Audi E-Tron vs Tesla Model X – Which One Would You Choose?


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Technical Details

Tesla Model X Standard RangeLong RangePerformance
Miles Per kWh3.03 2.8572.631
Range258314 301
0-60 Seconds4.44.42.7
Top Speed MPH155 155155
Audi E-TronE-TronQuattro
Miles Per kWh2.62.4
Range Miles252250
0-60 Seconds6.65.5
Top Speed124124

Use our Miles Per kWh Calculator to work out how much cheaper it will be to run an EV vs a gas vehicle.

This is the new Audi E-Tron a pure electric SUV, it’s a five-passenger vehicle that’s bigger than an Audi Q5 and smaller than an Audi Q7. As you’d expect it’s loaded with luxury and technology, it’s also wrapped in a mighty stylish package.

Throughout this article, we’re going to talk numbers, from price and performance to range and recharging times we’ll also discuss the E-Tron driving dynamics and its suitability for the real world.

Models

When you buy an Audi E-Tron you choose between Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. The Premium Plus version goes for $74,800 while the prestige goes for $79,100 plus a destination charge of $995.

The E-Tron is eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to seven thousand five hundred dollars and may qualify for additional state and local rebates. If you live in California note that as of December 3rd, 2019 the Audi E-Tron no longer qualifies for the state rebate.

Before that date, you could get an additional twenty-five hundred dollars back. now the California rebates are available only for electric vehicles that are priced below sixty thousand dollars and that does not include the E-Tron.

Upgrades Available

My test vehicle has prestige trim, the primary upgrades include comfort design massaging front seats, premium val Kona leather, an air quality package with an ionizer and a fragrance system. An expanded version of Audi virtual cockpit, a head-up display, rear side window shades and more.

The test car we tried had 21-inch turbine-style wheels that are also exclusive to the E-Tron prestige and they cost one thousand five hundred dollars extra.

Both versions of the E-Tron can be optioned with a cold-weather package including heated washer jets, heated rear outboard seat cushions and an additional high voltage heater to improve interior heating and battery preconditioning.

A towing package is also available increasing capacity to 4,000 pounds, and every pink color except for black is going to run you another five hundred ninety-five dollars.

Trim Levels

My test car was bright blue and it had prestige trim, the optional 21-inch wheels and the cold weather package bringing the price to $83,000.90.

If you’re wondering what the gurus recommended trim is, I’d say that unless you can’t live with the more luxurious interior and the bigger wheels you should stick with Premium Plus trim.

Since we’ve got so much technical detail to get to I don’t want to dwell too long on exterior styling or interior design or matters related to comfort and cargo space, so let’s hit the highlights.

The E-Tron looks terrific with a more upscale appearance than an Audi Q5 and with more character than an Audi Q7.

Interior

Inside the E-Tron boasts the same sophisticated technology that you’ll find in the late Audi A6, A7 & 8.

The cabin is constructed of a mix of high-quality materials such as the suede door panel inserts and matte finish walnut wood, to unexpectedly inexpensive bits like the lower dashboard panels and other pieces of trim.

Four adults fit into the E-Tron without any trouble and each of them gets their own individual climate controls, a fifth person can squeeze into the backseat when necessary.

With heating ventilation and massage, the test vehicle’s front chairs are perfect for longer trips regardless of the weather and the optional rear-seat heaters came in handy during a cold and wet week in Southern California.

Cargo Space

Cargo space measures 28.5 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 57 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down. You can store the E-Tron charging cable in the well under the cargo floor or in a shallow tray under the hood.

Interior Storage

Interior storage space is limited which is a common Audi problem. The glove box looks huge but isn’t and the center console storage bin is tiny. There is a large bin in the middle of the console that houses a wireless smartphone charger and cup holders, but there’s no way to close the entire thing for a cleaner look.

Safety

As far as safety is concerned, every E-Tron includes a long list of advanced driver assistance systems including Audi presence 360, that’s a collection of technologies that can sense when a collision is about to occur and then take pre-emptive measures to best protect occupants in frontal, side, and rear-impact crashes.

I used the E-Tron’s adaptive cruise and lane-keeping systems on local freeways and when the systems worked as intended, they proved both refined and sophisticated.

When they didn’t, such as when the E-Tron began braking for no obvious reason and when the steering suddenly tugged right as lanes narrowed from two to one and when the steering tried to hug the inside line of a curve, they proved to be a significant irritant.

It’s too bad these driving aids are hard to trust because using the E-Tron touch-sensing controls is frequently distracting, large virtual buttons where subtle haptic feedback do help. But without any topographical reference points, you’re forced to look away from the road to properly place your finger in the right location on the screen.

Voice Recognition

Luckily, the each Ron’s voice recognition technology helps you to make adjustments. I had no trouble at all using the natural voice recognition to change the cabin temperature. activate the heated seats. Find the nearest source of my favorite coffee or get directions to both my house and my favorite local restaurant. you can even input locations using the handwriting recognition system on the lower screen.

Sound System

I’m also a big fan of the standard wireless apple car-play, the virtual cockpit instrumentation, and the outstanding Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. I mean it made what little hair I have left on my head vibrate with undistorted bass.

Propulsion System

Okay, let’s move on to Audi’s electric propulsion system, and what it’s like to drive this E-Tron.

One elephant in the room is the E-Tron 204 miles of EPA estimated driving range. Tesla Model X offers up to 124 more miles of range, but it also costs almost ten thousand dollars more than the Audi.

In defense of this Range rating, Audi argues that eighty percent of people who own an electric car will charge it at home or work rather than on the road and that it will recharge overnight with a level to a 240-volt power source.

Charging

The charging cable even includes compatibility with a level to 240-volt outlet so rather than buy a complete home charging station, you just have to have an electrician come and install the necessary outlet in your garage.

Audi says that the E-Tron recharges in about a hundred hours using a standard 120-volt household outlet, and it takes about nine hours using a level two 240 volt outlet so you’re going to want the level two solution.

The E-Tron is also compatible with level three DC fast chargers that supply up to 150 kilowatts of power, using one of these the E-Tron recharges to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes.

Range

If you’re road-tripping or simply need to quickly grab some range to get home, Audi has partnered with Electrify America to provide one thousand kilowatt-hours of free charging during the first four years of each run’s ownership.

Don’t get too excited about that, when translated that equates to about two thousand miles of driving according to Audi so this deal is designed for occasional use when you’re away from home and in need of some extra juice.

You also need to understand that if you want to use the 150 kilowatts DC fast charging solution, these are far less common within the Electrify America network. for example, in California Electrify America has got over 4,000 charging stations, but at the end of 2019, only 44 of them included DC fast charging.

What’s worse, not all DC fast chargers solutions offer 150-kilowatt power, the closest one to my house is at a target 32.9 miles away and it offers 125 or 350 kilowatts charging, not a 150-kilowatt solution.

So while Audi’s claim that you can quickly get 54 miles of range after just 10 minutes of charging, certainly is reassuring, in reality, you’re going to spend more time than that when connected to the vast majority of public chargers.

The bigger question is this, does the hassle with public charging even matter? according to Audi, the average person commutes 160 miles per week, and if you’re someone who drives 15,000 miles annually that’s still less than 42 miles per day.

If you’re regularly charging the Audi at home or at work using a level 2 charging solution, the E-Tron is 204-mile range rating is of little consequence.

Performance

Moving on liquid-cooled front and rear electric motors create a standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system, and the E-Tron makes 402 horsepower and 414 pound-feet of torque.

Put the SUV in sport mode to engage boost mode which maximizes acceleration with a total of 490 pounds of torque. This brings us to the other elephant in the room which is the E-Tron’s performance.

With boost mode engaged Audi says this five thousand seven hundred fifty four-pound SUV accelerates to 60 miles per hour and as little as 5.5 seconds. Top speed is limited to 124 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, Tesla claims that a standard Model X hits 60 miles an hour in 4.4 seconds and tops out at 155 miles an hour and if you get the Model X Performance Package, 60 miles an hour arrives in 2.7 seconds and that version will scream down the freeway at 163 miles per hour.

To truly self-confident people none of this mine is bigger than yours stuff matters, the Audi E-Tron is downright fast in boost mode and when was the last time you drove a car triple-digit speeds?

Unfortunately for Audi, many American luxury vehicle buyers seek the best model, however, that’s defined and in comparison to its primary competitor the Tesla Model X, the Audi E-Tron range and performance numbers are not Brad worthy.

So if you’re the type of person that’s going to shrivel up and shame every time a Tesla driver shows you up when the traffic light turns green, don’t get this Audi.

Frankly, I don’t care about that and Audi E-Tron is far better looking than Tesla’s egg on wheels the Model X. Also, in my opinion, the problem with any electric vehicle that is not a Tesla is the charging Network.

Charging Networks

Right now as we’re writing this review Electrify America simply cannot compete with Tesla’s supercharger network, which by the way is free to use if you’ve got a Tesla Model X.

If the charging situation is of little consequence to you, know that the Audi E-Tron is good to drive. As you get started a futuristic war is followed by uncanny silence and then, as you reach freeway speeds, slight amounts of wind and road noise.

Several driving modes are available including efficiency, comfort auto and dynamic.

You can also custom tailor various ride and handling qualities using the individual mode, and there are both all road and off-road modes for when you would take the E-Tron off-road.

But with just six-point nine inches of ground clearance, you’re not going to want to travel too far off the beaten path.

Generally, driving the E-Tron is a sublime experience. The regenerative brakes can be a little touchy making it hard to execute smooth stops every time.

Riding Comfort

And despite its air suspension when taking one major pavement undulation on my testing loop at speed, the E-Tron threw its weight around like your drunk uncle at a local bar.

Otherwise, during my testing, this electrified Audi exhibited the typical behavior of a button-down German sports wagon. It is faultless at extra-legal speeds on the highway, effortless to drive in the city and suburbs and enjoyable on a twisty mountain road.

Electricity Consumption

As far as electricity consumption goes how did the E-Tron perform? On the testing day, the Sun was out and temperatures were in the 50s.

I left home with 148 miles of indicated range and after 56.1 miles of driving at an average speed of 33 miles per hour, the trip computer said the SUV had 83 miles of range left. 65 fewer than the initial range prediction.

During the test, I average two miles of driving for every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed. That’s a greater burn rate than the EPA’s estimate of 2.174 miles per kilowatt-hour and my result translates into a 187.7-mile range falling short of Audis estimated 204-mile range by sixteen points three.

Most people most of the time can easily live with an electric vehicle, especially one providing more than 200 miles of range. The challenge is when you need more range than an EV provides.

The charging network simply isn’t as broad standardized or reliable as existing refueling infrastructure, and it takes much more time to recharge an EV than it does to refuel a gas-burning vehicle.

And that’s why I’m such a huge fan of plug-in hybrids, they work either way. And in 2020 Audi will have a new plug-in version of its popular Q5 available for your consideration.

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