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Audi e-tron 55 long-term review

Audi e-tron 55 long-term review

The E-tron has been my daily driver for over 6 months now, and there's a lot to tell. The flagship EV from Audi is a luxury SUV that offers plenty for every driver!


Switching from a combustion engine to an EV

That's the big question, isn't it? It took me a long time of consideration, weighing positives and negatives, and countless hours of going back and forth. But eventually, I made the decision to switch entirely to an EV.

As my lease contract was running out, I had to make a decision fast. Pay way too much taxes for an internal combustion engine. Go for a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Or ... go fully electric?

I'm not going to lie about it; I don't see the point of PHEV. In my network, several people own one. The benefits don't outweigh the negatives. Mainly due to the lack of proper charging infrastructure that affects PHEVs more than it does EVs. Don't get me wrong on that. EV's are obviously more dependent on charging points. But basically everybody I know that owns a PHEV is running on petrol for most of the time because of an empty battery. They often don't have a charging station at home because a) it's too expensive or b) the company won't pay for one. After just a few miles, the battery is depleted, and they continue to drive without charge for the remainder of the week. The underpowered engine thus has to work harder than it's intended to on paper, resulting in sky-high consumption levels.

All the same, the range of the cars isn't that much better than EVs. A brand new 2023 Mercedes CLA 250e has a real-life range of just 500 km. That's just 80 km more than the Audi e-tron can do. So what's the point then?

But that's not the entire picture. I love engines. The bigger, the better. But I realize more and more that fuel isn't the way forward. Every big manufacturer is switching to EVs only in the years to come, so why not get used to it? Yes, I silently pray that biofuel will take off in a few years, but for the time being I'll settle for an EV.

That, and the fact that financially, an EV is far more interesting than an ICE (internal combustion engine), the choice made sense in every regard.

Positives about the Audi e-tron

The looks

The Audi e-tron is a piece of art. From the first launch in 2019, the e-tron stood out as an absolute beauty. Over the years, Audi has only made it more and more pleasing to the eye.

The e-tron is a bold statement of luxury and aggressiveness. I mean, it's hard not to talk about it. This car is a head-turner. People know you mean business when you pull up in one of these. Personally, I think it's one of the sexiest SUVs on the market right now, even taking into account normal petrol-fueled cars.


Ride quality and comfort

Every manufacturer has at least a few EVs, but the offer is still relatively limited if you want a decent-sized car. My first pick was a Kia EV6, but after driving the e-tron, my mind was made up.

The e-tron is a top-of-the-range Audi in every regard. Not just in terms of price (unfortunately), but also in terms of comfort, space, and finish. My previous company car was an Audi Q3, which was a good all-rounder. I still consider it more practical for city driving than the e-tron will ever be. But the massive difference in comfort and luxury was shocking.

My first presumption was, "How good can it really be? Is the car going to be that much further ahead of a middle segment?" And man, was I surprised! The first feeling stepping into it was that of size. The e-tron is several inches wider and longer than a Q3, and that is very noticeable when driving. Not just the proportions are different, but the weight is a big factor too. The e-tron is a heavy car at almost 2.6 metric tons. You realize quite quickly that you're driving something with more mass than your average ICE. But that doesn't mean the e-tron feels like a boat. No, surprisingly, the e-tron feels lighter on its feet than it is.

What stands out most, though, is the superb ride quality. The air suspension absorbs bumps and road imperfections like a champ. For a daily driver, it's a perfect blend of luxury interior and comfort for those tiresome miles to work. The steering is weighted nicely. It's light when you want it to be and feels heavy and responsive when you put it in its most sporty setting.

The seats are nice, the overall cabin feeling is great. And the finish quality gives you a real feeling of luxury and finesse. The triple-screen infotainment stands out in the center. It's practical, though the lack of physical buttons can be a bit tricky when driving. But considering you don't always play around with your airco settings, it's not that bad anyway.

Nevertheless, it's still a big car, making parking and overall maneuverability less convenient. Even now, six months in, I still find parking to be a bit of a challenge in the often tighter spots. A real recommendation is the 360-degree camera. That added perspective makes a world of difference!



The e-tron isn't by any means a sporty car. Yes, the 408 hp from the 55 Quattro will push you firmly into your seat, but the car doesn't encourage you to put your foot down all the time. Lower the suspension and put it in 'Dynamic,' and you will find plenty of horsepower to play with. Don't think for a minute the e-tron is slow, though. The e-tron is more than capable of leaving behind several high-performance sports cars with minimal effort. The instant power makes the ride even nicer.

On boost, the car delivers a firm 408 hp, and that's plenty. Certainly, there are faster EV SUVs on the market. But in all fairness, I've barely been able to use the launch control function on the e-tron. It's a great thing to have, but in real life, you hardly ever use it. The times I have were either when I was driving alone in the car or to 'show off' when somebody wanted a demonstration. No passenger truly enjoys being pushed back hard in their seat all the time anyway. But if they do, just pull back the gear selecter into 'Dynamic,' and you'll find the car plenty fast for your entertainment and convenience.

The limited 125 mph is plenty as well, unless you take the e-tron to the autobahn. Luckily, you'll outperform most cars on acceleration, but regular ICEs will come flying by after a while (if traffic allows it).


The 95 kWh battery pack can charge at an impressive 150 kW when connected to a fast charger. That means you can charge 80% of the battery in roughly 30 minutes. That's plenty fast for your average commute if you depart with enough juice to get you underway. Overall, I found that the charging is fairly consistent. In Belgium, however, finding enough charging points is quite a challenge. I mainly charge the e-tron at home, and depending on whatever my electricity company decides to provide me with, that ranges between 3.5 - 11 kW.

On my first EV experience I must say I don't mind charging all the time. It becomes a habit to plug your car in whenever you can, just to top it off. I mind it less than refueling at a gas station.



Being a top-of-the-range SUV, you can expect the practicality to be top-notch. The boot capacity is an impressive 605L, with a nice wide loading area. You can easily stow several suitcases or IKEA furniture in the back. Lower the back seats, and that capacity will increase to a massive 1755 liters. That's plenty of golf clubs, dogs, or bicycles on your weekend trip! The rear-end is quite high, though. So you might find your pants to be covered in dirt if you have to load something large or heavy. 

Like I said before, maneuvering can be challenging because of the relatively long turning circle. In city centers, you will notice the wide wheel arches and body when driving through tight gaps. I particularly found parking garages to be butt-clenchingly scary as most of them appear to be made for the average VW Golf, which is about 4 inches thinner. However, if you don't sleep on the 360 camera, you'll be just fine!

Bad things about the Audi e-tron


Ah... Yes... Honestly, the range is a letdown. On average, I manage just 380 km (or roughly 236 miles) on a full charge. Weather is a huge factor to take into consideration. At the time of writing, the temperature outside ranges between 30-35°C. The e-tron seems to like that, as I even reached a range of 430 km (or 267 miles). That's a good 50 km up on what I average during lower temperatures. I even found the added use of air conditioning to have a limited impact on the car's range. 

But overall, I'm not fully satisfied with what I average with the e-tron. I'm not sure other EVs will do much better either. 430 km or 380 km (subzero temperatures even pushed me back to 350 km at times) is good enough for my daily commute, but it makes longer trips stressful. And, yes, the 95 kWh battery pack charges quickly enough to counter the short range. But that doesn't take away the urge to look down at 'what's left' of the battery and stress whether or not you'll make it. Floor the throttle on occasion, and you'll see the charge evaporate before you can say 'oops.'

The Price

A top-of-the-line model comes with a top-of-the-line price. It's not surprising for a car that has now been labeled 'Q8 e-tron.' Audi considers it to be the electric version of its flagship Q8 model. So, obviously, you'll pay Q8 money for that.

But typically, Audi being Audi, means you'll start with a price you might consider 'fair.' But that's before you end up with a massive amount of options that (imho) should be standard. A fully specced e-tron will set you back well over $145,000. That's a lot of money. And trust me... things escalate quickly once you've opened the configurator.

And, for that money, you can get a nicely equipped A6 or A7. Surely, if you're looking for an SUV, the Q5 or Q8 will also fall well within that price range.


So then, why would you? And would I do it again? The simple answer is... Yes. I would. I think if Audi is able to buff out some small imperfections, up the range and comfort, there's a fair chance my next car will be a future generation e-tron.

Driving fully electric is fun. Yes, I love a good 'old' engine, and I love hearing a V8 purr. But for a daily driver, none of that trumps the smoothness and calmness an EV brings along. Besides that, Audi just fits my needs. Surely, the BMW and Mercedes alternatives are up for the task too, but personal preference will be the biggest decider. My own preference might change in the future, who knows. For now, I'll take this car over anything I've driven so far.

The e-tron doesn't just look stunning. It's a fast, relaxing, and comfortable cruiser that will be a trusted companion on many journeys to come. I don't think I'll regret my decision to go electric anytime soon.


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