We know that most EVs are heavy. There’s really no getting around it. Battery packs are massive and often make EVs outweigh their traditional piston-engine counterparts. But, in the case of the Audi e-tron, it’s getting a bit ridiculous.
Car and Driver just recently borrowed an Audi e-tron for testing and, like very car they test, put it on a scale. Its total curb weight tipped the scales at 5,843 pounds, which is positively obese. Even for a large luxury SUV, that’s too heavy. And we know this because C&D also weighed a Ram 1500 pickup truck and it was 5,765, or 78 pounds less than the electric Audi.
So why is the Audi e-tron, a pretty average-sized luxury SUV, heavier than a Ram 1500 that has a 5.7 liter V8 and is sturdy enough to tow 11,000 pounds? Mostly because of its battery pack, which alone weighs 1,543 lbs.
That’s not the only reason, though. The modified MLB architecture that the Audi e-tron is based on wasn’t originally equipped to handle such a large, heavy battery pack. So modifications had to be made and all of that led to a lot of extra weight. There’s also the added liquid cooling system for the battery, which features a closed-loop system of fluid, which is quite heavy. And additional safety tech. And a heat pump.
It’s a lot of extra stuff added to what is essentially a modified Audi Q7 chassis that wasn’t meant to handle all of it. So it ends up being quite heavy when it’s all said and done.
And it feels it. After driving the Audi e-tron, I noticed that its heft was its biggest downfall. Because of its weight, it’s surprisingly slow for its amount of power. It also handles like it weighs more than a Ram 1500 pickup. However, it does ride remarkably for such a big, heavy car. It soaks up bumps with ease and its suspension does a great job managing its weight and not letting it crash down over bumps. So Audi clearly tuned its suspension to be comfortable and not sporty, which is smart considering its weight.
It must be said that not all Audi EVs will be like this moving forward. Most upcoming Audi e-tron models will be based on platforms designed for EVs in the first place. The e-tron GT is built on the J1 architecture, along with the Porsche Taycan. The upcoming Audi Q4 e-tron will be built on the VW Group’s new MEB architecture, which is a platform designed specifically for electric vehicles. And any other future Audi EV will likely be built on the MEB or another new electric platform. The only exception is the e-tron Sportback, which is just a standard e-tron with a haircut, so it’s still based on this current modified MLB chassis. But that’s the last one.
Car and Driver]