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Dan Neil drives the Audi eTron, tells Musk and Fisker to watch out

The LA Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning auto critic, Dan Neil, had a chance to sample the Audi e-tron while the electric R8 (R8e?) was down in So. Cal. for the LA Auto Show, and he’s suitably impressed with the nine-month-old prototype that — unlike your average concept — is actually functional.

Not only does it go, stop and turn, the e-tron has a fully functional climate control system, power windows, MMI system and a host of other gadgets on board, making it a rarity in the world of one-off concepts. Granted, it’s still just an overly-stylized mule (thankfully, the million-spoke wheels were dispatched in favor of the R8 V10’s hoops), but this is less about the driving experience (although Neil raves about the dynamics and power delivery) and more about the world’s largest automakers getting into the electric vehicle game.

Neil’s primary point is that while Tesla and Fisker are laying the foundation for EV proliferation, automakers like Audi, Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen all have electric whips in the works. Neil contends that the standards set by the major OEMs are what’s going to drive EVs into the mainstream and if the e-tron (and the forthcoming electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG) are any indication, enthusiasts can have their cake and eat it too. Check out the full write-up and hit the jump for Dan’s video review.


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