Car News

Audi Reveals E-Tron Quattro Electric SUV

We've seen the e-tron concept. We've seen the e-tron with camouflage. And now we're finally seeing Audi's e-tron Quattro, the first fully-electric vehicle from the four-ring brand with more than 400 hp and more than 400 km of electric range.

Audi brought attention to the fact that this isn't the first EV by far, comparing it to Muhammad Ali not inventing the knockout or Elvis not inventing rock and roll. But the automaker wants to make the EV its own with the e-tron Quattro. After this one, it plans to bring 20 electrified vehicles to market by 2025 with half being fully electric.

The e-tron Quattro comes with a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. That's about 50 percent more than the Chevrolet Bolt EV and nearly matches the 100 kWh Tesla Model X crossover. Audi says that on the new and more realistic WLTP test cycle, the car offers a range of more than 400 km. The company says, though, that it has the most efficient regenerative braking system around. Which it says means up to 30 percent of total range recuperated from braking energy. A heat pump recovers waste heat from the battery pack to control cabin climate helping to reduce electric drain and maintain range.

The Combined Charging System will allow DC or AC electric charging. Audi says that an 80 percent charge at a 150 kW charger will take around 30 minutes. It will support even faster charging at 350 kW stations once the Electrify Canada network rolls out. 

Motivating the e-tron are a pair of electric motors. One on each axle, that can send power to the wheels that have grip and a system that Audi says is designed to improve handling. Power from those motors is 429 hp, with up to 496 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque available temporarily with an overboost function. Audi says 100 km/h will be reached from a stop in 5.5 seconds and the top speed is limited to 200 km/h. This electric SUV can even tow, with a max trailer rating of 1,818 kg.

It looks, unsurprisingly, like an Audi. The look is very much Q5 or Q7, but with the addition of the more blocked-off grille that comes with the EV. Big turbine wheels and a simple shape, faced by Audi's octagonal nose. Audi says that the large lower rockers are intended to highlight the low-mounted battery pack. The silent engine has lead to the ultra-small virtual mirrors. They cut through the air better to help quiet the cabin, and offer better visibility through the interior screens, though it's still not clear if they'll be permitted here. Two of the three cars up on stage still wore conventional rear-view mirrors. The automaker says that thanks to the mirrors, the shape, airflow tweaks like the turbine wheels and adaptive cooling openings, the crossover offers best in class aerodynamics.

At 4,902 mm long, the e-tron Quattro slots in between the Q5 and Q7 for size. Cargo space is a generous 807 L with the rear seats up and 1,614 with them folded. And yes, there is a front-trunk, though it's a small one.

Inside, the car has Audi's beautiful virtual cockpit digital display that mixes digital gauges with navigation and other information. To the driver's right are a pair of screens. One 10.1-inch upper display to show the usual infotainment system operation, the other 9.6-inch located further down the center stack. That one operates the climate control system through touch, not buttons. The reveal showed off new Amazon Alexa virtual assistant integration to reduce driver distraction.

Seven drive select modes offer different levels of performance and economy. On long journeys, the ride height lowers to better cut through the air. In off-road mode, the car rises. The total change in height is 76 mm.

The e-tron Quattro is set to arrive in Canada in the second quarter of 2019. Pricing hasn't been revealed for our market yet, but you can still get your reservation in. The order book opened at the same time as the reveal, with reservations set at $1,000.