Because the wind flowed by means of my hair and colourful foliage painted a reasonably image in entrance of me, one thought was sq. in my thoughts whereas I used to be behind the wheel of a 637 horsepower sports activities automotive.
“Please, don’t puke.”
I wasn’t in some low-slung, barely-legal avenue racer with a Ferrari or Porsche badge.
I used to be driving an electrical automotive.
Final week, Audi (AUDVF) – Get Free Report invited me and some different automotive content material creators and journalists to drive the RS e-tron GT and the Q8 e-tron and take within the foliage in Connecticut’s countryside.
Previous to this expertise, I’ve by no means pushed an electrical automotive, however I knew that I used to be in for a deal with.
I didn’t count on a a number of course meal that may elevate my senses.
The primary automotive I drove that day was Audi’s flagship electrical sports activities automotive – the RS e-tron GT, a smooth, low-slung sports activities sedan with a base worth of $143,900.
The one I drove had a couple of tacked on choices, together with a $7,100 ceramic brake bundle, $6,450 carbon efficiency bundle and a $5,350 leather-based inside bundle, in addition to a good looking Tactical Inexperienced paint job that value an additional $595.
Once I sat down on the GT’s body-hugging seats, I used to be shocked how “regular” this automotive felt.
Tesla fanboys would name an inside like this “cluttered,” however to me, that is snug.
The infotainment display is large, however it’s not the prime centerpiece of the inside. Name me a “boomer,” however it’s a reduction that the local weather controls are the place they belong; separate from the infotainment display and consisting of a mix of buttons and rocker switches that I can determine with my fingertip.
On the identical time I used to be getting snug, I knew that I used to be diving in on the deep finish in terms of electrical automobiles. With a 0-60 time of three.1 seconds and as much as 637 horsepower on the will of my proper foot, this sedan was no abnormal grocery-getter.
Regardless of all of the superior options, know-how and opulent appointments, this was no boulevard cruiser, both.
It left me with an indescribable feeling of worry.
For those who informed me years in the past that I might worry an electrical automotive, previous me would have laughed. However as I slowly drove this automotive to what the producer representatives stated it may do, I discovered myself concurrently having enjoyable and anxious of getting a scratch on this six-figure machine.
Merely stated, this automotive is quick. Depraved quick. So quick, that it’ll triggers a full physique response whenever you discover its limits.
As I set my proper foot down on the throttle, I felt my coronary heart race and my shoulders tense up. A easy twitch of my proper foot triggered the electrical beast to pin my chest to the again of the seat like a talented jiu-jitsu fighter pinning their opponent to the mat.
However on the identical time, the automotive’s elective carbon ceramic brakes launch you, solely to pin you again in the wrong way.
I didn’t know if it was my bronchial asthma or my anxiousness, however I discovered myself gasping for air after each twist and switch that the RS e-tron GT took with laser precision.
The kinks and curves of Connecticut’s nation backroads acted like a Six Flags curler coaster I used to be in command of and I cherished each single minute of it.
A typical level that individuals are inclined to make about electrical automobiles is that they’re silent and that the absence of engine noise makes the driving expertise boring. Producers equivalent to Audi’s VW Group sibling Porsche have developed synthetic engine noise to fill this “silence,” and this automotive options it too.
My driving companion stated it gave the impression of a “Tron-bike” from the namesake 1982 film, however I’d say it sounds just like the THX sound that may scare everybody each time we performed DVDs within the early 2000s.
It doesn’t matter what it seems like, I can let you know that it makes a lot of a distinction and makes you consider that one thing within the automotive is alive and kicking.
This automotive is a robust beast, however on the identical time, it may be a simple, snug cruiser for those who drive it usually.
Nevertheless, “snug cruiser” is what I may describe the opposite automotive I drove; the Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron.
This near-$78,000 SUV I drove had a couple of extras that bumped its sticker worth to round $96,000, together with the $10,400 Status bundle that features luxuries like massaging seats and digital matrix-design LED headlights.
On the skin, the Q8 e-tron does have distinct options that separate it from the gas-powered fashions, however from a distance to the untrained eye, it nonetheless carries the identical, sculpted look.
Inside, the Q8 has an analogous “easy-to-follow” structure akin to the RS e-tron GT, aside from one deadly flaw; the local weather management.
The local weather management is managed by a contact display that has some kind of suggestions whenever you contact it, however it didn’t really feel as straightforward because the buttons and knobs on the RS e-tron GT.
Except for that characteristic, driving the Q8 just isn’t boring in any respect. This automotive is straightforward to drive and is oriented in direction of consolation, however could make for a sporty drive if the temper feels proper.
The Q8 accelerates slower than the RS e-tron GT, however it’s nonetheless “peppy” sufficient to maneuver rapidly, and regardless of it being a high-riding SUV that’s roughly the identical weight as a Chevrolet Tahoe, the Q8 felt simply as straightforward to throw round just like the sports activities sedan I drove beforehand.
With these traits, it felt like an ideal bundle for some folks I knew would respect it.
As I saved on driving the Q8, I squarely thought of how this automotive would match with a very powerful folks in my life: my dad and mom.
My mother is normally afraid of huge automobiles, however she would respect its excessive driving place, its ease of entry and the way straightforward it feels to drive.
My father wouldn’t thoughts taking the wheel, both. Not solely would he simply get right into a driving place just like his coupe, however it will probably react very nicely to his heavy proper foot.
I admit it, the Q8 felt as straightforward to drive as my mother’s Honda HR-V, though it was a automotive that was bodily greater and much heavier.
Once I got here again residence that night, I informed my dad and mom about my expertise and the way I may see them within the Q8 e-tron, however my father informed me one factor to finish any speak about getting an electrical automotive and to convey me again to actuality.
“We’re nice with Honda, I’ll by no means get an electrical automotive in my lifetime.”
Ever for the reason that inception of Tesla, electrical automobiles for many consumers have been positioned as some kind of “premium” product, the place the newest and best in know-how is considerably inaccessible to mere mortals like my father and me.
I keep in mind the primary time I noticed a Tesla. It was when it opened a retailer on the Backyard State Plaza in Paramus in 2012 and I keep in mind my dad and I being enamored by all of the options it had. The whole lot was managed by a contact display, it was snug and had two trunks.
This was the long run, however the future prices virtually $70,000.
Once I sat in each Audis, my first impression was that every one the controls are in the identical place as they might be in a “regular” automotive. It felt considerably right down to earth.
However as I glanced on the 4 rings on the steering wheel, I heard a distant voice in my head inform me that I’ll by no means be capable of afford this.
However there’s some silver lining.
There was an remark that sure options and improvements in flagship luxurious automobiles trickle down into extra pedestrian automobiles. At present, improvements that have been in automobiles that value six figures like lane maintaining help and automated braking are actually customary tools on Hondas.
Honda itself can also be pushing in direction of EVs. Once I noticed photos of the brand new Honda Prologue EV, I used to be shocked not by its exterior styling, however the inside.
They didn’t go for some giant iPad-like system, they saved all of the acquainted controls in the identical locations as they might be in an Accord or a Civic.
I assume they took an analogous cue from Audi.
Though some People are easing into electrical automobiles, many motorists are nonetheless very skeptical in regards to the thought. Electrical fashions are expensive, and hybrid autos nonetheless promise some type separation from the pump with out the complete EV dedication.
I take my expertise as a preview for what the long run would possibly maintain. Though producers like Ford (F) – Get Free Report, GM (GM) – Get Free Report and Honda are softening their positions on EVs, the know-how underpinning each batteries and drivetrains, in addition to the creature comforts can solely be democratized from right here on out.
There may be nonetheless an extended street forward, however I do know that I bought to expertise the cool options which may come to an EV with a extra pedestrian badge on its steering wheel someday sooner or later.