Following Audi’s release of a free software update for the e-tron 55 quattro, boosting the range of 2019/20 model year EVs by over 12 miles, we thought now would be a good time to revisit our review of Audi’s first all-electric model.
When we first reviewed the Audi e-tron in September 2020, we were amazed by the level of quality and unique touches it brought to the segment.
Is a used Audi e-tron still a viable option? Let’s find out…
Used Audi e-tron overall verdict
The Audi e-tron is the German manufacturer’s first all-electric car. Usually, with firsts, you’d expect teething problems and kinks to iron out. But that’s not the case with the e-tron.
The most remarkable aspect of the e-tron isn’t its impressive range of over 225 miles or its 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds, but the fact it’s quintessentially Audi.
It’s a superb luxury SUV with an eco-friendly twist, and it looks fantastic, too.
The Audi e-tron isn’t there to be bold or brash or to make a statement about driving green. Its purpose is to normalise going electric and convince car lovers that driving electric can be done in both style and comfort, without fuss.
So, if you want a big, luxurious SUV, but are also mindful of the world around you, the e-tron deserves some serious consideration.
What’s great about this car?
- Huge boot
- Sports-like acceleration
- Luxurious interior
- Fantastic range between charges
What’s not great about this car?
- No seven-seat option
- Expensive to buy outright
- Unengaging handling
- Long charge times at home
Audi exterior designer, Stephan Fahr-Becker, described the e-tron’s design as “modern, but quiet.” However, the e-tron’s design is more than that: it’s incredibly sophisticated.
On the outside, everything is designed with the vehicle’s range in mind, particularly utilising aerodynamics.
At the front, Audi’s customary large open grille is replaced with a lower, more closed version – this is due to the lack of need for an air intake to cool the engine like a regular combustion engine.
The roofline slopes to allow air to pass easily over the top of the car, while the exterior shoulder lines, which surround the vehicle, ensure a lower centre of gravity.
At the rear, the single panoramic light band not only gives the e-tron a futuristic look, but also acts to reduce drag, as does the rear glass, which appears to connect seamlessly with the car’s shoulders.
Range, charge time, running costs
The Audi e-tron was once a one-variant model but has since expanded to five. Depending on which version you buy, you’ll have access to 258, 241, 226, 223 or 195 miles of range.
With varied battery sizes and range throughout the line-up, the 86.5 kWh Audi e-tron 55 quattro we tested features a range of 225 miles according to ev-database.uk. This model can be charged using a CCS fastcharge port in around 25 minutes, with home charging from 7.4 kW wallbox unit taking over 13 hours from empty.
If you decide to charge at home, it shouldn’t cost you much more than £15 for a full charge. At a rapid charger, you can expect to pay £7-£8 more. Either way, you’re looking between 7p-11p per mile, which is less than the 12p-15p you’d pay in a conventional road car of this size – a saving of around £10 every time you charge up.
And as it’s a full-electric car, it produces zero emissions, so there’s no road tax to pay and it is exempt from the London Congestion Charge as well as free to enter London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.
Drive and performance
The Audi e-tron comes in three powertrain variants – 50. 55. and S quattro – and in the 55 from we tested reaches 62mph in 5.7 seconds up to a top speed of 124 mph.
Although the Audi e-tron’s handling is impressive, it’s a bit softer than some of its competitors. But both on and off-road, there’s an impressive range of feedback. However, for a car this big and this quick, it’s not as responsive as you’d like in some situations.
The Audi e-tron’s standard air suspension is excellent at handling bumps and lumps in the road. It allows the cabin to remain refined and relaxed, even when challenged by some of the UK’s larger potholes.
However, switch out of Comfort mode to test the sport credentials of the e-tron and it’s not so smooth. It doesn’t ruin the drive, but cracks in the road are certainly more noticeable.
For ultimate comfort, stick with the standard 20-inch alloy wheels which come with the Sport or Technik models. That’s not to say the larger, 21-inch alloys make a big difference, but they make the ride a little less comfortable.
Interior and infotainment
Inside, Audi wanted to ensure that the e-tron both resembled an Audi and had enough of its own characteristics to differentiate its electric pedigree.
They achieved that through a lot of tiny details, such as an interior light band atop the dashboard which is unique to the e-tron, and a floating gear selector which is integrated into the centre console and requires only a twiddle of the fingers rather than – as I’m sure we’ll all agree – the mammoth task of changing gear with one whole hand.
As well, there are light signatures built into the vehicle’s interior flow, emphasising its reliability on electricity, and noticeable contrast between the vehicle’s rugged sports and off-road performance to a cabin of space and silence.
To feel, the e-tron is like a conventional luxurious Audi. Plush leather seats provide unrivalled comfort for driver and passenger, while two fully-integrated high definition screens – one of which houses Audi’s critically-acclaimed MMI infotainment interface – leave space for a modernistic, clutter-free dash.
Although, that’s not always a positive as, without air conditioning dials to touch, you have to take your eyes off the road to programme them.
When driving, the rear pillars can cause a bit of an issue too, although the standard 360-degree camera and rear sensors alleviate the problem somewhat.
Digital door mirrors are an option to reduce drag, ensuring you extract every last mile of range from the e-tron’s battery. However, we found the projected image on the inside of the door isn’t as well-placed as it is on other cars with the same technology.
But in terms of overall quality and experience, Audi again delivers an airy, comfortable, luxurious cabin which only adds to the e-tron experience.
Practicality and boot space
Although the Audi e-tron is not too dissimilar in size to its flagship Q7 SUV, it doesn’t offer seven seats like the convention internal combustion model.
Five is the maximum you can house, although, with the extra space, the e-tron does offer an impressive boot; 600 litres to be precise – or the equivalent of more than 12 cabin bags.
In terms of driving practicality, the e-tron is as comfortable off the road as it is on it. It may well be an opulent SUV, but its quattro all-wheel-drive system, which is aided by an electric motor on each axle – with the rear wheels receiving a touch more power than the front – means the e-tron is ready for any occasion.
Reliability and safety
The Audi e-tron received a five-star NCAP Safety Rating when it was tested in 2019. It comes with front and side driver and passenger airbags, with curtain airbags optional. Isofix points come as standard in the rear, as well as optional points in the front too.
Every model is also fitted with Audi Pre-Sense Front, lane departure warning, cruise control, speed limiter, and a 360-degree parking camera and sensors.
Used Audi e-tron deals
You can find a selection of new and used Audi e-tron deals below, with prices for a brand new model starting from just over £600.