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The Top Gear car review: Audi e-tron
Running costs and reliability
£60,560 is a competitive starting price for a full-size electric SUV. The e-tron is more practical than an I-Pace, more reassuringly familiar than a Model X and looks more interesting than a Q7 both inside and out. It’s not radical enough to appeal to early adopters (compare the camera mirrors here to Tesla’s falcon wing doors – not much wow factor in comparison), but the electric car conversation has moved on from there now.
You can spend more on your e-tron. Going from the 50 and its 71kWh battery to the 55 and its 95kWh battery costs around £11,000. Worth it? Not for the marginally better 0-62mph time and higher top speed. But for the extra few miles of range? Only you can answer that. £11k is a lot of money, mind, and how often do you drive more than 200 miles a day?
Technik is the base model, and it has pretty much everything you need – LED headlights, air suspension, the big infotainment system and many active safety systems. Next comes Sport (wireless phone charging, better wheels), S-Line (fancy headlights, better suspension, more leather), Black Edition (S-Line, but with black trim) and Vorsprung (all-singing-all-dancing).
The S starts at £87,000, and the premium isn’t worth it in our eyes. Go for the 55 and a few choice options.
Running costs – at least as far as fuel goes – should better internal combustion. Small, but potentially useful point – the e-tron features charge points on the front wings both sides. They accept charge at up to 150kW for the 55 and 120kW for the 50 (a Tesla supercharger runs at 250kW). Find a suitable public charger, and best-case you’ll get an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes or so.
You’re more likely to be charging at home, though. Absolutely take advantage of Audi’s offer to throw in a 7kW wallbox when you buy an e-tron. You REALLY don’t want to be charging one of these things with a three-pin plug. Could take actual days, while a 7kW box will deliver a full charge overnight.
Indications from our drive suggest you should expect a little over 200 miles between charges from the 55, and 160 miles or so from the 50. OK, but perhaps not good enough for family holidays. Imagine the scene in the car at a service station if the charge points are occupied/faulty.
Natural rival is Merc’s EQC. Click here to see how the e-tron compares to the Merc, plus the Jaguar I-Pace. BMW’s next step from the i3 and i8, the iNext is further out (2021, though the electric X3 has just landed) and looks the cleverer and more radical. But clever and radical do not find favour with a mainstream audience.