One of the less-noticed facets of the electrical automobile revolution is how a lot it would compress the standard variations between luxurious “premium” merchandise and “mainstream” market merchandise. A silent revolution, you may say. Prior to now, for instance, “refinement” was a dividing line. Within the days after they used to say the one noise you could possibly detect inside a Rolls-Royce continuing at velocity was the clock, however you couldn’t have a dialog together with your passenger in a Mini even when it was stationary, the excellence was loud and clear.
Now, although, electrical drivetrains have rendered such distinctions largely out of date. If you want, you may nonetheless spend your money on a much bigger automobile, one with a better-appointed inside or a posher badge, but it surely’s not that simple to purchase further silence.
Which brings me to the premium Audi model’s This autumn Sportback 50 e-tron quattro 229PS 220kW S line, to provide it its full title. It’s a sibling to Volkswagen Group’s different medium-to-large electrical SUVs: the Skoda Enyaq, the VW ID.4 and the forthcoming Seat Born. (There’s additionally a much less stylish-looking This autumn model). They’re all constructed on the VW Group modular electrical toolkit “platform” so, when it comes to their underlying engineering, they’re pretty related.
The variations in refinement between a Skoda Enyaq, a VW ID.4 and an Audi This autumn Sportback are even smaller than between a Skoda Octavia, VW Golf and Audi A4, all with related inner combustion engines. This differential was in any case getting so slim that an Audi boss a couple of years in the past remarked that he didn’t perceive why everybody didn’t purchase a less expensive Skoda as an alternative of an Audi.
Of the three, the Skoda is one of the best worth and is offensively styled inside and outside; the VW ID.4 seems to be bulkier than it’s however has an progressive and enticing cabin, and the Audi This autumn… effectively, it has an enormous Audi grille on the entrance, is sportier trying and the cabin meets the same old expectations of an Audi purchaser. Given it’s a show-off Audi you may as effectively go for the enormous 21-inch alloy wheels (at a £1,275 premium). However in any other case, this brash EV doesn’t really feel prefer it has something compelling about it.
As with the others, it’s a positive drive. In sport mode, it will possibly virtually break your neck (mercifully there are economy-first choices). As with its counterparts, it feels heavy. However the Quattro-style four-wheel drive on my take a look at automobile (one electrical motor for the entrance wheels, and one for the rear) was sure-footed sufficient, in addition to speedy. It additionally has a very good vary: 200 to 250 miles with affordable care, courtesy of a giant, environment friendly (82kWh) battery pack.
As common, the downside is the time it takes to cost: many hours on a “quick” dwelling charger, however possibly half an hour to “refill” with an additional 100 miles on the quickest chargers, if yow will discover one. That’s more and more the issue because the take-up fee of electrical automobiles outpaces the set up of usable quick chargers. There additionally must be a bit extra of a disincentive for non-electric vehicles and vans parking in EV charging bays and a “dialog” about whether or not plug-in hybrids rely as EVs for the aim of entry to chargers.
I can actually advocate the This autumn Sportback e-tron in any of its guises − smaller or bigger battery packs, and rear or four-wheel drive. However on stability, the smaller batteried, two-wheel-drive model is greater than sufficient for many wants.
Audi drivers won’t be let down. Nonetheless, the model’s benefit in expertise, design and refinement is being radically narrowed not simply by its in-house Skoda (and possibly Seat) rivals however by new fashions from Kia (EV6) and Hyundai (Ioniq 5). When you’re not a lot affected by the price of residing disaster and may run to any of those spectacular state-of-the-art fashions, you received’t be disillusioned.