It’s not cheap, but this new 2019 Audi e-tron SUV is the first all-electric Audi ever with an interior to rival flagships – and when it comes to the UAE next summer it’ll arrive with those world-first virtual mirrors
Nobody said electrification was going to be cheap, nor that it would work at all, especially in times when conventional combustion-engined SUV sales are going through the roof. Car manufacturers are going ahead and fixing what ain’t broken anyway.
It’s all about the entrepreneurial spirit, risk taking, leading the charge, and gaining followers – but for more on that guff click here and check out Motormouth’s feature from the Audi e-tron launch in San Francisco and how that figures in the bigger story.
If you’re here, you’re here specifically for the first all-electric production Audi ever, the new e-tron SUV that’s coming to the UAE next summer priced at around AED350,000, although it’s on sale by the end of the year in the US from $75,000. And right off the bat we should calm your nerves because, yes, the industry-first virtual mirrors are homologated for use in the Middle East market, so you will definitely be the coolest mom in Jumeirah.
Since Audi had to get going with the whole plan to introduce 12 new electric cars by 2025, an SUV was as good a starting point as any, so they got to hammering away with an Audi Q5 and ended up with this 2019 e-tron.
Of course that’s a gross simplification of this all-new model, powered by a floor-mounted battery pack and driven by two-electric motors, one on each axle to keep the quattro bloodline pure. In optimal conditions you get a system total of 400 horsepower and over 640Nm of torque and 400km of driving range, though by Audi’s own admission real-world use is likely to halve that in extreme circumstances.
And those virtual mirrors aren’t just a me-first gimmick to beat everyone else to market with this technology – aerodynamicists have been dreaming about deleting exterior mirrors for years, and since aero plays such an important role in extracting maximum range out of an EV, Audi prioritised low-drag when it came to exterior design to boost efficiency figures.
Aero compromises and all, the Audi e-tron doesn’t look too shabby in the least, with a low-mounted faux grille (only about one-third of that huge grille is active, with flaps that open and close to make the car more slippery through the air or cool the powertrain) and a sloping roofline flattering the proportions.
You’ll also notice the trick LEDs front and rear, 20-inch standard wheels, and an interior that looks as nice as the inside of an A8. Mind you, the price is close to an Audi A8 or Q8 too, so Audi has tried to ensure the performance is on point – the e-tron SUV will do zero to 100km/h in less than six seconds, which is hot-hatch quick, and it’ll go on to a top speed of 200km/h.
Charging the car at home will take the average owner from four to eight hours depending on output (Audi does offer optional superchargers) to get a full battery from flat, and a myAudi app will be available for UAE owners from 2020 after the car goes on sale regionally in Q3 next year..