The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Standard equipment includes electrically adjustable front seats with four-way lumbar support and a memory function for the driver. Throw in a steering wheel that has a good range of adjustment (manual in the lesser trims and powered in the top-spec Vorsprung) and you'll have no problem getting comfortable behind the wheel – and staying that way for several hours.
There’s also a 12.3in digital display behind the steering wheel that Audi calls the Virtual Cockpit. This replaces conventional instrument dials and can display a broad array of information clearly.
Unfortunately, the climate control is adjusted using an 8.6in touchscreen that’s mounted low down on the middle of the dashboard. It forces you to take your eyes off the road to change the settings and we'd rather have some proper knobs and dials that you can adjust by feel.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Forward visibility is good because you sit high up – certainly higher than you do in the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model 3, and the windscreen pillars are pretty slim. And, while the rear pillars are quite thick, parking sensors (front and rear) and a rear-view camera are fitted to all models.
As we mentioned earlier, you can also specify Virtual door mirrors, which have the conventional door mirrors replaced by cameras. These display an image on door-mounted screens that are positioned a little lower than they ideally would be. They are standard on Vorsprung trim, which also includes a 360deg parking camera.
Visibility at night is aided by bright LED headlights, which S line trim upgrades to adaptive Matrix LED headlights. These can stay on main beam without blinding other drivers.
Sat nav and infotainment
A second, 10.1in touchscreen can be found above the E-tron’s climate control panel, giving you access to the stereo, phone and sat nav. It looks sharp and responds promptly to prods, and it's easy to use when you're parked up. However, finding the correct area of the screen to press is quite distracting when driving, so we'd prefer a secondary rotary controller interface, as you get in the BMW iX3.
You do get plenty of conventional toys, though, but not the range of features that a Tesla Model 3 or X has, like Netflix and computer games. For the E-tron, we're talking things like a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring, two USB ports and a 10-speaker stereo that includes a subwoofer. If you add the optional Comfort and Sound Package that includes a B&O stereo with 16 speakers and 705 watts. Upgrade to Sport trim or above and you'll also get wireless phone charging.
Audi is famous for the quality of its interiors, and the E-tron lives up to that reputation – it's vastly more impressive than the interior of any Tesla we've come across. While there aren’t many traditional buttons in the E-tron’s high-tech interior, those you do get click precisely and satisfyingly.
The dual-touchscreen layout also provides some visual wow factor, but that's backed up by tactile, soft-touch plastics, glitzy trims, chrome highlights and lashings of leather. If that isn’t enough, you can opt for softer hide for the seats and have that extended to cover the dashboard and doors as well. There's also an oak veneer to replace the metal trims if you prefer a more organic feel.
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