Elegant, efficient, expressive: the exterior design
The Audi e-tron Sportback combines the power of a spacious SUV with the elegance of a four- door coupé and the progressive character of an electric car. It is 4,901 millimetres long, 1,935 millimetres wide and 1,616 millimetres high. Its roof extends flat over the muscular body, dropping down steeply to the rear in typical coupé style and flowing into the steeply raked D-pillars. The lower edge of the third side window rises towards the rear, a typical Sportback feature.
With the octagonal Singleframe, the powerful contours above the wheels, and the sculptural rear end, the Audi e-tron Sportback is perfectly aligned with the brand’s design idiom. Details signal to the outside world that the SUV coupé is fully electric. The largely enclosed Singleframe with its vertical struts is presented in a light platinum grey a specific identifying feature of the e-tron models. In the lower area of the optional matrix LED headlights, four horizontal segments create the e-tron-specific signature in the daytime running lights. The logo on the electric charging flap features the eye-catching high-voltage signal colour orange.
The e-tron Sportback comes with S line as standard here in New Zealand which adds emphasis on the sporting DNA of the Audi e-tron Sportback. It is equipped as standard with 21-inch alloy wheels and sport air suspension. The more distinctively contoured bumper is flanked by more expressive air curtains, which improve the air flow. They extend below the headlights, thereby creating a dynamic appearance even from a distance. At the rear end, the spoiler fitted as standard as well as a striking diffuser that extends across the entire vehicle width contribute to the outstanding vehicle aerodynamics.
“We are pleased to see the e-tron range expanding with the addition of the e-tron Sportback with its coupé-inspired body shape delivering both incredible design and performance that is expected from Audi. Offering up to 446 kilometres of range it’s the perfect companion for your family adventure as well as offering a comfortable, dynamic drive when required.” said Audi New Zealand General Manager, Dean Sheed.
Drag coefficient 0.25: Top aerodynamics for extended range
The Audi e-tron Sportback in conjunction with the S line exterior and optional virtual exterior mirrors achieves an outstanding drag coefficient value of just 0.25, even better than its Audi e-tron sister model. This is primarily due to the coupé body shape and the associated lower aerodynamic drag behind the car. The high separating edge of the Sportback minimises swirl in the air flow in this area, which ultimately also benefits consumption. In the WLTP cycle, the SUV coupé has a range of up to 446 kilometres on a single battery charge. Roughly 10 kilometres of the increased range compared to the e-tron can be attributed to the aerodynamically more favourable body.
Sporty efficiency: Electric motors, electric all-wheel drive, suspension
The Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro allows the driver to savour the interaction of efficiency, performance, and supreme calm. Each axle is fitted with an asynchronous electric motor that is fed with three-phase current by the power electronics. With an output of 265 kW and 561 Nm of torque, the two standard electric motors pack a powerful punch in launching the SUV coupé from a standstill while emissions-free and in virtual silence. The Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro takes just 6.6 seconds to reach 100 km/h, and its top speed is electronically limited to 200 km/h. By shifting from drive range D to S and fully depressing the accelerator pedal, the driver can activate boost mode. Here, the drive generates 300 kW of output and 664 Nm of torque for eight seconds. This enables the SUV coupé to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. Two-stage planetary gearboxes with one gear range transfer the torque from the electric motors to the axles. A switch, which the driver can operate with the thumb and forefinger, is used to select the gears. It is embedded in an elegant lever that is set low above the centre tunnel and serves as a hand rest.
Electric all-wheel drive ensures outstanding traction and dynamism on any terrain. With it, Audi is writing a new chapter in the history of quattro drive. It continuously regulates the ideal drive torque distribution between both axles within fractions of a second. In most driving situations, the Audi e-tron Sportback relies exclusively on its rear electric motor for exceptional efficiency. If the driver requests more output than it can provide, the front unit is instantly activated. This also happens predictively before slip occurs in slippery conditions or when cornering fast, or if the car understeers or oversteers.
A key factor behind the sporty character and outstanding transverse dynamics is the low installation position of the drive components resulting in a centre of gravity that is much lower than in a conventional SUV. All the heaviest components are concentrated in the centre of the vehicle. The axle load distribution with a ratio of almost 50:50 is perfectly balanced; the self-steering behaviour is neutral. With components such as the five-link suspensions, the progressive steering and the electrohydraulic brake system, the suspension combines the latest technologies, which together ensure agile vehicle handling and a high degree of comfort.
95 kWh of energy: High-voltage battery system and recuperation
The battery system of the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro stores 95 kWh of gross energy and operates at a rated voltage of 396 volts. It is fitted as a wide flat block beneath the passenger cell, to which it is bolted at 35 points. The battery system is exceptionally rigid and crash-proof thanks to a solid protective frame and an aluminium laminate that holds the 36 cell modules. These are arranged on two levels, as a long lower “floor” with 31 modules and a short upper floor with five modules. Each module integrates twelve ‘pouch cells.’ The cooling system is located beneath the cell chamber.
During deceleration actions of up to 0.3 g—which applies to over 90 percent of such actions in everyday driving the high-voltage battery is charged by the electric motors, primarily by the rear electric motor, which act as generators in these situations. The recuperation system provides for variable regulation of energy recuperation between both electric modules both in coasting mode when the driver releases the right-hand pedal as well as during braking. The degree of coasting recuperation can be set to three stages by means of paddles on the steering wheel and is even more strongly differentiated than on the e-tron.
When braking from 100 km/h, the Audi e-tron Sportback can recuperate a maximum of 300 Nm and 220 kW. As with its sister model, this amounts to more than 70 percent of its output and more than any other production model. Overall, the SUV-coupé attains up to 30 percent of its range through recuperation.
Continue driving in just 30 minutes: the charging line-up
On long-distance routes, the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro can charge with direct current (DC) at up to 150 kW at fast-charging stations. In just under half an hour, the battery reaches 80 percent of its capacity enough for the next leg of its long-distance trip.
Audi offers a range of solutions for charging in the garage at home through HRV, depending on the capacity of the domestic power supply. The standard compact charging system is suitable for a simple 230-volt connection and for a 400-volt three-phase outlet with an output of up to 11 kW.
Form and function perfected: The interior
With a wheelbase of 2,928 millimetres, the Audi e-tron Sportback has ample space for five occupants along with their bags. Rear headroom is just 20 millimetres less than in the Audi e-tron. The rear footwell is virtually level just a flat step remains in place of the centre tunnel. Including the 60-litre stowage compartment underneath the hood, which houses the vehicle tool kit and charging cable, the car offers a total of 615 litres of luggage capacity. Folding down the rear seat backrests increases the luggage capacity to 1,665 litres.
The Audi e-tron Sportback is available at Audi Authorised dealerships now priced from $169,900 + ORC and optional extras.