Bowen's Report Card
2021 Audi E-Tron 50 Quattro Sportback
- Rock solid build quality
- Active dampers
- Way too $$$
- Poor range
- Electric novelty wears off
Electric cars and climate change are intrinsically linked; without each other several debates can’t even take place. As we march toward the EV era, mainstream brands are jumping on the bandwagon faster than you can blink. Recently I spent a week in the Audi E-tron quattro 50 Sportback, with mixed results.
All fully electric cars have one party trick in common, rapid acceleration off the mark. Although Audi has managed to tamper that a tad, so you and your passengers don’t end up in the boot every time you floor it.
The E-tron 50 quattro Sportback can scoot to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds, not bad considering it weighs over 2600kg. If you need more whack go for the 55. In terms of vital stats under the floor is a Lithium-ion battery that produces 230kW and 540Nm.
The battery can hold 71kWh although it should be noted that only 64.7kWh is available.
The e-tron sports electric motors on both axles with 110kW up front and 130kW out the back. The combo delivers the famous quattro system to all four wheels.
For a fast charge the e-tron can handle 120kW, think of that like a hose filling a bathtub. The wider the hose, the faster the tub will fill up and vice versa. You want that figure to be high.
You can charge at home from a domestic socket, slowly. Peek under the bonnet and you’ll find Type 2 and CCS Type 2 plugs. Basically, this means you’ll always have the right cable at hand.
The range is ordinary at a claimed 347km, in fact I started to get nervous around 210km. I’m tipping real word range is closer to 270km.
I’ve driven a stack of EVs but during my time with this car my view changed a tad. In fact, it was the first time I thought to myself “I’m not sure I like this”. It felt like a petrol car with an engine ripped out and electric motors bolted on.
Obviously, all electric cars are mostly silent, but the vacuum of nothingness kind of played on my mind.
Audi make cars with bank vault levels of build quality, and this is yet another example. However, most of time It’s a rather dull experience behind the wheel. This is at odds with its remarkable handling, technology, and clinical approach to presentation both inside and out.
Its hulking weight is kept at bay via air suspension that you can adjust on the run. It goes without saying I spent 95 per cent of the time in “Dynamic” mode. This firms the ride up making the E-tron feel very competent should the mood take you. The 21-inch rims aren’t ideal for B-roads but in general the E-tron Sportback can cope with just about all conditions.
Your electrified bum will enjoy the Milano leather courtesy of a “Premium Plus’ package. Up front are heated seats with four-way memory functionality for the driver’s perch. I love what is called “Pre-Conditioning, this allows you to set a schedule for when the car should either heat or cool the interior.
Storage is well looked after with rear seat map holders, cup, and bottle holders all round and a cargo cover to hold luggage in place.
Bang & Olufsen sound is delivered by 16 speakers through a 15-channel amplifier that is capable of 705 watts of power. The rear and rear side windows score window tint, while the four-zone air-conditioning system should keep everyone happy,
Safety And Technology
At the heart of any Audi is a mountain of technology, the E-tron Sportback doesn’t disappoint. The MMI infotainment system is presented by a space age looking front console layout. Buttons are so 2018 so Audi uses twin 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch touchscreens that even click when you touch them.
Then there’s the 12.3-inch “Virtual Cockpit” extravaganza that represents the instrument cluster.
Another big tick from me is wireless support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Some of the key safety features include 360-degree cameras that also focus on the gutter, there’s no longer an excuse to scratch a rim!
Other key pieces of technology include rear cross-traffic and intersection assist. This prevents you getting T-boned.
The Adaptive cruise control also has a function called traffic jam assist. In a gridlock scenario it just follows the car in front, even from a stationary position. There’s also lane departure and lane change warning and rear cross-traffic and intersection assist, so you don’t reverse out into another vehicle.
Sometimes I wonder how people still manage to have a prang these days.
Value for money
The as tested E-tron 50 quattro Sportback is priced from an eye-watering $148,100.
My car was coated in a $2,300 layer of metallic Catalunya paint, while the tinted windows added another $1,050 for a total of $151,400 before on roads. Audi remain off the ball with warranty coverage with only a three year/unlimited km warranty.
The battery is backed for up to eight-years or 160,000kms. In good news you’re more chance of seeing Halley’s Comet than the dealer, thanks to 30,000km or two-year service intervals.
The E-tron Sportback has a claimed economy figure of 21.6kWh/100km, the Bowen’s Garage official figure was 29.5kWh/100km.
If all of that doesn’t appeal to you it’s also worth noting this lavish purchase does include six-years’ worth of freebie top ups at public charging stations.
What I Love
Audi interiors are word class, that’s irrefutable.
Bowen’s Report Card
This is one of the first electric cars that left me unimpressed, which is at odds with the fact it’s a tremendous vehicle on all fronts, except range. I guess it finally hit home that the days of twin-turbo V6 engines, V8’s and diesels are going to die off sooner than you think. The Audi e-tron 50 quattro Sportback does everything right, but fails to ignite.
It’s an 80 out of 100 from me.