Audi This fall e-tron 2021 assessment – a premium tackle VW’s ID.4?

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The brand new midsize Audi This fall e-tron is a vital automobile for the premium German marque, as not solely does it push forward with Audi’s electrical automobile agenda, however it’ll even be the mannequin to democratise its EV vary, costing far lower than its costly e-tron SUV and GT. In consequence, Audi is ambitiously forecasting the brand new This fall can be its second-highest-selling mannequin within the UK behind the A3 within the subsequent two to 3 years, filling its area of interest with a variety of variants in two physique kinds. But whereas Audi’s gross sales forecasts are prone to be confirmed proper, the precise automobile it has constructed for the job is what we’re extra focused on, as this third all-electric mannequin from Audi ought to tackle board all the things it has learnt from its different EV fashions and bundle it right into a extra inexpensive and commercially profitable bundle.

Peel away the pores and skin and also you’ll discover that this Audi takes its underpinnings from Volkswagen, adopting the MEB platform shared with the ID.3 and ID.4, and in addition subsequently Skoda’s Enyaq and Cupra’s Born. But Audi has arguably jumped the gun with its This fall, as whereas it could have been overwhelmed onto the market by most of its cousins, with two physique kinds, battery packs and powertrain layouts obtainable from launch, the This fall is already probably the most numerous of its prolonged VW household.

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Its connection to those fashions is evident, as beneath the advanced (some may say fussy) bodywork is a well-known cab-forward silhouette, lengthy wheelbase and brief overhangs. Each commonplace and Sportback our bodies are styled identically, save for the latter’s roofline which dips down in the direction of the rear giving it a fastback rear finish.

Entry-level vehicles make do with only a single rear-mounted motor with both 167bhp or 204bhp outputs, but it surely’s the 300bhp dual-motor possibility we’re driving right here which provides a motor to the entrance axle, additionally making it all-wheel drive. All variants are then powered from a battery pack that lies beneath the cabin ground, with the motors built-in into the axles. Battery choices are both 52kWh or 77kWh, with the smaller pack reserved for the entry-level 167bhp variant. Actual-world vary is aggressive throughout the board, with single-motor variants paired with the bigger battery pack able to round 300 miles (323 miles claimed), though dual-motor variants usually tend to hover round 250-270 miles (295 miles claimed). 

So with all this shared {hardware} how does the This fall justify its premium standing? Audi says that is by peerless design excellence, construct high quality and expertise, one thing the corporate has largely managed to realize throughout its transformation during the last 20 years. And it’s these qualities the brand new This fall must painting, because the £4000 premium over the price of the bigger ID.4 and Enyaq must be defined by some means.

Step contained in the This fall and the inside you’re greeted with has a fancy association of shapes and supplies which can be more and more typical of contemporary Audis. Scratch beneath the surfaces, although, and substance is missing. Whereas it’s effectively constructed and spacious, materials high quality is common at greatest, and the digital interfaces are positive however actually not class main. It’s onerous to not evaluate it to its carefully associated brethren, and when Skoda’s Enyaq gives such an opulent various contemplating its lower cost level, the Audi’s prestigious aspirations start to look slightly bold.

That is felt as soon as on the highway, too, because the experience high quality lacks sophistication, the This fall usually crashing into intrusions and pogo-ing over the highway floor as each the entrance and rear axles run out of concepts on something apart from a dead-smooth highway. Our particular automobile was driving on 20-inch wheels (21s are non-obligatory) and the S-line suspension set-up, but it surely’s probably the dearth of adaptive dampers that sealed this particular This fall’s destiny. The stiff suspension doesn’t actually assist round corners both, because the 2135kg kerb weight makes it really feel like a really blunt instrument. Admittedly, few producers have gotten their heads round the best way to correctly arrange electrical vehicles but, however the This fall is resoundingly common, particularly in comparison with EV rivals such because the Kia EV6.

What’s particularly disappointing, although, is that the This fall feels nothing greater than reasonably brisk, its punch diluted by that mass it’s tasked with propelling. Low-to-mid-speed throttle and brake calibration is ok, however each battle to execute linear {smooth} operations, whereas the brakes themselves, like a lot of VW’s MEB merchandise, don’t have the chew you’d anticipate of a automobile weighing the unsuitable facet of two tons.

But desirous about the This fall e-tron from a consumers perspective, this lack of coherency received’t probably be sufficient to discourage consumers. It trails most rivals in most areas, and whereas it’s not ostensibly a foul automobile, we’re unsure it’s adequate both.

Costs and rivals

As talked about, all Q4s value over £40,000, the vary opening with a 167bhp single-motor Sport variant with a 52kWh battery pack, rising proper as much as and over £65,000 for the dual-motor Vorsprung. Mannequin-for-model, that is about £4000 greater than the bigger Skoda Enyaq and Volkswagen ID.4, with the stronger Skoda Enyaq Coupe vRS priced from £51,885.

Whereas its in-house rivals (particularly the Skoda) have a small lead on the Audi, it’s really rivals from exterior the group that can show to be the This fall’s largest menace. The Kia EV6 proper now’s the standout electrical automobile at this worth level, not solely providing an improved worth proposition but additionally being considerably higher to drive. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 can also be a consideration, and is a much more distinctive possibility with its Blade Runner design and class-leading inside.

That is the state of issues in 2021. Audi has been outgunned by rivals from Hyundai and Kia, and Skoda’s cheaper variant has an enormous march on inside atmosphere and construct high quality. But Audi’s model cache remains to be leagues forward of these of all involved, and for the premium electrical SUV buyer that’ll probably be sufficient to make sure its gross sales success.

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