Written by Tom Harrison

"I think it"s over a girl," says our guide. From the confines of our Audi e-Tron, we"re watching two (presumably teenaged) giraffes beat the proverbial out of each other. It"s not an elegant sight. Giraffes are normally pretty docile, we"re told. Not used to fighting each other or, for that matter, anything else. Which must be why they look so awkward when they try. They"re simply not built for it, we conclude, as the pair stop whipping their heads/necks around (seriously, YouTube giraffes fighting"), plainly decide she" isn"t worth fighting over, and amble away into the Namibian wilderness. Hopefully via the desert-equivalent of a reconciliatory pint. I think of these giraffes again the next day, as the man from Audi turns the e-Tron"s ESC off and points me towards a rudimentary handling circuit carved into a gigantic Namibian salt-flat. I hesitate, because arsing around on a surface about as grippy as packed snow is not what this (or any other) family SUV was designed to do not even close and if I try, its air of unimpeachable ability and sophistication could turn out to be quite impeachable after all. We might end up like the giraffe, inelegantly flailing around as others look on in amusement. Happily, what actually transpires is quite the opposite. Allow me to take a break from torturing that particular metaphor and give you the headlines, in case you haven"t watched my colleague Jack Rix"s rather excellent explanatory video. Audi"s first proper EV is a conspicuously inconspicuous the company didn"t want to scare away its existing customers with something too futuristic SUV that will cost about 70K when it reaches the UK next year. Far as size goes, it"s a five-seater somewhere between a Q5 and Q7, at 4,901mm long, 1,935mm wide and 1,616mm high. A more svelte Sportback" version is next.

Date written: 10 Oct 2018

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