Review

2020 Audi E-Tron Drivers' Notes | Normal, for better or worse

We finally get our mitts on Audi's highly anticipated electric crossover

  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • The 2020 Audi E-Tron electric luxury crossover in the mountains.
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • The 2020 Audi E-Tron electric luxury crossover in the mountains.
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • The 2020 Audi E-Tron electric luxury crossover in the mountains.
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • The 2020 Audi E-Tron electric luxury crossover in the mountains.
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • The 2020 Audi E-Tron electric luxury crossover in the mountains.
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • The 2020 Audi E-Tron electric luxury crossover in the mountains.
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • The 2020 Audi E-Tron electric luxury crossover in the mountains.
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Audi
Autoblog Rating
8

It's an electric Audi crossover that tries its best to act like every other Audi crossover on sale. The interior is whisper quiet, and the power is plenty sufficient. Audi's first electric crossover shows itself to be a worthy candidate for consideration.

Industry
8.5
  • Engine
    2 Electric Motors
  • 0-60 Time
    5.5 Seconds
  • Drivetrain
    AWD
  • Curb Weight
    5,754 LBS
  • Seating
    2+3
  • Cargo
    57 Cu. Ft.
  • MPG
    74 MPGe
  • Base Price
    $75,795
  • As Tested Price
    $89,190

The 2020 Audi E-Tron is the first in what’s meant to be an ever-increasing lineup of electric Audis. If this crossover is anything to go by, it’s a lineup we’re going to like. For the time being, the E-Tron is alone.

Many Audi dealerships have E-Trons ready for potential buyers to test drive at this point, but we lived with this particular tester for a whole week. Like every other E-Tron for sale today, this one has two electric motors combining for 355 horsepower and 414 pound-feet of torque. In Sport mode the output increases to 402 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque — it’s rather noticeable from behind the wheel. That’ll chuck this EV crossover to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, but the immediate torque makes it feel quicker. Range is limited to 204 miles on a full charge, according to the EPA rating. Audi allows the 95-kWh battery pack to only use 88 percent of its capacity, so range is down when directly comparing to the other EVs in the segment like the Jaguar I-Pace or Tesla Model X.

Audi prices the E-Tron from $75,795, including the $995 destination charge. Our E-Tron cost a fair amount more at $89,190. Yikes. The big additions are the Prestige trim/package ($7,000) and the Edition One package ($4,900). Desirable luxuries like a full leather interior, ventilated and massaging front seats, a head-up display and Audi’s full suite of driver assistance systems comes with the Prestige. Then the Edition One package includes a bunch of fancy appearance-related add-ons like the orange brake calipers, 21-inch bi-color wheels and “Volcano Gray Ash” interior trim. Our advice? Save your money unless you have nothing better to spend $4,900 on. Of course, the $7,500 tax credit needs to be accounted for here, as every E-Tron sold in the foreseeable future will qualify.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: The Audi E-Tron has clearly been designed to feel as much like a normal car as possible, and that's disappointing to me as a fan of the unique driving experience an electric car can deliver. Let me explain. Many electric cars allow you to adjust drive settings settings to alter the sensitivity of throttle response, as well as regenerative braking strength. The latter can be strong enough that you can do most of your slowing down without touching the mechanical brakes. On the E-Tron, even in the sportiest, most aggressive settings, the throttle is seriously smoothed out. You won't be getting neck-snapping torque and chirping tires. And the maximum regenerative braking feels equivalent to what you might get from engine braking in a manual-transmission vehicle, which will slow you down a bit, but one-pedal driving isn't an option.

There is of course something to be said for an electric car that makes the transition from a gas car as seamless and uncomplicated as possible. The E-Tron drives exactly the way you would expect a conventional Audi to drive, just with less noise, less vibration, and even smoother acceleration. That said, it's a shame it lacks the customization ability of other EVs.

2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer
2020 Audi E-Tron
  • 2020 Audi E-Tron
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I am absolutely in love with this car, and could absolutely see myself seeking this out on the used market in the coming years. It's super-handsome without being awkward or gaudy, with a ton of attention to detail (check out the trick lighting and the smooth opening of the charge port, for instance). It's plenty quick, with a sport mode, and a repeatable and addicting boost function rocketing you to extralegal speeds within seconds. It's smooth, quiet and comfortable. It feels like it's held together by some newly discovered Newtonian force — our tester exhibited exactly zero squeaks, rattles or other disturbances. Materials are up to Audi's usual exacting standards. The back seat's roomy and easily accommodates a car seat. I'll let some of the other guys get into the other details, but, Good Lord, I'm smitten.

The one thing that took me a while to get used to is Audi's new touchscreen infotainment system. I kept having to retrain myself to apply pressure rather than just give a light tap, but the haptic response helps to let you know your input has registered. A second screen below the infotainment one is home to the E-Tron's climate controls. While I usually prefer some hard buttons for this type of thing, this is fairly well-executed, and looks nice and clean (apart from the visible finger smudges when turned off). It fits the car's whole crisp aesthetic. Thankfully, Audi kept a physical knob for volume control.

Assistant Editor, Zac Palmer: The Audi E-Tron weighs as much as a full-size truck at 5,754 pounds. Any vehicle nearing 6,000 pounds must be a dynamic disaster, right? Wrong. Nothing I’ve driven that is this heavy has handled as well as the E-Tron does. Thank the battery pack in the floor for pretty much all of it. This crossover hangs onto corners creepily well and feels stable doing it — there aren’t many crossovers this size that can say the same. Take it out of Dynamic mode and the ride softens to that of any regular, super-comfortable Audi SUV. The silence is the luxury bow on top.

From a utility standpoint, the E-Tron is only OK. I was disappointed by the frunk, as other EVs offer much more space. Not only are you limited to a little parcel shelf, but you access it the same way as if you were trying to get to the engine bay of a gasoline-engined car. Pull the lever by the pedal box, then struggle trying to find the latch that allows the hood to pop up. This should be done by the keyfob or something to make this storage area less of a pain to access. The hatch area is typical Audi from a storage perspective — plenty of room, and it even has a little underfloor storage compartment. None of your backseat passengers will be complaining for lack of space, either.

Audi e-tron Information


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