AFTER my first drive in Audi’s e-tron it was hard not to question whether a large premium SUV is the right use of a whopping 95kWh of battery pack.
But while a handful of electric vehicles will cover comfortably more than the 237-miles range claimed by the e-tron, few will do so in such comfortable fashion.
While sparking contemplation of what to call a not-especially-efficient EV (eventually settling on “Amp Eaters”), the e-tron manages to tick a host of boxes as a new generation of premium vehicle.
The e-tron 55 quattro’s £70,855 price puts it head-to-head with a well-specced, turbodiesel powered Q7 or BMW X5.
But it is more than just the ability to save a fortune in fuel and, possibly, BIK tax that divides the e-tron from the sector’s more conventional choices and EVs like the Tesla Model X.
Adaptive dampers deliver neat handling for what is a 2.5 tonne SUV and a better ride than its key rivals and allow the suspension to be raised by 50mm for soft-road applications.
The e-tron will also tow up to 1,800kg.
But it’s the familiar high quality Audi interior recipe that may encourage some to contemplate this particular move to an EV.
Just as the exterior blends cues from Audi’s Q7 and Q8 SUVs, a spacious interior shares their dualscreen MMI infotainment system, which comprises a primary 10.2-inch screen above a smaller 8.6-inch unit serving up super sharp graphics and intuitive functionality to keep the dashboard clutter-free.
Trim quality is high and the leather/Alcantara heated seats looked the part and provided support in the right places.
Overhead, there was an optional (£1,475) panoramic roof.
As you might imagine, refinement is impressive.
The e-tron makes very quiet progress as a large rear motor and smaller front motor power all four wheels to the tune of 408PS and 664Nm of torque - enough to reach 62mph in 5.7 seconds and 124mph.
Similarly impressive is the etron’s ability to charge up to 80 per cent in 45 minutes with motorway rapid charging or just 30 minutes with the incoming generation of 150kW chargers.
An overnight charge on a more regular 11kW wallbox will take around 8.5 hours.
It might not be the most efficient EV out there, but as far as new EV sector entrants that are likely to encourage people to make the shift away from diesel and petrol vehicles go, the e-tron is a success.
Audi’s e-tron has been accurately aimed right at the heart of a lucrative market sector.