2021 Audi E-Tron

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor
October 13, 2020

Buying tip

Buy your home charger first through Amazon and an Audi partnership with Amazon Home Services will coordinate your installation with a minimum of fuss.

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The 2021 E-Tron SUV and Sportback offer all the comfort, luxury, and features of Audi’s other premium models, with a fully electric twist.

What kind of car is the 2021 Audi E-Tron? What does it compare to? 

The 2021 Audi E-Tron is a spacious fully electric crossover utility vehicle—mid-size or larger by U.S. standards—offered in a choice of SUV or Sportback body styles. The closest alternative to the E-Tron is the Tesla Model X, although the significantly smaller Jaguar I-Pace might be seen as an alternative to the Sportback.

Is the 2021 Audi E-Tron a good car?

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Very much so—although of course we advise you to make sure you’re ready for the ins and outs of charging before making the leap. The E-Tron earns the highest ratings possible in safety and fuel economy; along with stellar ratings in most other categories, it achieves a TCC Rating of 8.7 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Audi E-Tron?

For 2021, the E-Tron lineup gains a more affordable entry model, and it returns with higher EPA range ratings and a new Sportback body style that has a swoopier, more low-set look that stands as an alternative to the existing SUV body style still available. Although you sacrifice cargo space as well as a little passenger space in back, the Sportback carries over with the same feature set and performance—and perhaps due to its sleeker aerodynamics it offers a little more range than the SUV, of 222 miles versus 218 miles. 

The 2021 E-Tron is the first fully electric vehicle from the German luxury brand best known for its quattro all-wheel-drive system and well-designed and obsessively detailed cabins. Audi, perhaps wisely, made its jump to all-electric a calculated one, without changing much else about the look, the interface, or even the driving experience. 

The E-Tron’s size and shape is familiar, too. It lands right in the middle of the Q5 and Q7 SUVs, yet with a lower stance that nods to the brand’s Allroad wagons. 

Inside, those who find the cabins of Teslas and other supposedly tech-forward vehicles to be too stark and austere will love the look and feel; the E-Tron’s cabin is warm and mature and fits right in alongside Audi’s other top models.

With 402 horsepower and two motors, the E-Tron accelerates to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds—although it often feels quicker than that because of the motors’ instant torque delivery. An innovative braking system helps maximize regenerative braking to recover the most energy when decelerating, and the E-Tron maneuvers well and handles like a lighter, lower vehicle.

The E-Tron is extraordinarily quiet—something noteworthy here especially as you tend to notice road noise more in EVs. Ride comfort is excellent, too, with great, supportive front seats and a back seat for three that could accommodate two all day in superb comfort. As for the Sportback, you sacrifice quite a bit of cargo space, but the back seat remains adequate for two adults.

There are few vehicles, all-electric or not, that come close to rivaling the E-Tron’s combination of occupant protection and active-safety technology; it has the well-deserved bragging rights of being the first fully electric IIHS Top Safety Pick+. 

How much does the 2021 Audi E-Tron cost?

The E-Tron SUV starts at $66,995, and ranges up to $80,195 for the top Prestige model—with Sportbacks starting at $70,145 and $83,345, respectively. Across Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige models, the E-Tron comes equipped as a luxury vehicle. Mid-range Premium Plus versions step up to Bang & Olufsen sound, cooled front seats, and active lane control. Upgrades reserved for the top Prestige versions include massaging front seats and full leather upholstery. 

Where is the 2021 Audi E-Tron made? 

The E-Tron SUV and Sportback are made in Brussels, Belgium.


2021 Audi E-Tron


The E-Tron fits right in with the rest of the (non-electric) lineup. And buyers get a choice between a traditional SUV look and a racier Sportback one.

Is the 2021 Audi E-Tron a good-looking car?

Short answer: Yes, in nearly every way, whether you’re gauging it relative to other electric vehicles or compared to gasoline utility vehicles. 

Previously, the Audi E-Tron was offered only in an SUV body style that brought balanced proportions, a cohesive look, and a clean, detailed interior that coordinated well with the exterior and with what’s been offered in other Audis. 

For 2020, Audi added an E-Tron Sportback body style that has a racier roofline and sides that taper inward a bit, to make this vehicle look quite different—and, to some, significantly sportier. 

Cover up the charging door and some special badging, and someone unfamiliar with electric vehicles would be hard pressed from the outside to tell you whether or not there’s an engine on board. It’s simply a classy, good-looking luxury vehicle without any awkward angles.

We can apply the same flattery to the Sportback version, which works some magic with proportions behind the E-Tron’s midpoint, where the roofline follows a very different curvature, plunging smoothly into the rear hatch as if fitted with a French curve. 

The same governing philosophy applies Inside, where the E-Tron is at once warm and understated but also technologically advanced. Surfaces are soft-touch, with warm color tones, and the soft ambience of the cabin contrasts nicely with the dark shiny stretches that apply to displays and interfaces. that contrasts well with the dark-toned trim pieces that frame functional hubs, like the two screens at the center. 

There are few exceptions to how simultaneously sensible and welcoming the E-Tron feels inside. The only one worth mentioning is the overstyled shifter—with a stationary piece on tip that you navigate around with your fingers to move the actual shift lever just below—and it feels as gimmicky as it looks. 

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2021 Audi E-Tron


The 2021 Audi E-Tron isn’t nimble, but it’s quick, quiet, and confidence-inspiring, with all-wheel-drive tenacity. A higher-performance model is expected soon.

How fast is the 2021 Audi E-Tron?

The E-Tron can accelerate just as quickly as—or better than—most luxury vehicles, with an official 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds. With the instantly available torque and all-wheel traction of its dual electric-motor system, the E-Tron models often deliver an even stronger response than that number suggests. 

The E-Tron’s front and rear motors make 402 hp and 490 lb-ft altogether. These motors make strong torque off the line and can rev high, so there’s a single gear, good for a top speed of 124 mph.

To tap into peak power, the E-Tron requires that you shift over to Sport mode and then push the accelerator past a detent. That brings you Boost Mode good for 8 seconds at a time.

Generally speaking, the E-Tron is configured to drive in its default modes in a way that largely mimics gasoline vehicles, with forward movement when you lift off the brake pedal and a propensity to coast when you suddenly lift off the brake pedal. 

Although the E-Tron isn’t nimble, it’s very maneuverable and easy to place on narrow streets and in parking lots, and its low center of mass makes it feel stable and confident.

The E-Tron has plenty of settings for special uses, all available through its Drive Select modes—Auto, Comfort, Efficiency, Individual, Offroad, and Allroad—and the option tweak ride-and-handling options individually or to raise the air suspension by 3.0 inches for moderate off-roading or deep snow. 

When equipped with a towing package, the E-Tron can tow up to 4,000 pounds. Just expect range to drop dramatically if you do so.

Is the 2021 Audi E-Tron 4WD?

The E-Tron models have dual electric motors—one in front, powering the front wheels exclusively, and the other in back and powering the rear wheels. Sophisticated power electronics manage and coordinate their delivery in a more precise way than any mechanical linkage could

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2021 Audi E-Tron

Comfort & Quality

The cabin of the 2021 Audi E-Tron is spacious, comfortable, and superbly trimmed, with an attention to detail you won’t find in a Tesla.

We haven’t a single gripe about the way the 2021 Audi E-Tron family is appointed inside, how it’s put together, or how useful or comfortable its interior is. 

At about 193 inches long, 76 inches wide, and 66 inches tall, the E-Tron SUV is close to the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the BMW X5, and Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it’s lower-set than any of those vehicles—an observation further exaggerated for the Sportback version. 

From the driver’s seat, the E-Tron models land in a halfway point between Audi’s cars and SUVs. In wonderfully supportive seats—good for full-day road trips—you sit a little closer to the dash versus in a car, yet with good sightlines that are more typical of an SUV. 

The E-Tron SUV has excellent back-seat space, and there are no signals (like restricted foot space) hinting that the big 95-kwh battery pack is installed under the floor. In the SUV two adults have plenty of space, and there’s enough width for three if you’re just headed out to dinner.

We haven’t yet had any time riding in—and using—the Sportback version; but after spending some time sitting in it, we’re surprised how little back-seat riders sacrifice. The cabin feels somewhat narrower—as it is in back—and owners won’t have nearly as much cargo flexibility. But they will have a more fashionable-looking roofline.

The cargo space available in the E-Tron is pretty much exactly what you might expect in a gasoline SUV: 28.5 cubic feet rear seatback up, or 57 cubic feet with it folded. The one exception to the status quo in the packaging is the “frunk” (front trunk) that gives you enough space for the mobile charging connector, or a couple of daypacks.

Moving quickly in the E-Tron is a surreal experience for those who aren’t accustomed to EVs. You hear the faint whine of the motors only when you’re accelerating rapidly, and don’t fixate on what you can often hear a lot more of in EVs without the engine—like wind and road noise. Audi’s above-and-beyond approaches to sound insulation in the E-Tron have clearly paid off.

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2021 Audi E-Tron


The E-Tron has achieved top-notch U.S. crash-test ratings and goes above and beyond with its active-safety tech.

The set of safety features that’s included in the Audi E-Tron is comparable to what the brand includes in its top-level gasoline vehicles like the A8 and Q7/Q8—even better in some respects. 

The E-Tron family comes with standard safety features that are right in line with what’s expected in a premium-priced luxury vehicle today. That includes active lane control and automatic emergency braking. An available Driver Assistance Plus package, included in the Prestige model, adds adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam assist functionality—bringing limited management of the brakes, steering, and accelerator for short periods—plus traffic sign recognition.  

The 2021 Audi E-Tron SUV and Sportback have received a five-star overall rating from the federal government, with four stars for frontal impact but top ratings otherwise. They do even better from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which has given the E-Tron family top “Good” and “Superior” ratings in every single category of testing. It was the first fully electric vehicle to be named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

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2021 Audi E-Tron


The E-Tron lineup is luxurious throughout, and equipped with all the features you’d expect to see in a gasoline model with its price tag.

Which Audi E-Tron should I buy?

For 2021, Audi has added an entry-tier Premium trim. It essentially cuts the base price of the E-Tron versus before by $8,800, and it offers most of the features shoppers would want, with a chance to go piecemeal with some of the others.  

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Audi E-Tron?

The E-Tron spans up to about $87,000 fully loaded, for the top Prestige model, from its base price of $80,195 (all including the $1,095 destination charge). 

The new E-Tron Sportback body style starts about $1,400 more than the SUV. 

Key features added in the mid-range Premium plus include front ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, matrix LED headlamps, and Bang & Olufsen premium audio. Moving up to the Prestige gets you individual-contour front seats with massage, ambient lighting, full Valcona leather upholstery, an air ionizer, and an Intersection assist feature.

Included in all E-Trons is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The top of the system’s two haptic-feedback touchscreens in the middle of the dash is 10.1 inches and is where you go for audio, navigation, information services, and charging, while the lower screen is 8.6 inches and is the home of climate control and other vehicle functions. The lower screen also recognizes handwriting, and there are expanded voice commands. 

Our time with this system has been limited and we’re still not convinced that purging most physical controls (and putting the climate controls so far down from the line of sight) is a good solution.

Options we would suggest going for include the head-up display, the towing package, and the Cold Weather package, with its adaptive wipers, heated washer jets, heated outboard rear seats, and higher-output heater with enhanced cabin and battery pre-conditioning. 

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2021 Audi E-Tron

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Audi E-Tron doesn’t measure up to the efficiency or range of a Tesla, but it’s a smart way to go tailpipe-emissions-free.

The 2021 Audi E-Tron lineup has improved driving-range numbers this year. The E-Tron SUV is now rated for 222 EPA miles, according to Audi, and the racier-looking E-Tron Sportback earns a range rating of 218 miles.

As it is, the E-Tron is nowhere close to the range rating of the Tesla Model X (328 miles, at the time of writing, out of a somewhat larger battery pack); but it is now close to that of the smaller Jaguar I-Pace—which gets 234 miles out of a smaller battery pack. 

The E-Tron does extraordinarily well in real-world reproducibility of its range ratings, though. Based on our drives of early models, you’ll easily get 200 miles or more at fast-moving Interstate speeds—even when temps turn chilly.

Charging the E-Tron is straightforward. On a 150-kw CCS (Combo) DC fast charger, like what you’ll find all over the country on the Electrify America network, the E-Tron will charge to 80% in just 30 minutes. On a Level 2 AC charger, like what you might find at a shopping center or in your own garage, the E-Tron will charge to full in about 9 hours. With a mobile cord that comes with the E-Tron, you can plug into 240V power on the go and charge nearly as quickly.

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