Road Test: 2023 Audi E-Tron Quattro Chronos Edition
Solid German Electric Luxury SUV
There is something about driving a German car, and Audi does not disappoint with the 2023 E-Tron Quattro. The solid feeling when driving the highway or even closing the doors present the E-Tron as a true electric luxury SUV.
The First Electric Audi SUV
The E-Tron was Audi’s first electric vehicle in 2019 and it continues with the 2023 model as a smooth-riding, comfortable five-passenger SUV. Straight-line performance hauls the 5,765 pounds 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. When equipped with the trailer hitch and 7-pin connector ($750 option), the E-Tron can tow an impressive 4,000 pounds.
The dual electric motors, one front and one rear, produce 355 horsepower (hp) and 402 pound-feet of torque (lb.-ft.), but those numbers increase when in Boost mode to 414 hp and 490 lb.-ft. of torque. The E-Tron has EV instant torque at any speed, delivered through a single speed transmission. Tromp the right pedal and the linear acceleration is unaffected by gear shifts that cause a gasoline-powered car to ever-so-momentarily lose momentum. The whoosh feeling is a joy, and Audi has done it very well. The E-Tron has four driver-selectable drive modes–Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual–with each adjusting the steering and suspension settings to offer a different driving experience.
The E-Tron has a 95 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery that can be charged via a common 120-volt household outlet that will recharge an empty battery in about 80 hours. Most owners will install a 240-volt Level 2 charger that will cut that time to 10 hours. Using a DC Fast Charger the time for 10-80% state of charge drops to 40 minutes. Original E-Tron owners receive up-to 250 kWh over two years of free fast charging through Electrify America. It is important to note cold weather can affect the charging time and driving range.
How Far Will It Go
The EPA rates the 2023 E-Tron Quattro at a 226-mile electric driving range. This is somewhat lower than most other EVs, but Audi feels its customers are confident a slight reduction in range is balanced by the luxury in this midsize SUV.
The E-Tron has regenerative braking, where kinetic energy is converted into electricity when braking or coasting. The amount of regeneration can be controlled with paddles on the steering wheel. I would have preferred the ability set the regen level higher for more aggressive slowing without needing to apply the brakes, true one-pedal driving.
The 2023 E-Tron performs smoothly on the highway. Around town the variable steering made city driving easy. Not designed to eat-up corners at high speeds, the E-Tron’s weight can be felt when pushing too hard. The 265/45 Michelin CrossContact LX Sport all-season tires, mounted on 21-inch 5-double V-spoke design wheels, gripped well. The yellow brake calipers look sharp peering-out from the black wheels. The steering was just heavy enough for good road feedback but not so much needing to muscle it through a corner.
The adaptive air suspension made highway driving a dream, so much so my wife looked over at me and commented how quiet and smooth the E-Tron was at 70+ miles per hour. However, for a more taut feel, opt for the Dynamic drive mode.
The E-Tron interior space is impressive and refined, reflecting inside how the air suspension smooths-out the bumps and dips making for a seriously comfortable ride. Quiet is the rule here, helped by dual pane acoustic glass. The E-Tron is one of the quietest cars I have driven. You will get used to it real fast.
The interior attention to detail is obvious. The seams between panels are tight, and the look is classic German–not ostentatious or trendy. The interior of our E-Tron was black on black, with the use of soft materials, brushed aluminum, wood inlays and gloss black trim, giving a unified and complementary look.
The 12.3-inch virtual cockpit is adaptive, so it can switch between maps, music playlists and the traditional large round gauges with white numbers on a black background. Audi hasn’t done away with all buttons and other switchgear, but most of the controls are either on the leather-wrapped steering wheel or accessible by touching the upper 10.1-inch and lower 8.8-inch screens. The lower screen controls the four-zone automatic climate system, while the upper is for the audio system, navigation and vehicle systems. The menu was easy to learn and did not require going through multiple screens to find what you are looking for.
Our E-Tron came with the Chronos package ($17,500 option) that included a head-up display, surround view camera, adaptive cruise control and the outstanding 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system with AM/FM/SiriusXM radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The front seats, covered in soft and supple leather, were supportive and power-everything including massage. The rear heated seats offer plenty of leg, head and shoulder room for two adults, three for shorter trips. The beauty of an electric vehicle is the flat floor, making for exceptional leg room for the rear passengers.
The panoramic sunroof has a power shade, and the side windows have manual shades. The cargo area goes from 28.5 cubic feet to 56.4 cubic feet with the rear 60/40 seat folded down. Interior storage is found in the doors, under the cargo area floor, and the front trunk (frunk). The frunk is small, but handy to stash a few things, even the charge cable.
Audi is to be commended on creating a stunningly refined cabin experience filled with technology and comfort design features expected on a luxury SUV. It is a seriously nice place to sit in.
Safety, Warranty and Pricing
The E-Tron comes with an extensive standard and optional list of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including eight airbags, forward collision warning and avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure and blind-spot warning, electronic stability and traction control, along with four wheel anti-lock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The 2023 Audi E-Tron has earned 5 Stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), its highest safety rating. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) also awarded the highest rating as a Top Safety Pick+.
The E-Tron comes with these warranties:
- New Vehicle Four years/50,000 miles
- Battery – Eight years/100,000 miles
- Maintenance – One year/10,000 miles
- Roadside Assistance – Four years/Unlimited miles
- Corrosion – 10 years/Unlimited miles
The 2023 E-Tron Quattro has a base price of $71,995 including the mandatory $1,195 destination charge. Clean Fleet Report drove the E-Tron Quattro Chronos Edition with $2,160 in options and the destination charge, for a price of $86,755.
Observations: 2023 Audi E-Tron Quattro Chronos Edition
The 2023 Audi E-Tron is now in its fourth year, and with few changes still remains a desirable luxury electric SUV. The exterior is classic Audi, understated and classy, and the posh interior is a place you want to spend time in. The equipment list is long and the infotainment systems are excellent.
Electric offerings in the past few years have changed significantly, including Audi now having five models with the E-Tron, E-Tron Sportback, E-Tron GT, Q4 E-Tron and the Q8 E-Tron. The E-Tron’s original 226-mile range has been surpassed; in 2023 the standard is now 250 miles and up, and many of its competitors have more interior space, faster performance and even a lower base price.
It drives smooth and quiet with the air suspension going from freeway comfort to firmer when in Dynamic mode. If you are considering a luxury electric SUV, the E-Tron should be on your shopping list. It is a pleasure to drive and makes an impression wherever it goes.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Audi.
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