Shortly after announcing that the all-electric Audi e-Tron SUV goes into production, the four-rings has presented its first battery-powered series production model here in San Francisco, USA. Sporty, practical and suitable for everyday use is the name of the game with the new Audi e-Tron.

Visually the e-Tron did not differ too far from a regular Audi SUV. Styling cues like the Singleframe grille (with active shutter grille), slim LED headlamps, bold hood lines and familiar silhouette shows that Audi wants the e-Tron to be seen as a mainstream model. The e-Tron also features a rear taillamp that extends the length of the tailgate similar to the ones on the Q8.

Sitting on the Group’s MLB modular electric platform for premium electric vehicles, the e-Tron measures 4,901 mm in length, 1,935 mm in width, 1,616 mm in height with a wheelbase of 2,928 mm. Put the e-Tron on a weighing scale and you’ll read 2.49 tonnes – 700 kg comes from the 95 kWh battery pack alone. Despite its weight, engineers have harnessed the dark arts of aerodynamics to achieve extended driving range.

For starters, the standard specification e-Tron achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28 thanks to its active shutter grille, flat underbody and aerodynamically optimised 19-inch wheels. With the optional virtual exterior mirror that uses a camera mounted on the slim housings that feeds a clear image of the side view to the high-contrast OLED displays by the door cards, brings the drag coefficient down to 0.27. The best result in the SUV segment.

Inside, the e-Tron gets the latest-generation Audi cabin styling with dual display screens that make up the centre console as well as an LCD instrument display. The gear selector is surprisingly conventionally shaped with your usual P, R, N, D/S layout. Only when you look closely you’ll find an e-Tron designation on the upper dashboard as well as the virtual exterior mirror displays on either side of the doors you’ll find that this is no ordinary Audi SUV.

Audi says the e-Tron can swallow up to 660 litres of cargo in the boot and with the rear seats folded down, that space extends to 1,725 litres. There is also a neat little 60-litre frunk to store away the vehicle tool kit and mobile charger cable. Other equipment on the e-Tron includes a panoramic sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control with ionizer and aromatization as well as ventilated seats with massage function.

Driving the e-Tron SUV is a dual-electric motor set up, one on each axle to give a combined output of 265 kW (360 hp) and 561 Nm of torque. This allows the electric SUV to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.6 seconds and the electric motors can deliver peak power consistently for 60 seconds or until the e-Tron hits its governed top speed of 200 km/h.

Shifting the gear selector into S, the driver can active Boost Mode which momentarily (8 seconds) raises the output of the electric motors to 300 kW (408 hp) and 664 Nm of torque. In this maximum output configuration, the e-Tron will complete the century sprint in 5.7 seconds.

As standard, the e-Tron SUV rides on air suspension that varies the ride height according to road conditions and speed to allow the SUV to trek rough terrains while maintaining the low centre of gravity for better stability and aerodynamics.

The e-Tron comes with 11 kW AC chargers as standard that can fully charge its 95-kWh battery in eight and a half hours when plugged into a 230-volt household outlet. From 2019 onwards, the e-Tron can be ordered with the connect charging system that doubles the charger power to 22 kW. On full charge, the e-Tron is estimated to cover up to 400 km of driving range based on the WLTP test cycle.

Prices for the Audi e-Tron starts from US$74,800 stretching up to US$86,700 for the limited Edition One model that adds an Antigua Blue exterior colour, virtual exterior mirrors, 21-inch forged wheels, Audi e-Tron Edition One puddle lights, orange brake callipers, sport seats and other goodies.

The global premiere of the all-electric e-Tron is a timely one as their arch-rival, Mercedes-Benz has also recently presented to the world their version of electric mobility in the form of the EQC 400 SUV. The future is slowly but surely moving towards a quieter albeit environmentally friendly one, but which side of the camp you sit? The four rings, three-pointed star or Tesla?


IMAGE GALLERY

Audi e-Tron Global Premiere in San Francisco

Audi e-Tron Edition One


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Adrian Chia
He believes that the perfect remedy to Monday blues is a mixture of 4 wheels, clear roads and a pinch of twisty tarmac. A hot hatch is the icing on the cake.