2019 Audi E-Tron: And Then There Were Four… Premium Electric Crossovers

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2019 audi e tron and then there were four 8230 premium electric crossovers

Audi found itself preempted in a number of ways last night. Not only did the San Francisco unveiling of the brand’s new electric crossover take place not too far from the home of Tesla’s well-established Model X, it also comes as Jaguar’s I-Pace EV prepares to pop up at U.S. dealers. Meanwhile, rival Mercedes-Benz saw fit to debut its EQC electric crossover just two weeks prior.

The crossover’s side-view cameras — pods on the end of thin arms, replacing a traditional mirror (and not legal in the U.S.) — would have been revolutionary, had Lexus not revealed its Japanese-market ES last week. And, if that wasn’t enough, Elon Musk choose Monday night to reveal the hapless individual slated to become the first SpaceX tourist. The lucky bidder will be fired around the moon.

All of this took away from the unveiling of a conventionally styled utility vehicle tailor made to avoid striking terror into the hearts of non-EV fans.

The E-Tron, which arrives in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2019, shouldn’t alarm anyone, unless they’re thinking of long and winding road trips into the great unknown. There’s two electric motors on tap, one per axle, and a 95 kWh battery pack funnelling juice fore and aft. Naturally, all four wheels see a helping of electric torque.

It’s not the fastest EV crossover out there, nor is it the longest-ranged. Audi claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds — a sprint time no former Tiguan or Compass owner would complain about. The automaker’s stated range of just under 250 miles on the WLTP cycle probably translates into something around 220 miles on the EPA test course, which may prompt cries of “Not enough!” Rear cargo volume measuring 28.5 cubic feet places it just ahead of the EQC, but well behind the Model X. Starting price in the U.S. is $74,800, plus destination.

The E-Tron is, however, a combination of the elements Audi feels it can best sell to the buying public, traditional bodystyle and outward appearance included. Sure, it could have gone wild, presenting a roadgoing vision of the future, but how many people would that attract, versus the number it would repel? Two large touch screens (10.1 inches and 8.6 inches) that fill the entirety of the center stack should placate tech nerds once nestled inside — assuming they’re not holding out for the only “real” EV, also known as a Tesla.

As we’re still a ways away from E-Tron deliveries, Audi isn’t saying exactly what to expect in terms of curb weight and power. However, past snippets released by the automaker reveal that in “boost” mode (ie – throttle to the floor), the vehicle unlocks extra electrons to the tune of roughly 400 horsepower and 490 lb-ft. In normal driving, however, the rear motor handles the thrust duties to conserve range. Dig into the accelerator too much, dive into a corner too fast, or come across a patch of slippery pavement, and the front motor comes online to manage forward progress. Audi claims up to 90 percent of braking can occur without using the friction brakes. Like most EVs, you’ll be able to dial up the desired amount of regenerative braking (and energy capture).

You’ll also be able to raise and lower the E-Tron by three inches, lessening drag at highway speeds ot keeping the underside free of pointy things while venturing off-road. The highway lowering occurs without driver intervention.

As a perk to buyers (orders opened Monday), Audi’s offering 1,000 kWh of free charging at Electrify America stations. You know that entity — it’s the one Audi’s parent, Volkswagen Group, was forced to create in the wake of the diesel affair. The charging network isn’t fleshed out at the moment. At a DC fast-charge plug, Audi claims the E-Tron can take on an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes. Obviously, charging is an overnight thing when hooked to a 240-volt home outlet.

With the E-Tron, Audi created a somewhat conservative challenger ready to do battle in the premium EV utility field. Soon, there’ll be an electric BMW X3 entering the fray, with Hyundai and Ford crossover EVs positioned in the mainstream subcompact and compact classes, respectively, before too long.

[Images: Audi]

Join the conversation
2 of 18 comments
  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 18, 2018

    I'll tell you the things I notice that I like. -Slats in the wheels giving a cool 80s vibe. -Gold badge e-tron on the filler door. -Interior design looks nice and clean, and I like a 4-spoke wheel.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Sep 18, 2018

    Another boring SUV. Next please.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.