There is an increasing demand for all-electric vehicles, and Audi aims to meet it with the e-tron. The 2021 Audi e-tron might not be as hyper-stylized or high-tech as some of its competitions, but the e-tron takes the more traditional elements of a luxury vehicle and adds an EV edge.
The e-tron manages to get a towing capacity of 4,000 pounds and comes with standard all-wheel drive (which Audi calls Quattro), making it tougher than some of the competition. Its 200-mile electric range is not best-in-class, but it is not too shabby either. Besides, the e-tron is geared more toward everyday commutes, so this range should be sufficient for many drivers. The 350-kw rapid-charging takes the vehicle's charge up to about 80 percent in just about 20 minutes, so there is an advantage to the e-tron.
The new e-tron looks a bit different than the concept version presented at the 2020 Los Angeles Auto Show. It mixes all-new signature e-tron elements with classic Audi styling in a striking manner. Will this appeal to buyers? We think so, but we will let you be the judge of it.
What's New For 2021?
The e-tron has been on the European market for a couple of years, but it is a fresh face on the American scene. What we will get is the e-tron GT, as well as the SUV and Sportback. The GT is striking with its muscular front fascia and is a real head-turner with its low center of gravity. The GT will also feature electric motors for both the front and rear axles, allowing power to be sent to individual wheels to undergo electronic torque vectoring.
The 2021 Audi e-tron is available as the GT sedan, the Sportback, and the SUV.
Each of the styles is available in three different trim levels: the base Premium, the mid-tier Premium Plus, and the line-topping Prestige. The GT comes with two electric motors that create a combined 434 kW (which translates to 582 hp). This means that the GT can easily make it from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds - an incredibly fast showing. While its competitors have issues with battery cooling that keep their vehicles from re-achieving their initial thrust of power, the e-tron does not seem to have that problem.
The other models have a combined 355 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque, which can be improved by throwing the transmission into Sport mode. Doing so increases these numbers to 402 and 490, respectively.
As far as the trim levels go, the base Premium trim comes with a dual-screen infotainment set-up: a top 10.1-inch display and a bottom 8.8-inch screen. The upper screen allows access to the Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, smartphone app integration, and built-in navigation system. The lower screen is predominantly for utilizing the climate control system's array of settings. Standard driver aids include lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
Other standard features on the base trim include 20-inch wheels, heated 8-way power adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar support, high beam assist on the LED headlights, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio connectivity.
The Premium Plus adds ambient interior lighting, ventilation on the front seats, active lane assist with adaptive cruise control, matrix-designed LED headlights, and the Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System.
The Prestige steps this up by including multi-color ambient and contour LED interior lighting, individually contoured front seats with a massaging function built in, intersection assist, a full Valcona leather package, and ionization and fragrance with the standard Air Quality package.
The 2021 Audi e-tron is nothing short of exhilarating. While driving along city streets, the e-tron remains composed and requires little effort from the driver. A slight amount of pressure on the accelerator will get the e-tron moving, and the electric motors remain mostly muted when you push the vehicle to go faster.
Steering feels precise and light, just as a luxury car should. And, as Audi has worked to sort out issues with the double-wishbone suspension, you can expect a fair amount of comfort from the ride quality. You might feel a few smaller bumps making their way in though.
The e-tron is very much an Audi with its high-end technology. The Virtual Cockpit is a must-have for tech-savvy buyers, and there are paddles on the steering wheel that let you determine the level of liftoff regeneration you want. Of course, the materials used in the cabin's design are top-notch, and the optional Velora leather is absolutely gorgeous (not to mention comfortable).
Audi projects that the American version of the e-tron should do a bit better on range than the European model's 200 miles of electric range. Other EVs do better, but anything over 200 miles is certainly respectable, especially given the rapid charging time.
Overall, the 2021 Audi e-tron is an exciting addition to the American EV automobile market. The GT should be an attractive option to those who like something more muscular. With the massive array of standard technology and impressive driving performance, the e-tron makes itself worth its high price tag. There is no doubt that this is a luxury EV, and there is equally no doubt that driving one will turn heads wherever you go.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All Audi e-tron MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.