A top-class SUV, and electric too, but without giving up on the Audi design language. Mission accomplished? According to Philipp Römers “The e-tron is functional, but good looking at the same time.” “The proportions are perfect, large wheels, powerfully muscular, short overhang and the play on the surfaces match marvellously with the characteristics of this SUV and of our brand.”
The head of what will be a great family, the e-tron represents the debut for Audi in mass-production of electric vehicles. Two engines, 408 bhp, 0-100 in 5.7 seconds, 400 kilometres range are very important data for a car weighing two and a half tons and nearly five metres in length (4.90 to be precise).
Römers, who leads Studio 2 of Audi Exterior Design, is one of the ‘fathers’ of e-tron. Under the guidance of the head of Audi Design, Marc Lichte, and the head of Exterior Design, Andreas Mindt, and alongside designers Stephan Fahr-Becker and Juan Carlos Huerta Martinez, he had decided right from the first steps, four years ago, that this “…had to be a real SUV, not a crossover, as others have done to get into the world of the electric.”
However, since this was a car where the range represents an essential element, “it was necessary to focus on the aerodynamics.” Mission accomplished here too? “I would say so. One hundredth of Cx corresponds to 5 kilometres of range. The e-tron has a Cx of 0.27, the lowest of any SUV, large or small.”
After the first sketches, they moved on immediately to the wind tunnel, with five models in 1:3 scale, which led to choices “on the basis of Cx and good looks.” Next came the 1:1 models, first four, then two, down to the final choice. The classical octagonal grille of the Audi SUV is platinum grey and includes a curtain to reduce air flow (and improve the aerodynamics).
The interior details of the e-tron are essentially minimalist. The dashboard, divided in horizontal levels, forms a single wraparound curve, as far as the door trims. The cockpit, oriented towards the driver, has two touchscreens, 8.6 and 10.1 inches, with the lower one incorporated in the console. “The language is still Audi,” commented Römers, “but very progressive.”