We have the rare opportunity to have a viewer with an Audi e-tron Sportback provide an off-road review! How cool is that?
The Audi e-tron Sportback is not the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about off-roading. At TFLStudios, we off-road just about everything that has some capability. In most cases, it’s just enough off-road adventuring to challenge the vehicle a bit. This way, we get a clear picture of what the all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, tires, powertrain, and chassis can handle.
Read about the Audi RS Q e-tron that’s going to the 2022 Dakar (here).
Still, it’s super rare when a fan does it in a vehicle that costs at least $70,000!
On top of all that, our friend Brandon provided a fine video of his e-tron taking on some obstacles in the dirt! The video was shot on an ORV trail in California. As you can see in the video, ground clearance is not too shabby, but articulation isn’t grand. Despite that, the traction control/off-road settings did the trick.
Here’s Brandon’s written off-road review of his Audi e-tron Sportback!
With all your recent coverage on off-roading electric vehicles, I figured I’d share my recent experience off-roading an electric Audi e-tron Sportback. All e-trons have a dual-motor drivetrain setup, so you have one electric motor in the front and one in the back.
On my off-road adventure, I utilized both the allroad and offroad drive modes depending on the current conditions.
The e-tron has five different air suspension levels, and I used the second-highest level (8.2”). If you need more ground clearance, you can activate the lift function which adds an additional 0.6” of ground clearance, bringing the total ground clearance to 8.8”. I never needed to use the lift function while off-roading, mainly because the battery pack is well-protected underneath so I could hit it on a rock and be confident that I wasn’t damaging anything. It’s like a built-in skid plate in a way.
How did the Audi e-tron Sportback do?
So how did it do off-road? It did amazingly well! I primarily went on a lot of blue-rated trails, which were designed for high-clearance, 4×4 vehicles only. Despite this, the instant torque from the dual-motor setup meant that I essentially had a low-range transfer case available at all times, and I could precisely control my speed when climbing over low-speed obstacles. The e-tron’s traction control used the brakes to transfer power from side-to-side, similar to a lot of other SUVs. The traction control was significantly more aggressive in offroad mode, and despite taking several other SUVs off-roading over the years, I’ve never seen a system react as quickly as the e-tron’s system did.
As far as energy efficiency goes, I averaged 1.6 mi/kWh (625 Wh/mi) while off-roading, which is significantly lower than the car’s rated efficiency. Despite this, with 86.5 kWh of usable battery capacity. I still would’ve had a real-world range of almost 140 miles while off-roading. Although this is a far cry from the car’s EPA-estimated range, it’s impressive considering the conditions. By the time I reached the top of the mountain, Tacoma and Wrangler drivers were in awe that an electric Audi SUV made it up the same trails that they climbed. Regenerative braking was particularly useful when descending the mountain, and it allowed me to avoid using the friction brakes and charge the high-voltage battery at the same time.
All in all, I’m excited about the future of electric off-roading. Everything from the instant torque to the near-silent driving experience makes taking electric vehicles off-road more enjoyable than you’d think. With in-wheel motors and so much advanced tech on the way. I’m excited to see where the future of electric off-roading takes us.
I made a five-minute YouTube video (we attached it to this post) highlighting my experiences while off-roading the e-tron if you’re interested: https://youtu.be/LJ4ME3G4XHU
Thanks for all your coverage on off-roading & electric vehicles!
As many of you know, we like EVs – and we are excited about the future of off-road electric vehicles. There are a ton of hurdles that must be surmounted, but things are getting interesting. Check out Brandon’s video and see how instant torque can cure a lot of off-road woes!
Thanks for the review Brandon – and happy holidays!