Audi e-tron electric motor, drive & performance

The Audi e-tron is comfortable and smooth, but far from the last word in sportiness

The Audi e-tron delivers a familiar electric-car combination of rapid acceleration but slightly dulled handling: it weighs some two-and-a-half tonnes, plenty more than petrol- or diesel-engined alternatives. It's extremely quiet and comfortable on the move, though (another electric-car hallmark), making it ideally suited to long-distance family motoring.

Audi e-tron electric motor, 0-62mph & acceleration

The Audi e-tron isn't quite as fast as the legendarily rapid Tesla Model X, but it's certainly no slouch in the grand scheme of things. With a maximum of 402bhp in the car's 'boost' mode, getting from 0-62mph takes 5.7 seconds, with the top speed limited to just under 125mph.

That's well down on the 155mph limit we've become accustomed to on powerful petrol or diesel SUVs, but it's in place mainly to ensure the e-tron preserves a useable range.

Plentiful torque from the dual electric motors means the e-tron is very quick in everyday, real-world driving, too, merging onto motorways, accelerating away from the lights and completing safe overtakes on main roads with ease.

And once on the motorway, the e-tron is remarkably quiet and composed: there's none of the wind or tyre noise that can sometimes be evident in electric cars, due to the lack of engine noise drowning it out.

Handling

This is somewhere electric cars often struggle and the e-tron doesn't change the picture vastly. There's no getting around its hefty weight, but Audi has packed the car with technology to ensure it drives as well as it possibly can.

The quattro four-wheel-drive system at least ensures it feels planted in wet or slippery conditions, while the standard air suspension ensures a very smooth ride. However, both the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace – while not exactly the last word in agility and driver involvement themselves – are faster and more fun to drive.