The 2019 Audi E-tron isn’t merely a luxury midsize SUV/crossover, it’s Audi’s first all-electric vehicle. There’s not an internal combustion engine anywhere to be seen. It’s taken some time for established carmakers to come up with anything to rival a Tesla, but the E-tron does exactly that, competing with the Tesla Model X crossover.
The most important thing about an electric vehicle (EV) is range. The 5-seater 2019 E-tron can cover 204 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A Model X, priced from around $85,000 before incentives, can manage 325 miles and seat up to seven occupants. Each buyer will have to decide if the E-tron will take them far enough between charges. But there’s a good chance it will, since Audi’s research has found that 98% of single journeys in the United States are under 50 miles.
Infrastructure is the other big concern. Volkswagen (Audi’s parent company) is establishing a network of chargers across the country, called Electrify America. Once 2019 clicks over to 2020, the plan is to have 500 fast-charging stations with multiple chargers in 42 states and covering 17 metropolitan areas.
Audi claims that the E-tron has "the fastest charging speed of any electric SUV." Within 30 minutes, it can take on enough energy for 163 miles. Or 54 miles of range in 10 minutes.
Beyond these specific issues, potential buyers will also want to know if the E-tron can be lived with every day and how well it can meet their requirements as a quality conveyance. The short answer is it can do all those things extremely well. For greater detail, read on.
What’s New for 2019?
This is a totally new model based on a new platform developed especially for electric vehicles. See the 2019 Audi E-tron models for sale near you
What We Like
- Useful range
- Well equipped
- Stylish and practical
- Easy to drive
What We Don’t
- A range of 250 miles would have been nice
$75,795-$82,795. That’s before a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 or any state incentives.
Owners also receive 1,000 kWh of free charging, which works out to about 2,000 miles of range, at Electrify America stations during the first four years of ownership. Audi provides complementary support for the E-tron, as well, including roadside assistance and customer service.
The battery pack has an 8-year/100,000-mile (whichever happens soonest) warranty.
The Audi E-tron uses two electric motors, one to power the front wheels, the other to drive the rears. They take their electricity from a lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 355 horsepower. Audi doesn’t give any torque figures, but electric motors are known for providing a lot of thrust right from standstill.
The E-tron, which weighs around 5,754 pounds, is claimed to zip from 0-to-60 mph in a fleeting 5.5 seconds. But it does this with an extra boost providing 402 hp for eight seconds. Put the vehicle in Sport mode, push the accelerator pedal past the kick-down point and Boost is engaged.
Let’s get back to normal driving, though. The EPA has a particular methodology for calculating energy consumption and comparing it to gasoline use — known as miles per gallon equivalent, or MPGe. The E-tron is estimated to achieve 74 MPGe in the city, 73 MPGe on the highway and 74 MPGe in combined driving.
Properly equipped, the E-tron can tow 4,000 pounds.
Standard Features and Options
The 5-seater 2019 Audi E-tron all-electric luxury midsize SUV comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
The Premium Plus ($75,795) has 20-in alloy wheels, aluminum roof rails, Matrix-design LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, heated/self-dimming side mirrors adaptive air suspension, a powered lift gate, keyless entry/start, quad-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-in Virtual Cockpit driver information display, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings, heated/ventilated front seats, leather seating surfaces, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a powered steering column adjustment, a garage door opener, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and vehicle exit assist, a top-view camera system, a 10.1-in infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration (Audi Smartphone Interface), Wi-Fi, front/rear USB ports, satellite radio, wireless charging, phone signal booster, navigation, and a Bang & Olufsen audio setup.
This model is eligible for a Driver Assistance package that brings adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, efficiency assistance, active lane departure prevention, intersection assistance, and road sign recognition.
The Prestige ($82,795) adds the contents of the Driver Assistance package, plus a head-up display, massaging front seats, higher-quality leather upholstery, powered soft-closing doors, and a cabin air quality package with ionization and fragrance.
Both models are eligible for a Cold Weather package (adaptive wipers with heated washer jets, heated rear outward seats, and extra cabin heating), rear side airbags and a towing package. Prestige may also be ordered with 21-in alloy wheels.
Luggage area behind the rear seats is 28.5 cu ft. Folding them down results in 57 cu ft. of cargo space.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to crash-test the Audi E-tron. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has, awarding the E-tron its highest accolade of Top Safety Pick Plus. No other EV to date has achieved this, although the IIHS hadn’t tested the Tesla Model X at the time of this review.
Behind the Wheel
All that’s missing is the engine noise. In every other area, the E-tron feels like a muscular, well-tuned, luxury SUV. Acceleration is brisk but not snappy, braking is confident, and the steering is direct and well-weighted.
Placing the battery pack in the floor keeps the E-tron’s center of gravity advantageously low, so the handling is relatively nimble. The adaptive air suspension can also raise the SUV’s ride height, should some mild off-roading be on the agenda.
Not only is the E-tron silent in operation, Audi has also been generous with sound insulation to combat wind noise and road rumble. The cabin is supremely serene and comfortable, while simultaneously displaying the design talents and refinement for which Audi is renowned.
The E-tron is yet another excellent Audi and a fine SUV. The difference is that it doesn’t run on gasoline.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Jaguar I-Pace — All-new for 2019. Small and perhaps more hatchback like than crossover, but with an impressive range of 234 miles, plus 394 hp and driving abilities to make the most of that muscle. Pricey, but equipped comprehensively.
2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC — A brand-new all-electric luxury compact crossover with a 3-pointed star on the nose.
2019 Tesla Model X — Expensive, but has great range, great tech, plus those interesting (and useful) "falcon wing" doors.
At the very least, add the Driver Assistance package to the Premium Plus model. If the funds are there for the Prestige version, all the better. Find an Audi E-Tron for sale