The production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback has finally been unveiled. It’s the automaker’s second full electric e-tron model after the original, and as implied in the name, the e-tron Sportback features a coupe-esque appearance, much like what the Q3 Sportback is to the regular Q3.
First, let’s get the juicy bits out of the way. The range-topping e-tron Sportback 55 quattro variant is powered by two electric motors to produce a combined output of 355 hp (265 kW) and 561 Nm of torque, figures that are identical to the standard e-tron 55 quattro. The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 6.6 seconds, but a boost mode temporarily increases output to 402 hp (300 kW) and 664 Nm. This drops the century sprint time to 5.7 seconds.
Integrated into the floor of the car is a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery, of which 83.6 kWh is usable, Audi claims. The battery operates at a rated voltage of 396 volts, and can support DC fast charging of up to 150 kW. When plugged in, the automaker says the battery reaches up to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes, and a full charge provides a driving range of 446 km based on WLTP standards.
There is also the e-tron Sportback 50 quattro that’s fitted with a smaller 71 kWh lithium-ion battery. Here, the total system output is 312 PS (230 kW) and 540 Nm of torque, enabling a 0-100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds and offers a total driving range of 347 km. Top speed is 190 km/h. The charging threshold for the 50 quattro is 120 kW through a DC fast charging outlet, but Audi says the battery can also be charged up to 80% capacity in 30 minutes.
For AC charging, the supplied Type 2 CCS cable can be plugged into an 11 kW AC outlet, but this can be increased to 22 kW with an optional onboard charging device. The latter, however, will only be available in mid 2020. Charging through a domestic socket is also possible, and this uses a simple 230 volt connection with an output of up to 11 kW. A full charge takes about 8.5 hours.
Like any electrified car, braking helps recharge the battery – Audi says 30% of the car’s total driving range can be recouped via braking. Stopping power is provided either by the electric motor or electrohydraulic wheel brakes, and Audi says the transition between both systems is homogenous and unnoticeable, all while offering a constant braking force.
Onto design. The e-tron Sportback measures 4,901 mm long, 1,935 mm wide, 1,616 mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2,929 mm. Interestingly, those dimensions are identical to the standard e-tron, but the Sportback cuts through air more efficiently with a drag coefficient of 0.25 (versus the e-tron’s 0.27 Cd).
Like the e-tron, the Sportback gets a short Singleframe grille that’s almost fully enclosed, and the SUV features the world’s first digital matrix LED (DML) headlights. The system uses ultra-high-resolution laser projectors, each with more than 1.3 million pixels to precisely illuminate the road ahead without dazzling oncoming cars. DML also enables graphic-verbal communication by projecting characters or numbers onto the road. Pretty fancy stuff, this, but it’ll only be available in mid 2020.
Next, there’s a total of 13 colours to choose from, including the Plasma Blue metallic that’s unique to the e-tron Sportback. The charging cap is finished in orange, which can also be applied to the brake calipers upon request. Contrasting elements include wheel arch trims and sills that are finished in matte anthracite, whereas the diffuser, door sills and underbody cover are painted in black.
Opt for the S line package and you’ll get huge 20-inch wheels (upgradable to 22-inch items) and sport air suspension. It also comes with a more aerodynamic front bumper with air curtains, and the matte anthracite panels are given a body colour finish instead. For a sportier look, one can choose the black styling package, which sees items such as the grille surrounds, window surrounds, and side mirror caps painted black. Virtual side mirrors are optional, by the way.
Inside, it’s pretty much the same as the e-tron SUV, with a dual-touchscreen setup (upper unit measures 12.1 inches diagonally, the bottom unit is 8.6 inches) that includes the MMI touch response infotainment system. The centre stack remains angled towards the driver, too. Also standard is the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit. MMI Navigation plus and Audi connect are optional.
There is a slight degree of customisation here. Customers can choose between the standard seat design, sport seats, S sport seats, or special contoured seats with ventilation and massage functions. Depending on your choice, the stitching pattern varies, one of which is reminiscent of electric circuits, Audi says. The Bang & Olufsen Premium 3D Sound System is optional, too.
Lastly, safety. The e-tron Sportback comes with Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front safety as standard, but this can be upgraded to Audi pre sense 360 which gets all-round AEB functions and the tensioning of seat belts. Depending on the selected safety package, the SUV can be kitted with up to five radar sensors, five cameras, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Pricing for the e-tron Sportback starts from 71,350 euros (RM329k) in Europe, and the SUV will be built at Audi’s CO2-neutral manufacturing facility in Brussels.
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