Audi launches electric SUV in Tesla’s backyard, with assist from Amazon

Darnell Taylor
September 20, 2018

The e-tron and its forthcoming competitors will appeal to consumers who are curious about electric vehicles but nervous about reliability and dealer support, said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book.

The Audi e-tron midsize SUV will be offered in the United States next year at a starting price of $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit. Audi also said it would significantly expand its range of plug-in hybrids.

The small SUV will face tough competition from the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC but it has all the right credentials in the practical family auto stakes with five seats, 600 litres of boot space and a further 60 litres of storage space under the bonnet.

While the E-tron doesn't look dissimilar to other SUVs in the Audi range, the aerodynamics have been key in the design and engineering process.

Joining a growing number of luxury automakers, Audi unveiled a new all-electric SUV. A new electric generation of the brand's quattro all-wheel-drive system, meanwhile, promises "excellent traction and dynamics".

What the five-seat premium SUV also will have, though, is the same 0-to-60 (0-97 km) time as a 2017 Audi A3 sedan (5.5 seconds) and the lowest top speed 124 miles per hour (200 kph) of any modern Audi except the 1984 Audi Coupe (116 mph). Electric motors included in it is much more than performance. "The electric SUV taps its maximum recuperation potential in combination with the integrated electrohydraulic brake control system".

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As with other Audi vehicles, the driver will also be able to select different driving modes, from comfortable to sporty, that will alter suspension stiffness, steering responsiveness and how aggressively the SUV accelerates. The range is expected to be 250 miles - but that's only in Europe.

But does the e-tron offer enough to sway you towards an electric SUV over the likes of a Q5 or Q7? With these stations, vehicle can charge 80 per cent in just 30 minutes. The e-tron is Audi's answer to both the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUVs.

The company pulled the covers off the five-passenger, all-wheel-drive e-tron on Monday night in San Francisco.

Prices for the e-tron will start from $74,800 for a Premium Plus model, which includes niceties like a premium audio system, heated and cooled front seats, and a panoramic sunroof as standard.

Moreover, customers can opt for additional features including Audi's driver assistance package, massage seats, a heads-up display, and power door closers and more for $81,800. It has same features as Premium Plus and Prestige.

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