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Drove an e-tron: some thoughts

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.

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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.

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