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If the regular Audi range of SUVs and Sportback models are too last-millennium to fit into your new age, emissions-free lifestyle then stress no more. Audi has finally given us a taste of its all-electric E-tron range to be sold alongside its regular cars as a separate line.
They include the E-tron and Sportback SUVs as well as the E-tron GT and RS E-tron GT coupe sedans, which had their official South African unveilings in Cape Town last week.
Step inside any of the E-trons and you are greeted by typical Audi interiors in layout, quality and ambience. The optional virtual exterior mirrors will require relearning, though. The image feed that’s displayed in the door panel sits lower than usual and you can’t steal a glance for quick overtaking.
Further notable enhancements are on the touch points where there’s a new type of automatic gear selector with leather and chrome covering, but the rest is pure Audi.
These silent Audis all feature dual electric motors positioned on the front and back axles for an all-wheel drive configuration, justifying the quattro moniker. The Lithium-ion battery in the RS E-Tron GT in particular makes it ludicrously quick. It’s the first EV to wear Audi’s high-performance RS badge and boasts supercar-like outputs of 440kW and 830Nm.
Top speed in the RS E-tron GT is 250km/h and it takes 3.3sec to reach 100km/h. It's rated with a potential driving range of 472km on a full charge.
The standard e-tron GT wields a lesser 350kW and 630Nm with a 4.5sec time to 100km/h and a top velocity of 245km/h.
The E-tron Sportback S coupe-SUV with a 378km driving range makes 370kW and 973Nm and sprints from 0-100km/h in 4.5sec topping out at 210km/h.
The E-tron 55 SUV has a regular SUV shape and produces 300kW and 664Nm for a 5.7sec sprint to 100km/h and a 200km/h top speed. You can have it in more aesthetically pleasing 55 S line.
E-tron customers will have their home-charging requirements assessed to determine whether they need upgrades or installations. If required, Audi will cover the installation of a 32 Amps industrial socket up to the value of R5,000.
A 5km loop from the Cape Town harbour to the Cape Town stadium was the route provided. Though frustratingly short and congested with peak hour traffic, it was enough to showcase what the instantaneous power of the E-trons can do when unleashed. The lightest squirts of throttle have sharp responses that evince a feeling of being restrained at the leash in slow-moving traffic, and any gap between the home-goers was exploited with silent but obscene acceleration.
The steering felt pleasantly weighted for all conditions and is light and quick at crawl speeds. They have suspension settings ranging from Comfort to Dynamic and in the latter mode they exhibit slight stiffening of the dampers which bodes well for good body control and precision through the corners.
The suspension remains exceptionally comfy in all models and they show good stability, plenty of grip and ride comfort that’s quite GT like. There was no chance to test out their driving range strengths; that will have to wait for when we get to test E-trons for a longer period.
E-tron 55 First edition — R1,745,000
E-tron 55 advanced — R1,990,000
E-tron 55 S line — R2,045,000
E-tron 55 Sportback S line — R2,115,000
E-tron S Sportback — R2,425,000
E-tron GT — R2,715,000
RS E-tron GT — R3,300,000
Prices include a five-year/100,000km Audi Freeway Plan and an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.