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Audi E-Tron 55 SUV: When Electric Gets Exciting

Audi E-Tron 55 SUV: When Electric Gets Exciting

Botchi Santos

My issue with a good number of EVs is that they are too shouty, trying to attract too much attention and announcing that they are electric vehicles, when in reality, nobody really cares. I’m looking at you BMW, Nissan, BYD, Mercedes-Benz and all those building these ovoid, organic, teardrop shaped EVs. Granted, these alien-looking shapes are the most aerodynamically efficient which is a huge factor in squeezing out every last bit of range from electric vehicles to allay range anxiety from owners. But to car guys like me (and you, if you read my ramblings regularly), they don’t always appeal to the senses.

Thankfully, there are still companies like Audi that not only deliver sharp-looking, well-designed, handsomely stylish yet equally futuristic cars, but also deliver on the ride and handling side.

Beyond the handsome new single-frame grille, the short overhangs and the taught lines and creases, the e-tron is resolutely Audi, carrying much of the design cues of the rest of the range. The e-tron looks very dynamic, like a smaller, more squared-off ‘ute, a junior Q8 in size. It’s attractive in the way traditional car guys find stylish cars attractive. If you’re thinking of making the quantum leap from ICE to EV, the e-tron is the perfect vehicle to ease into an electrified future.

The e-tron rides on a 2.928 meter wheelbase, with a total length of 4.9 meters, a total vehicle width of 1.935 meters (2.043 with the side mirrors), and a useful 1.4 meters of width inside the very airy cabin. Track-width is at 1.65 meters. Ride height is set at 172mm but lowers by 20mm at speed. It also gives 76mm of height increase from lowest to highest drive modes. The most impressive bit? The e-tron’s advertised wading depth of 500mm. Are you brave enough to actually drive through flooded waters or a mild river crossing, half a meter deep in an EV?

There’s an available 605 liters of trunk space. Fold the rear seats and it expands to a massive 1,755 liters of cargo carrying capacity. There’s front trunk or frunk which also has a 60-liter capacity since the usual engine is absent.

As with any electric vehicle, and one that bears the Audi rings, the e-tron is silent, smooth and technology packed, with the surety of grip afforded by Quattro allwheel drive. There is the instant and massive surge of power from the dual Asynchronous motors powering the front and rear axles, with a 95kwh lithium ion battery pack to provide juice.

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Audi proudly claims a range of as much as 408 kilometers on a single charge, similar to an internal-combustion-engined Audi SUV. In my own actual real-world driving in mostly city conditions, covering a shade under 100kms with heavy traffic, the e-tron still had 66% charge when I returned it after four days of use. I could have easily gone over 300 kilometers even if driving was confined within Metro Manila. The best part? A typical full-charge in an e-tron is less than P1,000. That’s literally 1/5 or less than the cost of a diesel or gasoline powered SUV! As fuel dwindles and become scarce, difficulties from global logistics brought about by the conflict in Europe and COVID, plus the continued devaluation of the Philippine peso versus the US dollar, the savings will mean even more versus traditional internal combustion engines.

Out on the open road, the e-tron provides 402hp and 664 Newton-Meters of electrified torque. It can be had two ways: smooth as silk, or hard like a Goth’s charge. Throttle feel is perfect: progressive and smooth which make for a jerk-free flow in traffic. The brakes look diminutive riding behind the massive 21-inch wheels but are hardly used as the electric motors’ regenerative braking abilities does the majority of braking under heavy driving situations to help charge the battery better and sooner, with the traditional mechanical brakes only working in earnest under hard baking from very high speeds or during emergency procedures. The e-tron is a heavy car, a shade under 2.5 tons. Straight-line acceleration is physics-defying despite the e-tron’s weight disadvantage, but you can’t beat Newton in the twisty bits, particularly through quick leftright-left transitions, vis-a-vis. The e-tron isn’t meant to deliver a sporty ride but instead focuses rather on refinement, luxury and smoothness. The weight helps tame the ride, despite riding on massive 21-inch wheels shod with equally massive and grippy Bridgestone Valenza tires measuring 265/45R21 all-season H/T rubber, thanks to the aforementioned air suspension.

The world is changing, and everyone is rushing to join the electrified future Audi and the rest of the automotive industry is depicting. The options are increasing, the infrastructure and legislation is slowly catching up. A futuristic EV landscape is inevitable, but becoming part of the electrified future has a variety of options. Audi offers the easiest, most stylish and traditional-looking yet real-world tested technology and platform to live the future, today.