Audi e-tron 55: Purchase decision process & initial 400 kms review

The e-tron is simply one size bigger than the other two. Its more like a "Q6" in terms of size in between the Q5 and the Q7 and has only 2 rows of seats.

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So after a couple of months of R&D including feedback from my friends in other countries where EVs are more mainstream, and a few test drives in real Indian conditions we finally got home an Audi e-tron 55 in Navarra Blue a couple of weeks ago.

We were in the market for a nice upgrade from our 12 year old Honda Civic that has valiantly slogged for 100k Km so far. We started by looking at the new Skoda Superb, but soon enough the desire to upgrade to a luxury brand got us into looking at the Germans. Once you've been spoiled by the space on offer in a Superb, then the X1/GLA/Q3, X3/GLC/Q5 or A4/C/3 Series don't really cut it. With God's grace, budget not being a constraint, we were soon looking at the BMW 6 GT (the rear spoiler is super cool) and Merc E as options.

Having reached that level and given that we tend to own our cars for a long time, we then decided that might as well go electric now itself and enjoy being a pioneer instead of going the ICE route and then looking for a change in 5-6 years time. So that narrowed the scope down to the Audi e-tron, the Jaguar i-Pace and the Merc EQC. The BMW iX was sold out to the select few nobles in India and the dealer shooed us away like beggars without as much as a "let me note your contact details".

Key reasons for finally choosing the e-tron over everything else came down to a few simple things in the end:

  • Space: The e-tron is simply one size bigger than the other two. Its more like a "Q6" in terms of size in between the Q5 and the Q7 and has only 2 rows of seats. However, the first two rows actually have more space than the Q7's first two rows. Super comfortable and you can actually seat 4 in the back seat.
  • Technology: All the cars have the top end specs for their respective brands. However, the Audi's tech pack with the Digital Matrix lights, the 900 combination ambient lighting are one step above the other two. Standard goodies like 360 camera, air suspension, etc. are essential in this country not to bang your new wheels in our traffic and roads!
  • Practicality: The Jag has a fixed glass roof that heats up like crazy in our weather - while in theory the AC can handle it, it eats up your battery fast. This is likely to be a problem for the Teslas too, as an when they come to India. Also, the boot has very little useable space because the spare tire sits in it. So you can pay 1 Cr+ and have as much boot space as a Suzuki Alto. The Merc has super low ground clearance because of the battery pack and with no-air suspension - so you are guaranteed to hit every other road hump in this country. The Audi suffers from none of these issues - it has a fully closeable sun-roof with blinds, boot space is enormous with the spare tire tucked away under the normal boot and with air suspension you get those critical extra 3 cm of ground clearance. Finally the Audi comes with a 22 KW home charger, that is 2x the speed of the other two - then it becomes a no-brainer really.

We've done some 400 km in it so far - ride is brilliant, silent and after a while you get used to the driving mechanics which is somewhat a mix between an automatic and a manual - it doesn't creep forward like an automatic and you have to press the accelerator to make it go, but then there's no gear shifting involved.

Real world range seems to be between 330 and 370 km, haven't done enough running to figure that out accurately yet.

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