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Audi e-tron Prototype Vs. Tesla Model X

Audi recently unveiled their first all-electric vehicle, the Audi e-tron Prototype SUV. With a price tag of $93,000, the e-tron is positioned to square off against the Tesla Model X 100D, but can it truly compete? Producer, Cody Castleberry compares Find out who will reign supreme as we pit these upscale EVs against each other. 

Round One – Interior

Audi e-tron Prototype SUV: The Audi e-tron is an all-electric full size SUV that offers plenty of room for the family. An additional fold-away row of seating in the back is enough space for any gear you may need to lug around. As you’d expect from an Audi, the e-tron Prototype SUV offers top notch sound, ample leg and head room, and luxurious climate control. What you might not expect is an arrangement of five digital screens in the cockpit for the infotainment system, instrument panel, climate control and two optional virtual exterior mirrors. “What the heck are virtual exterior mirrors?” Well, I’m glad you asked. The Audi e-tron has chopped off those clunky side-view mirrors and replaced them with digital cameras, which display on the OLED screens on the inside of your doors. This helps reduce wind resistance, noise, and the overall width of the car.

The Tesla Model X 100D: When Tesla unveiled their Model X, it achieved many ‘firsts’ in the SUV market: first full electric SUV, first production folding “Falcon Wing” doors, best HVAC system in a production car, and there are sure to have been a few more. What it may not have achieved was production consistency. Many reviewers noted inconsistent fitting issues, from carpets to tail lights. On the positive side, Teslas come with a signature 17-inch infotainment screen, which unquestionably outsizes the infotainment screen found in the Audi e-tron Prototype SUV. A panoramic windshield gives everyone a breathtaking view of the world around them. Three rows of seats match Audi’s offering, but an overall larger wheelbase could give the Model X a little extra room.

Results: Okay, so Tesla hasn’t had as many years as Audi has to perfect their quality control and luxury standards, but their ambitious construction gives them points. In the end, there aren’t many who can compete with Audi in terms of interior comforts, so they win this round.


Round Two – Range and Battery

Audi e-tron Prototype SUV: As Audi’s first full electric vehicle, the e-tron’s showing is impressive. With a 250-275 mi range, the e-tron should get you around town throughout the week, easily. The e-tron Prototype SUV sports a ~1500 lb 95 kWh battery which makes use of the Ionity high-power-charging network in Europe, and the SAE Combined Charging System (CCS) in the United States. Assuming you have access to the maximum 150 kW charging capacity, the e-tron can charge up to 80% in a lightning fast 30 minutes!

Tesla Model X 100D: Tesla’s batteries are top notch; it’s what they’re known for, and it’s what makes them unique. So it comes as no surprise that the Model X 100D battery stays slightly ahead of Audi’s in most ways. With a 1400 lb 100 kWh battery and 295 mi range, it inches ahead of the e-tron. However, the Model X only charges at 120 kW across its nationwide network of Supercharger stations.

Results: It’s very close, but Tesla’s Model X 100D is still slightly ahead of the new Audi electric effort.


Round Three – Performance

Audi e-tron Prototype SUV: Aerodynamics was top of mind when Audi designed the e-tron. The high-tech machine underwent rigorous testing, facing 186 MPH winds and logging over 1,000 hours in the Ingolstadt-based Audi Wind Tunnel Centre. This extra-effort yielded a drag coefficient of 0.28, and has helped propel the range of the e-tron to new heights. With a max speed of 130.5 MPH and an impressive reported 0-62 MPH of 4.7 seconds, the e-tron Prototype is no slouch. While powertrain statistics aren’t being officially reported yet, the Audi Quattro Concept produced up to 495 hp and 590 lb-ft, so we surmise that the Prototype would rank a little lower.

Tesla Model X 100D: Tesla’s cars are known for being quick, but does that stereotype ring true with the Model X? This may not be the fastest car you sit your tush in, but we must remember, this thing is a crossover SUV. Audi may go from 0-62 MPH more quickly (0.3 seconds faster to be exact), but Tesla is capable of a higher top speed of 155 MPH and boasts 417 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque. Also, remember all of those hours Audi spent in the wind tunnel to reduce their drag coefficient to 0.28? Well, the Model X has a coefficient of 0.24. Luckily, drag coefficient isn’t making or breaking a car for anyone in this market.

Results: The waters get a bit muddy here with all of the different iterations, and unstated stats for horsepower and torque for Audi’s new prototype. We’ll need to know know more before we can definitively declare a winner in performance.


Final Thoughts

Audi has been in the game a long time, and aspects of car design, like the interior, come more naturally to them. That said, all-electric vehicles are Tesla’s ‘jam’; they’ve spent more time honing in their batteries for max capability and decreased weight. With very competitive powertrain statistics, both of these all-electric crossover SUVs provide roughly the same value in the performance department. The Audi e-tron and Tesla Model X 100D are priced competitively at an estimated $93,000 and $96,000 respectively. As close as these two electric beasts come to each other, it’s this Producer’s opinion that it comes down to looks and features. What’s cooler than Falcon Wing doors, a 17 inch infotainment screen, and the sleek design of Tesla? I take the Tesla any day.


What are your thoughts on this clash of electric SUVs? Which one do you think you’d prefer?

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  • Mark B. Spiegel
    Aug 11, 2018 at 11:04 PM
    The Audi is expected to price at least $10,000 less than the BASE Tesla Model X, which has a range of only 237 miles. So for "price adjusted range and battery" the Audi should be a HUGE winner!