What's it like?
Audi’s impeccably sharp 12.3in digital instrument display comes as standard, as does the latest MMI dual-touchscreen infotainment system. Virtual door mirrors can optionally replace conventional items to improve aerodynamic efficiency. Meanwhile, one of the 150kW public chargers that are beginning to be rolled out across the UK will top up the car's 95kWh battery pack to 80% capacity in as little as half an hour. Fully juiced, the E-tron should be able to travel up to 241 miles, according to the WLTP test cycle.
Admittedly, that’s not as high as the I-Pace’s official range of 292 miles and perhaps still a wee bit optimistic out in the real world. Our test route covered 118 miles on a mixture of Yorkshire A-roads and B-roads, with a dash of town driving thrown in for good measure. At its conclusion, the dashboard readout informed us that the E-tron was still good for another 65 miles or so. So you’re probably looking at a real range of about 200 miles, which is roughly what we achieved when we road tested the I-Pace last year.
Where the E-tron really impresses, though, is in ride comfort and rolling refinement. Unlike the I-Pace, the E-tron rides on adaptive air suspension as standard, and because it’s not gunning to be quite as sharp-handling or dynamically exciting, it doesn’t suffer from the same sense of agitation that sometimes troubles the Jaguar on challengingly surfaced stretches of Tarmac. Optional acoustic glazing for the E-tron's side windows makes for an impressively hushed, serene interior, where road roar is present but distant. A slippery shape (the E-tron has a drag coefficient of just 0.28Cd) helps minimise wind noise, too. It’s an impressively relaxing car to drive.
With nearly 2.5 tonnes of mass to lug around, the E-tron isn’t particularly balletic, but it grips strongly and steers with a reassuring sense of purpose, if little in the way of feedback. It’s very Audi in this regard: planted, stable and surefooted, if lacking a touch in outright engagement. It’s quick, too, what with a maximum combined output of 402bhp and 490lb ft from its two electric motors in Boost mode and 355bhp and 414lb ft under normal conditions. Even with the lower output on tap, it’s still heroically quick off the mark.