Audi has announced pricing and specifications for its all-electric e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback in Australia, billing the release as a “new era of mobility” for the German auto brand.
Two variants each of the e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback will be available to order from June 19, starting from $137,700 for the 230kW e-tron 50 quattro, Audi said in a statement on Wednesday morning.
The “entry-level” 50 quattro is joined by the e-tron 55 quattro with 265kW power output, which is priced from $146,700, and for an additional $10,000 punters can nab the “first edition” 55 quattro priced from $159,600.
In its low-line format, the e-tron Sportback is also available in a 50 quattro variant with 230kW motor output priced from $148,700, and a 55 quattro variant with 265kW motor output from $157,700, whereas the Sportback 55 quattro “first edition” will set drivers back an additional $12,250 for $169,500. All prices exclude dealer delivery and government charges.
All variants feature dual motors (one on the front axle and one on the rear), while the 50 quattro denotes a smaller 71kWh battery and driving range of 300km (based on the European WLTP rating) compared to the 55 quattro 95kWh battery delivering more than 400km driving range.
Sitting in the top end of the market alongside the Mercedes EQC (priced from $137,900) the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback is one of several new models expected to be released in Australia in 2020 and joins a small but growing number of all-electric vehicles in Australia.
Its release follows hot on the heels of the launch of the $191,000-$339,100 Porsche Taycan electric sportscar in Australia, pricing and specifications for which were announced last Wednesday by its fellow premium Volkswagen marque.
“Sophisticated refinement has always been a truly Audi expression of driving progress and innovation, and this has never been more evident than in the form of our first-ever electric vehicles: the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback,” said Paul Sansom, managing director of Audi Australia in a statement.
“This is Audi engineering at its finest: bringing future mobility to life in a way that is impressive, yet familiar enough for customers to be thrilled by their very first experience.
“Around the world, those who have never driven an electric vehicle before have been captivated by the way the Audi e-tron brings refined silence, effortless performance and zero-emission driving together in such a seamless fashion.”
Audi first introduced the e-tron in late 2018 initiating a marketing campaign stating it would release 12 all-electric models by 2025. AT the time it was predicted it would cost from $130,000 in Australia and offer a range of more than 500km.
While the pricing is not far off, it has become clear that Audi’s focus with the e-tron is on performance rather than efficiency.
As shown in Tesla’s impact report released on Tuesday, the Audi e-tron sits with other premium electric offering as some of the least efficient electric cars around; in fact, it loses out only to the Porsche Taycan in terms of kWh use per kilometre.
But lovers of the Audi brand will appreciate not only the premium styling but also the fact the e-tron represents one of the few electric vehicles on the Australian market that is officially rated to tow, with a maximum tow rating of 1.8 tonnes thanks to the 540Nm torque offerd by the 50 quattro variants and 664Nm torque from the 55 quattro variants.
Energy recuperation is of course also a feature of the e-tron, recovering up to 220kW/300Nm while braking to add as much as 30% of its range according to Audi.
With three different driving modes and adaptive air suspension that can adjust as much as 76mm, the e-tron’s dynamic driving experience is enhanced by the low centre of gravity thanks to the in-floor battery.
Of course, connectivity and entertainment options abound. A touch-responsive navigation incorporating “Audi connect plus” functions and the option to navigate via the myAudi smartphone app promise to make for a worry-free ride through town, while on long trips charging stops and best routes are calculated where possible using live traffic data.
The 10.1″ touchscreens on the minimalist console include a “virtual cockpit” and access to Android Auto and wirelessly connected Apple CarPlay, and on the console wireless charging as well as 4 USB ports are available.
Taking the high-end options up a notch, Audi is offering as a first-time option for any passenger vehicle in Australia “virtual mirrors” instead of the usual side mirrors, making the e-tron more aerodynamic and therefore extending the range (it does not however say by how much).
In terms of cargo space, the e-tron SUV offers 660 litres luggage space while the e-tron Sportback offer 615 litres, while both offer a 40:20:40 split-fold in the rear seats, increasing luggage space substantially.
Charging at home, shopping centre or the office will be possible at a rate of up to 11kW from an AC wall charger, and out on the road a maximum 150kW charge rate will be possible on DC fast chargers.
As a founding partner in the Chargefox network all e-tron customers will benefit from 6 years free subscription to charging using a range of DC and AC chargers managed by Australia’s leading EV charging network provider.
Audi says that first customer deliveries will commence in September 2020.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.