When the Audi e-tron first made its debut, it wasn’t particularly well-regard in the way it handled. It’s not that the e-tron isn’t capable, because it actually is, but it’s that it doesn’t feel particularly fun or exciting when pushed. However, that might be a fixable issue with just a new set of tires.
In this recent article from Road & Track, journalist Jason Cammisa swapped out the tires on his Volkswagen e-Golf and noticed a dramatic increase in both measurable performance and driver enjoyment. So it’s possible that the same could happen with the Audi e-tron.
The tires Cammisa’s e-Golf originally came with were typical EV Bridgestone Ecopia low-rolling-resistance tires. Their designed for max efficiency, not maximum grip or great driver feel. However, he swapped the wheels and tires out for GTI wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, the latter of which are the sort you’ll find on the highest-performing cars on the market. They’re likely the stickiest, grippiest, best high-performance tires you can buy.
What was the net result? His e-Golf was able to improve its lateral grip from around .77 g to over 1.0 g, which is a dramatic increase. Not only that but he noticed better steering response and feels that the e-Golf is more enjoyable to drive. So could the same happen for the Audi e-tron, or any EV for that matter?
Maybe. Better tires, with more grip and better driver feel would certainly improve the e-tron’s driving enjoyment. But there’s no overcoming its massive weight, so don’t expect some massive performance improvement from just new rubber. However, if all you’re looking for is a slight improvement in the way your e-tron feels, rather than how it performs, some higher-performance tires could do the trick.
There’s a caveat, though. That better performance and increased enjoyment comes at the expensive of range. Cammisa’s e-Golf lost about twenty miles of range on average with the stickier tires, due to their higher rolling resistance. Admittedly, his newer wheels are heavier, which could have also had adverse affects on range. Still, grippier tires will reduce overall range, which is why most EVs do not come with them as-standard.
Considering that the Audi e-tron lacks a ton of all-electric range as it is, that might not be the best trade-off, depending on your situation. However, if you don’t use a ton of juice on a daily basis and are willing to trade some of your total range for better dynamics and feel, a new set of tires might do the trick.