A friend of mine was able to borrow the first e-tron allocation in Wichita for a day to review and he let me have a go in it. I had been somewhat removed from the news the past couple of weeks so I knew basically nothing about it going in other than “Audi Crossover But Electric”. My instructions were “Make sure it’s in dynamic and to a few pulls from 40, and whip it through corners”.
And so I did.
The biggest thing with the e-tron is it feels and works like a normal car. Everything was logical, everything was where I expected it to be. The shifter made sense, the HVAC made sense (though I’m not a fan of it having its own touch screen, give me a knob please!), the radio made sense (and had a physical volume knob in the center console, a move that should garner Audi praise because knobs are the king), and the gauge cluster is fantastic with a regen meter to the left, speedo to the right, and the middle is a map of where you are which made a quick spin in an unfamiliar area of town a breeze to find some roads worth beating the car up on.
The driving dynamics and acceleration are really the least interesting part of this car. Does it go? Yeah it go. Does it turn? Yeah it turn. It feels like a crossover and drives like a crossover with typical electric car dynamics. It felt virtually identical to a Tesla to drive, but the experience of the car itself was far different because it felt like a fully fledged product. I could never shake the feeling driving Teslas that they’re still in beta, and a bit of a gimmick car.
What excites me is the possibilities that arise from VAG coming up with a competent electric car platform. I absolutely cannot wait to see this sort of powertrain in, say, an R8 or TT successor. Or maybe a Golf eTron R.