulting in a small centre of gravity. That, plus a well balanced fifty:fifty bodyweight distribution at every axle and Audi’s ‘quattro’ program, will make this e-tron sense quite nimble from guiding the wheel, providing enormous levels of grip. Its inert steering, nonetheless, normally takes away from the ‘connected’ sense, but within city confines, house owners will value its lightness, contributing to an uncomplicated-heading push practical experience.

The e-tron holds its have when it comes to panic braking functionality. Outfitted with eighteen-inch disc brakes (entrance and rear), the e-tron sheds pace from 80-0kph, in simply 24.09m, which is amazing for this two.six-tonne behemoth.

Audi e-tron fifty five quattro: assortment and charging

In our standard exams, the e-tron fifty five achieved 350km on a complete demand in the city cycle, and 382km out on the highway. If you are jogging truly small on demand, there is a ‘range mode’ alternative that switches the climate manage off, minimizes ability usage, and boundaries the max pace to 90kph, which can deliver an added 40-60km of driving assortment.

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We examined Audi’s 11kW AC wall box charger far too, which replenished ninety percent of the e-tron’s battery (from 10-a hundred percent) in about 8 several hours. In addition, we also plugged it into a 25kW Tata Ability DC quickly charger, and in a mere 15 minutes, it equipped plenty of demand to incorporate an added twenty five-30km of assortment, for Rs 106. Typical charging costs at dwelling are most likely to be about Rs 750 per demand (-a hundred percent), using into account electrical power value at Rs 8 per unit.

Audi e-tron fifty five quattro: need to you purchase 1?

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In buy to reach Audi’s gross sales concentrate on of two hundred models a yr, not only does the e-tron have to be a quite very good EV, but it will also have to produce as a standard quality SUV. As the latter, it appears to be like the section, it is roomy and useful, the journey is fantastic, and functionality is potent. Being an EV, nonetheless, extensive-length touring will have to have careful setting up, but as an city every day driver, the e-tron is as very good as it gets. A real-earth city assortment of about 350km will make it a lot more than able for the regime site visitors grind, and it goes about accomplishing its career flawlessly. So, if it is an uncomplicated-to-push luxurious SUV you look for, 1 which you will delight in driving devoid of acquiring the slightest guilt of damaging tailpipe emissions, the e-tron will make a powerful scenario. And you will have to shell out about Rs one crore for the privilege.