Audi’s first all-electric car has made its public debut, marking the “start of a new era” for the premium manufacturer.
The Audi E-tron is set to be the first in a series of 12 pure electric vehicles from the German brand.
It will arrive in the UK next year priced from £70,805 and take on the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC in the premium SUV segment.
Like the Jaguar and Mercedes, the E-tron uses twin electric motors and four-wheel-drive. The motors provide a combined maximum output of 402bhp and 487lb/ft, enough to get it from standstill to 62mph in 5.7 seconds.
The 95kWh battery is larger than those in the Jaguar and Mercedes, only beaten by Tesla’s 100kWh unit. Audi says the the E-tron offers a driving range of 248 miles on the WLTP cycle and will charge from a range of AC and DC charging points.
Using the latest, but rare, 150kW DC rapid chargers, it will charge in just 30 minutes. For at-home charging, Audi will supply either 11kW or 22kW wall boxes, allowing a full charging in between 4.25 and 8.5 hours.
Alongside the E-tron Audi is launching a proprietary charging system that will allow owners to use around 80 per cent of public charging stations in Europe via a single account rather than carrying multiple cards.
Away from the drivetrain, the E-tron is much more similar to its combustion-engined stablemates, resembling a Q5 with some fancy aerodynamics and featuring a similar interior layout to existing high-end Audis.
However it does feature some technological firsts, including virtual exterior mirrors, which use small rear-facing cameras to project images onto OLED displays in the car.
It also features “ efficiency assist”, which uses radar sensors, camera images, navigation data and Car-to-X information to detect the traffic environment and the route. In combination with the adaptive cruise assist, the efficiency assist can also brake and accelerate the electric SUV predictively to make the most of its range.
The E-tron will also be Audi’s first model to allow customers to add certain functions online after they’ve bought the car. For example, the LED headlights can be upgraded to matrix LED headlights with intelligently controlled high beams, and assist systems or infotainment extras such as digital radio and the Audi smartphone interface can be added.
The E-tron will be built in Audi’s CO2-neutral Brussels assembly plant with order books set to open in early 2019 for UK customers.