Audi has ditched the concept-car wrapping from the second model in its e-tron family, the swish looking e-tron Sportback. Boasting 300kW and 446km of WLTP certified range, the brand is certainly cementing the design language for their electric future.
Electric mobility has been a hot topic lately, with legacy brands like Audi now catching up with innovators like Tesla’s Model X and Model S, while trying to beat german competitors such as coming BMW iX3 and Mercedes-Benz EQC to market.
Although no pricing has been confirmed, Audi expects the e-tron Sportback to arrive in the second half of 2020. European pricing starts €83,000 for the 55 Quattro, which converts to $135,000 (at current rate), matching Benz’s EQC, also taking sales away from their own combustion-engined Q7, BMW X5 range and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
At launch two powertrains will be available, the headline Sportback 55 Quattro produces 265kW and 560Nm with two dual electric motors, by depressing the ‘S’ button and burying the throttle, the 55 Quattro will give eight seconds of power boost, raising power to 300kW and sending the SUV to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds.
Holding power is a 96kWh battery which sits beneath occupants, which adding to the chassis rigidity of the Sportback. The cell will fast-charge at 150kW, achieving 80% charge in just 30 minutes.
The other powertrain is the Sportback 50 Quattro, with outputs of 230kW and 540Nm from a smaller 71kWh battery. The fast-charge is limited to a lower 120kW, but the 120kg lighter battery will charge to the same 80% in an identical 30 minutes.
Regen braking will be adjustable via steering wheel paddles, and at maximum will regen an impressive 70% of the cars outputs, so 300Nm and 220kW, when slowing from 100km/h.
For efficiency, the e-tron Sportback pootles around in rear-wheel drive most of the time, when slip is detected or low-grip modes are activated the front axle comes into play for extra security.
For the e-tron Sportback Audi has achieved a drag coefficient of 0.25 CD, fairly impressive, with Audi claiming this improves range over the conventional e-tron by 10km in WLTP testing thanks to the smoother detachment of air from the sloping rear window and flat boot deck
The mirrors, or rather lack thereof, contribute to the low drag of the car too, the virtual system will display a camera feed inside the car and automatically adjust to the situation for highway, city, and parking situations.
Aerodynamically optimised wheels help lower the CD too, while sculpted brake cooling ducts should help performance potential.
The e-tron Sportback also debuts digital all-new matrix LED tech which will accurately light the road using micro mirrors that can adjust up to 5,000 times per second to provide optimal lighting in any situation.
Corporate design is all over the e-tron Sportback which looks ever-so Audi, not a bad thing if you ask us. The profile sees distinct cues from other Sportback models, and the brand’s prominent hexagonal front grille which is closed off here as cooling is not necessary.
The tough SUV look is complemented by the anthracite black wheel arch extensions as standard, though these can be specified in body colour or gloss black instead.
On that topic Audi claim to have maintained almost identical rear-seat room as the regular e-tron, while offering 60 litres of storage up front, bringing the total to a very impressive 615 litres.
Pictures of the interior are yet to be released, though it is one of Audi’s strong suits at the moment, and with a centrally mounted 12.3-inch touchscreen and a digital dashboard, it should be a lovely place to spend time.
Audi has managed a 50:50 weight distribution in the e-tron Sportback, which in conjunction with a five-link suspension system and air suspension that can vary ride height by 76mm depending on drive modes, so it should make for a confident handling car in any situation.
As standard 19-inch wheels with low rolling-resistance tyres are specified, though punters will be able to opt for larger 20-inch, and up to 22-inches if they wish.
Pricing and exact specification are yet to be locked in, but the e-tron Sportback will offer a stylish and presumably very nice place to spend time when it arrives in Australia in the second half of 2020.
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