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Audi e-tron 2021 review: 50 quattro

This car looks as good as it drives

This is a first. An all electric SUV for Audi! The e-tron. This is the Sportback 50 quattro model, which is the base Sportback.

It also comes in a regular SUV shape, but I think this one looks pretty snazzy. And I mean, if you’re going to drive an all-new electric Audi, why not make it fire engine red!

There was no lack of stares while driving this around. It stood out, even in the flash suburbs I had to frequent this week. 

The e-tron 50 quattro costs $148,500, before on-road costs. It looks similar to a BMW X6 or a Mercedes GLE Coupe, but they're not electric. The closest electric SUV would be the Mercedes EQC, but that has a different shape. 

There was a lot of interest in the car this week, so on with the show!

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What does it look like?

Very swish. It looks sporty, the angle on the coupe's roof is just right and it almost feels like a sportscar in an SUV body. But did I mention flashy? Especially in 'Catalunya Red', or possibly only in Catalunya Red.

I had people commenting all over the place on how great it looked. Yet, apart from the e-tron badge you wouldn’t know this is an electric vehicle. 

It looks sporty, the angle on the coupe's roof is just right and it almost feels like a sportscar in an SUV body. It looks sporty, the angle on the coupe's roof is just right and it almost feels like a sportscar in an SUV body.

Inside looks very much like a regular Audi SUV, with leather seats and steering wheel, a digital dashboard in front of you, and slick design throughout.

There are brushed metallic trims and everything is well styled, but nothing screams 'car of the future' on the inside, which it does on the Tesla Model X SUV (in case you're comparing the two). It does look the money though, and it feels great to drive. 

How easy is it to use every day?

The biggest part of driving an electric vehicle is ensuring you are charged. When you purchase an e-tron, you will get a home charger installed in your garage for easy daily top-ups. 

I had it charging via power point for a total of nine hours over the seven days I had it. I had it charging via power point for a total of nine hours over the seven days I had it.

It also comes with six years credit at Chargefox, which has fast charging stations all over Australia. 

As I was only test-driving for the week, there was no charger in my garage so I got to plug it in with an electric cord which is a very slow charge, but it does work. 

I had it charging via power point for a total of nine hours over the seven days I had it.

The 50 quattro's range is 283km, while the 55 quattro's range is 400km. For suburban driving, though, it was absolutely fine. 

I thought it was pretty good with only power point charging. I did plug it into a Chargefox nearby, but not for long, more to see how it worked. 

I can report that once you’ve logged into Chargefox it’s very easy and it means you score the electronic vehicle charging car space! 

Once you’ve logged into Chargefox it’s very easy and it means you score the electronic vehicle charging car space. Once you’ve logged into Chargefox it’s very easy and it means you score the electronic vehicle charging car space.

Going on a long road trip you would have to plan around Chargefox stations, because output power varies.

They're located mainly along Australia's east coast, from FNQ down to Melbourne, plus Adelaide, Perth, and Tassie.

An 'Ultra-Rapid' unit could take you from 20-80 per cent charge in as little as 30min. But the 'Standard' and 'Fast' chargers will be slower. You just need to do you homework before starting out.

Either that, or make the decision to cough up some cash and make strategic use of non-Chargefox outlets here and there.

Over and above the charging, all the day-to-day details on the car have been thought of to make it as practical as possible. 

The front is spacious as it’s a very wide car. The front is spacious as it’s a very wide car.

There are two cupholders in the front, a large centre storage bin, and a long, thin storage spot for your phone that also houses a wireless charger with a clip that holds your phone in. Simple, but genius. You’ll also get bottle holders in each door. 

The front seats are power adjustable and the tailgate opens and closes with buttons on the key and door itself. 

How spacious is it?

To all intents and purposes, this is a full five-seater SUV and it comfortably fit my family of four.

I had it charging via power point for a total of nine hours over the seven days I had it. I had it charging via power point for a total of nine hours over the seven days I had it.

The front is spacious as it’s a very wide car, so there’s lots of room in between passenger and driver, and there’s enough leg space and head space for taller people. 

The back seat, too, has plenty of room. My two children, aged seven and nine, were very happy in there and it has enough room for me at 161cm (5'3").

There is a good amount of room between my knees and the seat in front, seated behind a taller person’s driving position, so larger people will be comfortable in the back seat also, even for headspace with the sloping roof. 

There's 615L (VDA) of space in the boot, which will fit a double pram or several suitcases. There's 615L (VDA) of space in the boot, which will fit a double pram or several suitcases.

And the boot is big. A whole 615L (VDA) of space big, which will fit a double pram or several suitcases. There’s also space under the bonnet for charging cables (because it doesn’t have an engine, remember) so you can store those efficiently without them living in the boot full time. 

How does it drive?

I’m partial to an electric vehicle because I prefer the lush silence that comes with having no engine, even when you’re heavy on the accelerator or going up a hill.

That just feels so luxurious to me because it’s as though the car is moving with little to no effort. 

The steering is good - not heavy and not light, easy to turn, and the handling is great. The steering is good - not heavy and not light, easy to turn, and the handling is great.

There is relatively instant acceleration from the moment you press on the accelerator (I say relatively, comparing it to any car with an engine, but it’s not as quick off the mark as an upper-spec Tesla).

The steering is good - not heavy and not light, easy to turn, and the handling is great thanks to the low centre of gravity from the battery which is in the base of the car. 

Parking is a breeze thanks to the easy steering. It is surprisingly wide and long so be mindful when choosing your space. There’s a hi-res reverse parking camera with a 360 degree view which certainly helps.

What’s the tech like?

There’s a 10.1-inch multimedia screen and there's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It works well and is an instant gateway to the main apps on your phone so it’s easy to use because it’s the same interface.

It’s not a gamechanger, like the tech in a Tesla, though. Most cars now have CarPlay and Auto and there’s nothing amazing about the tech in the e-tron for a car in this high price category.

There’s a 10.1-inch multimedia screen and there's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There’s a 10.1-inch multimedia screen and there's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

It has a 10-speaker stereo and the sound is good, so turn the volume up.

How safe is it?

The Audi e-tron has most advanced safety as standard, with auto emergency braking with cyclists and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, collision avoidance assist with evasive steering, rear cross-traffic alert, plus an exit warning system on the door which detects cyclists and vehicles.

It was given a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2019 and also has two ISOFIX points and three top tether points across the second row seat for kids car seats.

How much does it cost to own?

The Audi e-tron 50 quattro costs $148,100, before on road costs and extras. Audi includes a six-year Chargefox membership which means you can charge for free at any of the many Chargefox charging stations around the country.

You’ll also get servicing and roadside assistance for six years on e-trons and an eight-year/160,000km warranty on the battery as well as the three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty on the car itself.

The Audi e-tron 50 quattro costs $148,100, before on road costs and extras. The Audi e-tron 50 quattro costs $148,100, before on road costs and extras.


The Wrap

It was a great week, cruising around in a bright red Audi, plugging the car in to charge from the driveway while people on the street applauded my (not genuinely earned) dedication to the environment.

It drives really well, looks fabulous on the road and has loads of interior space for a family along with a generous boot. Charging the car was no issue and even a little fun.

I gave the Audi e-tron a family rating of 8.7 out of 10, and the kids gave it a 9.0. They’re obsessed with electric cars.

Likes

Design
Powerful electric motor
Very spacious

Dislikes

Lengthy charge time
No 'wow' tech inside
Audi warranty could be better

Scores

Nedahl:

4.4

The Kids:

4.5

$137,100

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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