2022 Audi e-tron quattro Review by Ben Lewis

It’s been an Audi lovefest the past few weeks here at CRD. We’ve tested the S4, A4 and now we’re reviewing the fully electric e-tron SUV. While the other sedabs wooed us with their wonderful engines, we wondered can an EV powered Audi win our hearts as well? Let’s find out!

Hello Handsome

We’ve noticed a trend in the EV world, either you make it look crazy and unique, or you make it look much like the gas-powered choices, the BMW i4 comes to mind – making an easier transition for those coming from fossil fuel cars.

We’d say that the e-tron fits in that second category. It could easily fit in with Audi’s stable of Q3, Q5 and Q7 models.

Case in point, from the front you’ll see the familiar large Audi grille. Well technically you don’t need much of one on an EV, but to keep it looking familiar, it’s here. Our tester had the optional Digital Matrix LED headlights that not only shine nicely, but they also throw fun stuff like e-tron logos as the car is being started. Tying it all together is a nice lower fascia that gives a sporty vibe.

The profile gives off a sporty vibe with muscular fenders, a swept-back C-pillar, and snug lines with little overhang front and rear. One of the few clues that our e-tron is an EV – the door for the charging port on the driver’s front fender. You might not even notice that, but you can’t help but eye down the gorgeous and massive 21-inch 5-double-V-spoke design alloys, blacked out for extra badness. All the better to see the contrasting yellow brake calipers poking out between the spokes.

The rear has the same crisp design, with a full-width LED light that can do fun stuff like segmenting for turns, while the lower fascia adds some toughness to the design. The finishing touch on our tester was the Navarra Blue paint which looked rich and deep. You might not know this is an EV, but you do know it’s an Audi, and a top-line, luxury one as well.

Entertainment Center

Like the S4, and A4, the e-tron keeps the tradition of best-in-class interior design and materials.

Open the door, and you’re immediately hit by the spaciousness of the cabin, especially the width – bring your shoulders. Rich leather on the seats looks and smells terrific, and the and the natural wood inlays are simply breathtaking and elegant. Settle into deeply contoured front sport buckets and you know you’ve got comfort for hours. Those in the back also appreciate loads of room, and even with seats up, you’ve got loads of cargo space. Flip them down and the hold is huge. While some EV’s feel like the battery packs reduce space, it doesn’t feel like it’s hurting you here. The e-tron even has a small “frunk” front truck, the perfect place to store the adapter that lets you charge the big Audi at home.

Spacious seating indeed, but we still call the driver’s seat. Serving you up info is a trio of screens, including Audi’s virtual cockpit, that gives you a choice of gauge displays, and is bright, clear and extremely useful.  We also liked our tester’s optional head-up display – useful for quick speed checks.

Dual displays on the center stack include a 10-inch info-tainment touch screen, which looks great and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, naturally. The 8.8-inch lower screen is dedicated to the climate control, heated seats and the like. We used to love Audi’s rotary knob info system, but this one is so intuitive we don’t miss it one bit.  

You’ll have to get used to the extra push the haptic controls want, but we like Audi’s way better than others that are so light you can easily accidentally tap an adjacent switch. And one extra kudo to Audi, they made sure to include a volume knob – thoughtfully within fingertip reach of your hand when it rests on the gear lever. 

We like that unique gear lever, too – the black part is fixed, and you rest your palm, then just toggle the metal button to choose you gears. We’ve never seen one like this before, but you immediately figure it out, and it’s another example of Audi’s wonderful interior design.

The Siren Song of EV Performance Calls

Driving the e-tron is a revelation.

Power is plentiful, with two electric motors, one at each axle that pump out an impressive combined 355 horsepower and 414 lb.-ft of torque. And that isn’t all, in Sport mode, you get a quick temporary boost to a jaw dropping 402 horses and 490 torques – that’s muscle car territory.

Another win – EV’s give that torque instantly, so you rocket away from a stop, and the e-tron just keeps pulling. Effortless and amazingly smooth, you’re looking at 0-60 in around 5 seconds – excellent for a big, luxury SUV. We also love the piped-in Star Trek-ish propulsion sound, that gives you some feedback to the throttle, can alert those outside at low speeds, and also feels futuristic and cool.

EV fans will want to know about range and charge, and here the Audi is competitive, with an estimated range of 222 miles, while the 150-kW fast charger can get you 80% of battery in 30 minutes. Perfect when you’re out and about town. Using a 240-volt outlet will take nine hours, and you can even use a home plug-in adapter. Obviously that’s not very fast, but works in a pinch – we found we could pick up 30-40 miles on an overnight.

You can love the e-tron just for the power, but there’s plenty more. There’s the typical Teflon smooth Audi steering that’s light, yet feelsome and precise, and the grippy all-wheel drive that makes hustling the big SUV easy and rewarding.

The ride is also supple and smooth, and with the silent EV powertrain you are gliding in regal luxury on the highway. The e-tron ends up being a delight to drive, no matter what your mission is for the day.

What’s the Charge?

Well, like the A4 and S4, the e-tron has a wide range of prices depending on how friendly you get with the options.

Our e-tron started at $65,900, which is very competitive in the luxury EV ranks. Our loaded tester added $595 for the handsome Navarra Blue metallic paint, an eye-watering $17,500 for the Chronos Edition package, $750 for a trailer hitch, $475 for e-tron beam front and rear, and $340 for a privacy trunk cover. We did get a $250 rebate since our tester did not have the Audi Phone Box (perhaps a supply chain issue…). Add in $1,195 for destination, and we rang the bell at $86,505. Nearly $20k in options! Gulp.

A key competitor would be the new BMW iX xDrive50, which would be faster and sportier, with a starting price at $84,000 and comparably priced at $95,550 it’s a large step up. The new Mercedes EQB 350 4Maticlooks very competitive as well, and at $69,155 is the value play in luxury EV SUV’s – but it doesn’t have the look of the Audi or BMW.

The 2022 Audi e-tron quattro EV is beautiful to look at, a thrill to drive, and could lure even the most die-hard, gas-fueled enthusiast.  We love it!