When the Audi e-tron goes on sale in early 2019, it will really only have one major competitor — the Tesla Model X 75D. The BMW iX3 won’t be out for awhile and the Mercedes EQC is even further away. So if you want a fully-electric SUV, it really only comes down to the e-tron and Model X. So we thought it would be an interesting idea to compare the specs of both cars and see which has the edge on paper.
So let’s start with the fun stuff. The Audi e-tron, it must be said, hasn’t had its EPA testing finished for U.S.-market cars, so official numbers will vary. However, there are some preliminary numbers that we can go by and they’re accurate enough to make a comparison. Packing two electric motors, powered by a 95 kWh battery pack, the e-tron makes about 355 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. There will be a boost mode of sorts that will boost power, temporarily, to 402 hp and 489 lb-ft. With boost mode active, the e-tron is capable of 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
As for its competitor, the Tesla Model X 75D uses a 75 kWh battery pack and two electric motors to make 328 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. Tesla claims that it can get from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, though the last Motor Trend test of the Model X 75D clocks it at 5.5 seconds. There may have been software updates since then to make it launch faster. So we’ll just take Tesla at its word. That makes the Model X a bit faster than the Audi e-tron.
Though, the e-tron has a bit of an advantage, as it can do that 0-60 mph run more times in a row, and drive hard for longer, without any dip in performance. Thanks to an advanced cooling system with a heat pump to remove as much heat from the batteries as possible, the e-tron’s batteries stay nice and cool during performance driving, even in high temperatures and at elevation. The Model X lacks such a heat pump and therefor suffers performance losses due to heat after consecutive runs. So Tesla is faster a few times but the e-tron can hang for longer.
While performance is fun to talk about, it’s all about range and charge times with EVs. So this is where these two cars are really going to compete.
The Audi e-tron uses its aforementioned 95 kWh battery pack to get about 245 miles of range. Though, it again must be said that the EPA hasn’t finished testing the e-tron in the U.S., so that number might vary for American-market cars. However, on the very strict WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure), it was able to achieve 245 miles. The e-tron is also capable of 150 kW charging.
On the flip side, the Tesla Model X 75D packs its 75 kWh battery, giving it a claimed 237 miles of range (EPA rated). That’s not too far off the e-tron’s WLTP-rated range and because there may be some minor differences between the two ratings, we’ll call that a wash. However, one area where the e-tron has the Tesla beat is in charging. The Model X 75D is only capable of 120 kW charging, which is still impressive but not as good as the e-tron’s.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Audi e-tron is its price. With a starting price of $74,800, it undercuts a lot of luxury SUVs and packs a ton of technology and options. On top of its impressive powertrain and advanced cooling system, the e-tron has a ton of standard equipment. Leather, heated front seats with ventilation are as-standard for the “Premium Plus” trim e-tron, as are Matrix LED headlights, a Bang & Olufsen surround sound system, MMI Touch Response with Virtual Cockpit and a surround view camera.
Stepping up to the “Presitge” trim costs $81,800 but buys you a Driver Assistance Package (Audi’s Level 3 Autonomy isn’t available in the U.S. yet), a Head-Up Display, contour seats with Valcona leather, massaging front seats and soft-close doors. And all of this is before any sort of government tax incentives or discounts.
While the Model X 75D starts at $83,000. On Tesla’s website, it claims that it starts at $71,300, which would undercut the e-tron, but that’s because they factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit for buying an electric car, along with an estimated $5,400 gas savings. If you get rid of those two deductions, which Audi hasn’t added, the M0del X costs $83,000 before destination fees.
As-standard, the Model X 75D gets you some nice goodies, such as 20-inch wheels, a cold weather package, air suspension and over-the-air software updates.
However, it lacks LED headlights, a surround-view camera or an upgraded sound system, all of which are as-standard on the cheaper e-tron. In fact, the loaded “Prestige” Audi e-tron with every option ticked is only a few thousand dollars more than the base Model X 75D.
Winner (Overall): Audi
On paper, the Audi e-tron seems to be the better deal than the equivalent Tesla Model X 75D. Obviously, there are other Model X variants that pack more power, more range and more options but they’re a lot more expensive, with the top-end Model X P100D costing $140,000 before incentives. So while Audi is a bit late to the party, the car it’s brought is seriously impressive and could be the best electric SUV on the market for some time. The Tesla Model X 75D is a great electric SUV and one that sort of pioneered the segment but the e-tron seems to be just a bit better overall.