Audi transforms its large electric SUV E-Tron by offering it a 5-door coupe version called Sportback. In addition to the look, this new evening outfit improves its aerodynamics and thus offers it better performance. Positive across the board?
As is customary in the automotive sector, the major car manufacturers – especially the Germans – mimic each other. Nowadays, the game is about transforming a large SUV into… coupe! While it may sound jarring, the popularity of these machines is undeniable. Audi decides to apply this recipe to its E-Tron electric SUV by offering it a version called Sportback. However, the advantages here are not only stylistic!
It is in profile that this new E-Tron Sportback shows its most beautiful assets. Here, we notice that the part below the cash line remains relatively unchanged. The style upheaval occurs at the roofline. It becomes plunging and ends in a short trunk with a slight spoiler. Although, as the saying goes, tastes and colors cannot be discussed, it must be said that Audi has done quite well with this transformation.
Note also that with the arrival of this Sportback version, Ingolstadt is also adding an S-Line equipment line to the catalog of its E-Tron. Focused on sportiness, this latest electric SUV equips a specific front bumper, 20 "rims as well as sports air suspensions. Unlike the standard model, the exterior plastics are tinted in body color.
Few losses …
Back to the Sportback. This new roof line obviously cuts into the interior livability, it is undeniable. Yet the losses are not as dramatic as one might fear. At the rear, the headroom is reduced by 20 mm but large templates will still be seated at ease … as long as the driver is not too tall. In short. The cargo space is also in distress. Including the 60 liters hidden under the front hood, the total cargo capacity increases from 660 to 615 liters. Nothing really dramatic.
For the rest of the passenger compartment, it is business as usual. There is always a 5-seater vehicle which, although high on legs, offers the same roominess and driving position as a large sedan. The fault with the battery housed in the floor. Nothing changes either on the dashboard, still equipped with two touch screens with haptic feedback. It's also the same song at the finish. It is generally well made, but we regret the center console made entirely of hard plastics at a low price. They have no place in a car over 80,000 euros base …
… A lot of gain!
Besides its different aesthetic, this new Sportback version has more than one trick up its sleeve. Yes, this plunging line improves the aerodynamics of the 2.5 ton juggernaut. Thanks to its better breakthrough in the air, the total autonomy gains 10 km and consumption decreases by 1 kWh / 100 km compared to the conventional E-Tron.
Thus, the E-Tron Sportback 50 Quattro, equipped with a 71 kWh battery, has a theoretical range of 347 km (WLTP). As for it, the 55 Quattro version and its 95 kWh battery announces a range of up to 446 km. As a reminder, these two versions are fitted with an electric motor on each running gear. The first (50) has 230 kW (313 hp) and 530 Nm of torque while our test model (55) pushes the power to 300 kW (408 hp) and 664 Nm of torque in boost mode.
A little better
On the road, this E-Tron Sportback behaves… like an E-Tron. Not surprisingly since the new bodywork does not affect driving in any way. Thus, we (re) discover an extremely comfortable car, both in terms of filtering the suspensions and sound insulation. With the arrival of this model comes a series of technical developments aimed at improving efficiency.
Audi announces that it has worked on the friction of the brakes and the front electric motor, but the most important thing is the evolution of regeneration. The E-Tron finally embraces its electric technology and offers us a real regeneration at the get-go! However, the approach remains relatively timid since driving with a pedal is still not part of the game. The brand has also developed energy recovery adapting to the traffic preceding the E-Tron. The idea sounds good, but it turns everyday driving into a lottery so you don't know what will happen when you get up. Fortunately, this assistance can be turned off. Phew.
Despite this development, the conduct of this E-Tron Sportback is not the most economical. The on-board computer tells us an average consumption of 25.9 kWh / 100 km after a week and some 1,000 km. Murphy's law having increased our journeys, we regret never having seen more than 340 km of autonomy after a full charge on our test model equipped with the largest battery.
The arrival of this Sportback variant not only completes the aesthetics of the E-Tron without really cutting down on interior space, but above all it offers it improved aerodynamics and increased efficiency. At least, on paper. In fact, the big German beast is still hungry for electrons.