My E-tron isn’t the fully loaded Launch Edition, but even the regular one is classy and luxurious inside, with a configurable digital instrument panel and a pair of sharp, responsive, central touchscreens for the infotainment and secondary functions such as the climate control.
Although the interior is very high-tech, it’s remarkably close to what you’d find in any other recent high-end Audi, so there’s nothing too intimidating about it. Having said that, I haven’t seen a gear selector like the E-tron’s before. It’s a smooth, flat slab of metal that you operate with your fingertips and thumb.
Surprisingly, you have to add the £1950 Tour Pack (which we’ve done) to get extra driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and other collision avoidance systems. Our car has conventional door mirrors rather than the optional camera-based alternatives (sadly) and differs slightly from UK spec in that it has, as individual options, an advanced key for high-security keyless entry (normally part of the £1895 Comfort and Sound Pack) and super-clear Audi Beam LED puddle lights (otherwise available on the Launch Edition only).
Despite the question mark over its efficiency, the E-tron is such an interesting and significant car that I consider myself lucky to be running one. I can already say with confidence that it’s one of the smoothest, quietest and plushest-riding cars I’ve driven, aided by the optional double-glazed side windows we’ve got on our car.
And If I’m going to run a luxury SUV, I’m glad it’s an electric one that doesn’t put out any CO2 or pollutants and will save me a fortune in fuel bills. The fact that the E-tron seemingly won’t go as far on a charge as its rivals might not matter when all of its other qualities are taken into account. This isn’t just any electric car, after all. It’s an electric Audi.
After a succession of EVs that have been deliberately different and all too keen to shout about being battery powered, the E-tron is refreshingly normal. It’s a luxury car first and an electric one second, fitting right in with the rest of Audi’s range – but, given the price, it’ll be interesting to see if this subtlety is so endearing at the end the test.
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Audi E-tron 55 quattro prices and specification
Prices: List price new £68,020 (after £3500 government grant) List price now £68,060 Price as tested £74,725 Dealer value now £63,760 Private value now £60,010 Trade value now £57,125 (part exchange)
Options:Tour Pack (£1950), Advanced Key (£850), fourzone deluxe automatic climate control (£825), Glacier White metallic paint (£750), acoustic side window glazing (£525), rear side airbags and illuminated seatbelt buckles (£475), privacy glass (£475), aluminium roof rails (£425), Audi Music Interface, rear (£175), Audi Beam (£150), Storage and Luggage Pack (£125)
Fuel consumption and range: Official range 237 miles Test range 220 miles Test best 2.9 miles/kWh Test average 2.3 miles /kWh
Tech highlights: 0-62mph 5.7sec (boost mode) Top speed 124mph Engine Twin electric motors Max power 402bhp (boost mode) Max torque 490lb ft (boost mode) Transmission single-speed automatic Battery capacity 95kWh Boot capacity 660-1725 litres Wheels 9.0Jx20in, alloy Tyres 255/50 R20 Bridgestone Alenza 001 Kerb weight 2565kg