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The Top Gear car review: Audi e-tron
Running costs and reliability
£71,495 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. The base model is well equipped, but stepping up to the £82,240 Launch Edition brings in 21-inch wheels, adaptive cruise, Matrix LED headlights, remote climate control, electric steering column, panoramic roof and those virtual door mirrors.
The first 30 cars into the UK will be in what’s called Edition 1 spec. That’s £89,490. The changes are mostly cosmetic, including exclusive Antigua Blue paint, although a Bang & Olufsen stereo and acoustic glazing are featured.
It’s clearly a car the market wants and believes will do well. There are 1,000 pre-orders for the car in the UK, 20,000 globally. Residual values are predicted by CAP at 62 per cent after 3yrs/30,000 miles (I-Pace 58 per cent, Model X 50 per cent) and 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 (a Tesla supercharger runs at 120kw), meaning 80 per cent charge can be achieved in 30 minutes. You’re more likely to be charging at home, though, probably at 11kw, although Audi offers an optional 22kw fast charger.
Audi claims a range of 248 miles from the 95kwh battery. It would go further if it weighed less (the next generation PPE platform cars will be lighter). Indications from our drive suggest you should expect around 200 miles between charges. 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. The Ionity network (the joint high-speed charging project between the VW Group, Ford, Mercedes and BMW) is expanding fast (5 new stations every week), but fast enough?
Natural rival is Merc’s EQC, due next year. It’s the same size, shape and philosophy. BMW’s next step from the i3 and i8, the iNext is further out (2021, although there should be an electric X3 sooner) and looks the cleverer and more radical. But clever and radical do not find favour with a mainstream audience.