Audi has revealed its latest all-electric vehicle – the e-tron Sportback – at the Los Angeles motor show.
Described as the firm’s second bespoke electric vehicle, it’s probably more accurately considered to be a variation on the original e-tron model. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the Audi e-tron has received very favourable reviews from the UK motoring media and currently holds an impressive score of 83% according to our unique Expert Rating aggregator.
Like virtually every German SUV model released in the last few years, the e-tron is now available in a more expensive yet less practical version. It’s the same weight, length and height as the standard model, with the main visual difference of the e-tron Sportback being a more raked roofline.
As well as flattening out the overall look of the car, the sleeker roofline also helps with aerodynamic efficiency – the e-tron Sportback has a slightly lower drag coefficient compared with the regular e-tron. It’s not a big difference, but Audi claims that it equates to an extra six miles of range.
Under that slightly more aerodynamic body, there are some mechanical differences. The e-tron Sportback can decouple the front and rear axles so it can become rear-wheel-drive (the regular e-tron is all-wheel-drive-only), which helps to add a further six miles of range.
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In total, Audi claims that the e-tron Sportback will return 277 miles on a single charge. Its engineers have also swapped the two water pumps cooling the batteries in the standard e-tron with a single larger one, saving even more weight and adding range.
The range-topping e-tron Sportback 55 produces 360hp from two electric motors and a 95kWh battery. Audi claims that it’ll go from 0-60mph in under six seconds when in sport mode. The firm also states that the Sportback can recuperate up to 30% of its total range through brake regeneration alone.
And though the vast amount of fixtures and fittings both inside and out are identical to those on the e-tron, the Sportback is the first mass-production car to get digital matrix LED headlights. Using systems usually found in video projectors, with individual tiles which can be adjusted 5,000 times per second.
UK pricing for the Sportback has yet to be confirmed, but Audi has stated that it will start at a bit over £71,000 (based on current exchange rates) in Germany. First deliveries are expected to start in spring 2020.
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