Audi’s post-Dieselgate electrification advance assets a additional bender for 2021 in the anatomy of the E-Tron Sportback. If you couldn’t acquaint from the name alone, the Audi E-Tron Sportback expands the company’s new electric crossover into the sporty, slope-backed crossover space.
As is about the case with these crossover off-shoots, the Sportback shares its underpinnings with the ancient (can we alike alarm it that yet?) Audi E-Tron, which now allowances from the aforementioned tweaked powertrain that was appear with the Sportback’s unveiling, absolute a 95-kWh array backpack and bifold (front/rear) electric motors bearing a absolute of 355 application and 414 pound-feet of torque. Those abstracts access to 402 hp and 490 lb-ft in the E-Tron’s “Boost Mode,” which can actuate the midsize crossover to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. That’s affluence quick for a accepted car in this segment, and not bad for its weight, but it’s not actually abrupt achievement for a avant-garde EV. But we digress.
Choosing amid the E-Tron SUV and Sportback comes bottomward to style, and to our eyes, the closing actually has the edge. This would accomplish it the attenuate barring in a apple of button SUV “coupes” that generally end up adorable about as awkward as their positions advance while compromising the actual acumen that makes them adorable in the aboriginal place. Audi, at least, seems to apperceive how to accomplish a fastback appearance crossover that doesn’t attending like a contemptuous attack to ample a attenuated niche. It looks like an A5 Sportback with a lift and some cladding. One could do far worse.
Inside, the Sportback is all Audi. Indeed, afar from its centermost animate and different accessory selector, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the E-Tron for an A6, Q8 or bisected the added cars in Audi’s lineup. As an added bonus, the arise that houses the unique, thumb-activated accessory selector doubles as a beanbag for your wrist aback you accomplish the lower ascendancy screen. This is actually an advancement over what you’ll acquisition in Audi’s gasoline-powered models, breadth you run the accident of nudging the shifter if you’re application it as a wrist rest. Kudos to Audi on that detail.
This business-as-usual autogenous affair speaks to the actuality that Audi has actually accepted the admeasurement of touchscreens and added touch-based surfaces with its latest annular of cars and SUVs. Audi doesn’t actually put the E-Tron’s all-electric character advanced and center. Rather than plastering the autogenous and touchscreen airheaded with blooming (though they’d apparently be blue, because that’s the European way) elements or activated foliage, Audi has skinned every aspect of the E-Tron in such a way that if you didn’t apperceive what it was underneath, you’d abide clueless until accepting underway.
To analysis the E-Tron’s adequacy as an EV, our 60-mile bend consisted of several afar of accelerated Interstate, burghal apparent streets and rural aback roads. We set off with the birr bold 212 afar of accessible ambit afterwards we set up our alone profiles for the Sportback’s drive approach and disciplinarian abetment systems, which requires some menu-diving.
The burning torque from the big Sportback’s electric motors makes for abundantly acceptable launches and blink-of-an-eye casual power. The powertrain is actually the E-Tron’s affair piece, and its admiration becomes addictive. Boost Approach or no Boost Mode, the Sportback packs a heck of a punch.
And it needs to. Despite the E-Tron’s low centermost of force (a artefact of its low-mounted array pack), it still feels as ample as the specs say it is. At 193 inches long, and 76 inches wide, the Sportback has about the exact aforementioned brand as an A6 Allroad (4,486 pounds) or Q8 (5,004 lbs), but is decidedly added than either, blockage in at 5,754 lbs empty. That trend continues about to its competition: a Jaguar I-Pace (which will hit 60 mph a abounding additional quicker) weighs 1,000 pounds less. Alike the larger, three-row Tesla Model X is 300 pounds lighter.
The acceptable account is that the electric driveline keeps absolutely a bit of weight off the adenoids (relative to Audi’s gasoline-powered offerings, certainly) and the E-Tron’s council has been acquainted for a quick, about too-crisp response. Still, the Sportback rides like a affluence SUV aboriginal and foremost. It’s soft, adaptable and serene, not a corner-carving achievement SUV. Alike on the bombed-out apparent streets of the Detroit busline area, the Sportback’s firmest abeyance ambience was altogether comfortable.
After commutual our loop, which concluded up actuality aloof 58.5 miles, the Sportback’s array showed us an estimated actual ambit of 172 afar – about 20 added than we expected. At artery speeds, our burning amount averaged abutting to 2.2 miles/kWh. By the time we wrapped, that amount was up to 2.8. At that pace, we could apparently abstract added than 240 afar from the E-Tron, bold Audi’s 91-percent array appliance amount is accurate. While this was far from an all-embracing appraisal of the E-Tron’s array capacity, we nonetheless came abroad impressed, and assertive that Audi’s 218-mile ambit amount is able-bodied on the bourgeois side. The “your breadth may vary” admonition applies, as usual.
Now, if you’re a fan of EVs, you’re apparently accustomed with the angle of actuality able to acclimatize a car’s anchor about-face level, about with the end ambition actuality one-pedal driving. While the E-Tron allows you to dabble with the regen incrementally via its wheel-mounted paddles, the acclimation ambit is adequately attenuated and the E-Tron will eventually abandon your selections. One-pedal active isn’t accessible and we absence it. We additionally can see absolute EV owners giving the E-Tron a canyon because of its blank – already you’ve apprenticed in alternate cartage while rarely affecting the anchor pedal, it’s adamantine to go back.
The Sportback’s advanced accumulator accommodation is addition head-scratcher. Too tiny and aloof to acquire the appellation of “frunk,” this briefcase-sized tub beneath the awning has abundant amplitude to board the E-Tron’s charging cable and around annihilation more. Fortunately, the rear burden amplitude is almost acceptable at 27.2 cubic anxiety – bottomward alone 1.3 cubes from the approved E-Tron and bigger than the Jaguar I-Pace’s 25.3 cubic feet, which additionally has a near-useless burden amplitude beneath its hood.
On paper, the E-Tron compares analytic able-bodied to its European competitors. Both the I-Pace and the accessible Mercedes-Benz EQC action agnate ambit at (likely, in the case of the Benz) the aforementioned price, but its backpack holds it aback in agreement of performance. For the aforementioned money, you can additionally amount a Tesla Model Y Achievement to the aspect and both outrun and outlive the Europeans – admitting you would be sacrificing body affection and autogenous luxury.
The bearings is, frankly, not absolutely satisfying. As an Audi, the E-Tron Sportback seems absolutely good. It is quiet, adequate and feature-rich, as a $70,000 affluence car should be. This may able-bodied be abundant to accompany Audi’s admirers aback into showrooms, but will it abound the chump base? For now, it seems that E-Tron is added acceptable to accompany absolute Audi barter into the electric fold, rather than bringing alfresco electric buyers into the Audi fold.
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