Audi e-Tron (2022) electric SUV review: good but no-longer great | CAR Magazine

Audi e-Tron (2022) electric SUV review: good but no-longer great

Published: 02 November 2022 Updated: 02 November 2022
Audi e-Tron SUV review, orange, fast charging, rear view
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By CAR’s road test team

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds

By CAR’s road test team

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds

Audi’s electric SUV is showing its age
► Max 252-mile range looks small today
Facelifted model due before end of 2022 

When it was launched back in 2018, the Audi e-Tron was one of the most significant models Ingolstadt had launched in its century-and-a-bit history, as it marked the start of the company’s transition into the electric car era. But while Audi was one of the first manufacturers to jump on the electric SUV bandwagon, its rivals have since caught up – and now, there are a wealth of alternatives on the market. 

These competitors include the BMW iX3, Jaguar I-Pace, Volvo XC40 Recharge and the Tesla Model Y. These cars all claim maximum range figures much closer to the 300-mile mark than the Audi – and driving range is already a key yardstick against which EVs are measured.

Jaguar says the I-Pace can manage 298 miles between charging stops, while even the biggest battery e-Tron can only manage 252 miles according to Audi’s official figures. In the real world, range is closer to 200 miles. We ran the Sportback model (which is supposed to be more aerodynamic) as a long-termer and only managed to extract 180 miles from the battery during the summer months.

Good news, then, that there’s a new Audi e-Tron facelift due before the end of 2022. But in case you can’t wait, here’s how we rate the current version – which we’ve experienced in exotic locations such as San Francisco and Abu Dhabi, as well as in the more challenging environment of the Yorkshire Dales.

So, what’s the Audi e-Tron like to drive? 

Surprisingly sporty. The entry-level Audi e-Tron 50 quattro produces 308bhp and 398lb ft of torque, while the range-topping Audi e-Tron 55 quattro generates a stonking 401bhp and 490lb ft. The latter system has enough poke to shove this 2.5-tonne SUV from 0–62mph in 5.7 seconds – and when you’re cruising along, you always have plenty of power in reserve, which makes overtaking effortless.

There’s also an e-Tron S variant, with twin rear motors and 496bhp. But you can read about that in our separate Audi e-Tron S review.

Audi e-Tron SUV review, front view, low, driving round corner

Regardless of power output, don’t expect miracles in the corner from the regular versions. The e-Tron is a big, heavy SUV and Audi’s suspension engineers aren’t magicians. The laws of physics will always win in the end. Body roll is kept in check surprisingly well, but the sheer heft of the car is enough to drag it out of line if you tip it into corner too hard. It’s much the same experience you get in something like a Tesla Model X – the e-Tron feels like a supercar in a straight line and more like a heavily laden tank in the bends. 

The ride quality is great, though. Even on North Yorkshire’s roughest roads, the e-Tron SUV stays settled and composed, regardless of the drive mode. Comfort provides the plushest experience, but even Sport mode isn’t too unbearable. Bumps have a noticeably sharper peak and you don’t float over crests quite as gracefully, but it’s no means harsh.

Braking uses both discs and energy-saving regen, seamlessly switching between the two depending on your application. It works very well, with little jolting or juddering as the system switches between the two. Paddleshifters attached to the steering wheel control the level of regeneration: tap the plus paddle to increase resistance and energy recovery, and pull the minus one for less.

What’s the Audi e-Tron like inside?

Slip into the e-Tron, and it fits Audi’s tagline for the car perfectly. ‘EV goes Audi’ is the ethos inside and out, and that means the e-Tron’s cabin could be in any Q car. Let’s be honest, with a TFSI engine under the bonnet, this could easily be the Q6.

The touchscreen-heavy cabin invites you to swipe and pinch – and even the steering wheel isn’t particularly EV-alike. Physical switches, such as those for the cruise control, are lifted straight from the Audi parts bin.

Audi e-Tron SUV review, interior

In fact, it’s only the transmission where the e-Tron dares to be different – and that’s because it doesn’t have one. Instead, the area between the passenger and driver is full of storage space with cubby holes, cup-holders and a wireless phone charger all packed into a rather bulky, plastic frame. We’d rather the empty space.

Still the e-Tron does differentiate itself with an unusual thumb-flicking drive selector. Mounted under a hand rest, it’s pleasingly tactile – and is clicked forward and back by your thumb and index finger. It’s a small thing, but it’s something you’ll notice every time you drive.

Is the e-Tron quiet?

On motorways, you’ll find the e-Tron like any other car – except for its effortless ability to overtake. Wind noise and tyre noise are even more apparent without the hum of combustion, though, and you’ll notice whistling around the wing mirrors and A-pillars.

Audi e-Tron SUV camera mirrors

You can have more aerodynamic cameras instead of conventional mirrors, reducing this. Software enhances how bright the on-screen images they receive are for night driving, but no amount of coding can do anything about rain droplets on the camera lenses.

How far will she go, mister?

The e-Tron comes with two battery pack sizes – the quattro 50 packing 71.2kWh while the quattro 55 luxuriates in 95kWh of juice.

This means that on the WLTP economy cycle, the e-Tron 55’s range is ratified at up to 252 miles; the e-Tron 50 manages just 196 miles at best. As mentioned in the intro we’ve seen much less than that generally in reality, and you’ll be lucky to get 200 miles from a charge in the 55 if you’re travelling mostly by motorway where regen opportunities are fewer.

Audi e-Tron SUV review, rear view, driving

A 150kW DC fast charger can give you an 80% top-up in 50 minutes. At home, an 11kW wallbox charger running off a 400 volt three-phase outlet can achieve a full charge in eight hours. The more common single-phase 7.4kW, however, requires 13 hours, which means if you run it to near empty you’re unlikely to get a full charge overnight.

A standard problem for big battery EVs.

Audi e-Tron SUV verdict

In many ways, the e-Tron is just like any other Audi, inside and out – but that’s what makes it appealing. It’s an SUV you can imagine slotting easily into your everyday life, with more charging options, and packages easing you over the ever-shrinking hurdles of EV ownership.

As you’d expect, the e-Tron’s engineering is polished. What you might not expect is how well it handles given its vast size and weight. The e-Tron is also comfortable and spacious, and will hit the spot for wealthy Audi fans keen to embrace zero emissions.

But if you’re less committed to Vorsprung Durch Elektrisch, however, you’ll find that there are a lot of rivals out there – and many will now go further between plugs while delivering a similarly seamless driving experience. That facelift had better bring some efficient upgrades, or the e-Tron may find itself going from a leading position to the back of the race.

Specs and pricing for the Audi e-Tron quattro 55


Price when new: £72,220
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: Twin asynchronous electric motors, 95kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Performance: 300kW (401bhp), 252-mile range, 5.7sec 0-92mph (Sport boost), 124mph, 0g/km CO2
Weight / material: 2490kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4901/1938/1692mm

Other Models

Photo Gallery

  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, orange, fast charging, rear view
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, front view, driving
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, dead-on front view, low, driving
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, rear view, driving
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, front view, low, driving in the countryside
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, front view, low, driving round corner
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, rear view, low, driving on winding road
  • Audi e-Tron SUV charging port with cable plugged in
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, high view, driving on bendy road
  • Audi e-Tron SUV camera mirrors
  • Audi e-Tron SUV charging port
  • Audi e-Tron SUV instrument cluster
  • Audi e-Tron SUV review, interior

By CAR’s road test team

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds