Audi just announced its first production electric vehicle. Called the e-tron, the EV is a mid-size SUV loaded with technology with an unofficial range of over 300 miles. It’s nicely equipped, and with a starting price of $74,800, it sits between the Jaguar I-Pace and the Tesla Model X.
The e-tron is most similar to the Jaguar I-Pace though the Audi is slightly better equipped. The e-tron packs a 95 kWh battery over the Jaguar’s 90 kWh battery. It’s also slightly larger and rated to tow 4,000 lbs.
Comparing the e-tron to the Model X gets messy. Tesla sells the Model X in three flavors: mild, hot, and on fire. The mild version starts at $72,100 and packs a 75 kWh battery good for 237 miles. Spend $88,600 to get the 100D and its 100 kWh battery that’s rated for 295 miles. And for $125,800, buyers can get the P100D that’s good for 298 miles and a 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds.
Autonomous driving modes are available for purchase on each version of the Model X. Audi and Jaguar do not offer autonomous driving on the e-tron or I-Pace.
Spec for spec, the e-tron, I-Pace and Model X offer advantages over each other. Here are the most important technical specifications for each vehicle along with the Toyota RAV4, the top selling SUV in the United States.
Here’s how I see each vehicle’s advantage:
- Best price-to-battery ratio: Buyers get a 95 kWh battery on the base model. For the money, the Audi is the best value when it comes to the range it can travel.
- Competent controls: Audi installed the same dual-touchscreen system found in its high-end A8 luxury sedan. The top screen handles infotainment while the bottom screen handles climate control and text input. Both screens offer tactile and audio response when touched.
- It looks and feels like an Audi: The e-tron does not stand out, which could be a good thing for some buyers. It looks and feels like an Audi SUV.
- Audi is not releasing the range yet: The EPA must certify the e-tron before Audi can advertise the range of the e-tron. Without those numbers, it’s hard to place where the e-tron sits in the landscape. But today at the e-tron launch event, the company hinted at a range that’s superior to that of the Tesla Model X.
- Early reviews of the I-Pace praise the driving: The I-Pace is a crossover and it drives like one. It’s sporty and confident and it has the lowest stance of the three EVs listed here.
- The I-Pace is a Jag: The I-Pace has the quickest time to 60 mph out of the bunch and is capable of hitting the mark in 4.5 seconds. That’s the same as a 2016 Audi TTS Coupe. However, the more expensive Tesla P100D is much, much quicker with a 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds.
- Well equipped yet the cheapest: Starting at $69,500, the I-Pace is the least expensive of the bunch. And at that price, it’s well equipped
Tesla Model X P75
- It’s a Tesla: The Model X looks like nothing else on the road inside and out. To some, it’s a big draw while others shy away from the attention-getting design.
- The Model X is deceptively large: The Model X comes with five seats, but two jump seats can be added to the rear area. With all the seats down, the Model X has an available storage volume of 88 cubic feet — that’s just 6 cubic feet smaller than a Chevy Tahoe.
- The Model X can drive itself: The Model X can be equipped with Autopilot, Tesla’s self-driving system that can pilot the SUV on its own.
- More options: The Model X P100 offers more range and the Model X P100D offers more range and insane performance.
The e-tron hits the US market in the middle of 2019, and by then, there will be additional competitors to compare.