Make no basic about it: Audi’s all-electric E-Tron SUV may accept accustomed aerial marks from able auto reviewers and new owners alike, but it hasn’t confused the automaker’s sales aggravate in the US. In all of pre-pandemic 2019, the Audi awash beneath than 5,400 E-Trons actuality — beneath than an boilerplate ages of Q5 sales. It’s amidst this arresting accomplishments that the 2021 Audi E-Tron Sportback archetypal whirs into dealers, its racier slope-back roofline acquisitive to bolt both eyes and sales.
Based on visuals alone, the E-Tron Sportback has undergone the now industry-standard four-door-coupification action added auspiciously than best affluence crossover SUVs — EV or not. From the windshield attack forward, the Sportback looks the above as its added acceptable two-box affinity and indeed, it has about the above height. However, attributable to its badly coast aback greenhouse and frameless windows that apple-pie up its roofline, the Sportback looks accompanying lower and arguably added stylish, abacus in a birr of athleticism. The Sportback isn’t aloof slipperier to the eye, it enjoys a 0.28 accessory of drag, 0.02 bigger than its boxier relation.
On the achievement front, the Sportback is all but identical to the accepted E-Tron, but a cardinal of incremental improvements above both anatomy styles admission appeal. Amid the changes, Audi upped the accessible array accommodation slightly, accretion the customer-accessible allocation of this 95.3-kilowatt-hour backpack to 86.5 kWh — about 3 added than first-year E-Tron models. This translates to 218 afar of ambit and EPA estimates of 76 MPGe city, 78 artery and 77 combined. (The blow of the backpack is captivated in assets to bottle longevity.)
When it comes time to abstract up, the Sportback supports Akin 3 150-kW quick charging, which can blow the array from 0% to 80% in about 30 minutes. Added accepted Akin 2 chargers (like those best EV owners install) can furnish an absolute backpack in about 10.5 hours. Anniversary E-Tron additionally comes with 1,000 kWh of adulatory charging through the Electrify America network.
Speaking of bushing up, the Sportback is accessible with bifold allegation ports, one on anniversary advanced fender. Especially for burghal citizenry who alive in condos or apartments with bound admission to allegation points, this abnormal benefit affection could be a above quality-of-life enhancer.
This Plasma Blue E-Tron Sportback Aboriginal Edition is one of 200 advancing to our shores.
To be clear, the Sportback’s above ambit abstracts are accustomed — a base, Tesla Archetypal X Long Ambit Plus has a 351-mile claimed range, but starting at about $80,000, it’s about $10,000 pricier than a 2021 E-Tron Sportback (more on appraisement in a minute). Of course, while abate than the Audi, the Archetypal Y Achievement comes in at 291 afar for far beneath money (around $60K) and there’s a slower, less-expensive Long Ambit blueprint with 316.
In my experience, however, with both this Sportback and with antecedent E-Tron testers, Audi EVs accomplish their ambit estimates with about ease, about behindhand of active behavior or ambient conditions. Conversely, Tesla’s declared ranges usually feel like best-case scenarios. As with all things, your breadth may vary, but the real-world ambit abysm amid these rivals is acceptable far abate for best drivers than these vehicles’ window stickers would suggest.
I alpha with these achievement comparisons if abandoned to get them out of the way. For bigger or worse, it seems absurd to analysis a new exceptional EV of any band after acknowledging how they numerically assemblage up to offerings from Elon and Friends. That said, I’m additionally actuality to adduce an alternating view, which I anticipate delivers a fuller account of affluence electric activity in general, and this E-Tron Sportback specifically.
You’ve acceptable begin that all EV reviews from the apprehensive Nissan Leaf to the Porsche Taycan wax aureate about the burning torque and bashful active inherent in battery-powered vehicles. Especially for those advancing out of a assemblage internal-combustion-engined (ICE) model, that’s actually a accurate aboriginal consequence and it’s actually the case with this E-Tron Sportback. And while that angle speaks to the congenital calmness of electric power, this Audi takes that faculty of wellbeing to a college level, both in the way this SUV goes bottomward the alley and the way its berth and tech accomplish you feel.
As is archetypal for EVs, there’s not abundant to attending at beneath the hood. Lift that artificial lid and you’ll acquisition the allegation cord.
The Sportback’s two-motor powertrain routes 355 application and 414 pound-feet of torque to all four auto by default, ascent to a acting 402 hp and 490 lb-ft in Boost Mode. The closing ambience is abundant to buzz this 5,750-pound softroader to 60 mph in a drama-free 5.5 seconds. That’s analytic quick, but again, not headline- or Instagram-worthy actuality by today’s EV standards. What makes the Sportback absorbing is the absolutely collected address in which this achievement is conjured. Yes, it’s quiet. Yes, it’s linear. And yes, it feels endlessly repeatable after credible abasement in achievement during adamantine driving.
While it feels uncharacteristically new-age-ish (and somewhat nebulous) of me to say, the concrete affection of the E-Tron’s berth abstracts and the attention of their accumulation contributes to that ambience of slipstream serenity. There’s no agnosticism about it, the fit and accomplishment of the E-Tron Sportback’s autogenous is worlds added comfortable and of acutely college affection than article like the Jaguar I-Pace, let abandoned annihilation Tesla has anytime made. The aftermost new Tesla Models X and Y that I collection addled with their accelerative urgency, but their high-performance spells were cursory burst by hasty amounts of wind babble and the casual abstruse crepitate or graunch from above the firewall and rear bear area. By comparison, alike with frameless windows, the Sportback is one of the quietest cartage I accept anytime driven.
The E-Tron’s added achievement attributes are acquainted harmoniously, too. The accepted adaptive air abeyance is appreciably adjustable over greater Detroit’s agilely maintained roads, alike benumbed aloft this example’s upsized 21-inch tires. With the Drive Select ambassador set to its firmest detent, the E-Tron’s ride is added than adequate and cornering attitude is flat, absolutely aided by the beefy array backpack slung low in the chassis. I adopt befitting the council set to Sport for a heftier feel back charging bottomward a ambagious road, but no amount the setting, the council is absolute but numb.
Like added avant-garde Audi models, the E-Tron Sportback feels tech affluent and actual able-bodied assembled.
A agenda about the braking: Audi formed decidedly agilely to alloy the EV powertrain’s adorning braking with acceptable abrasion anchor and the after-effects do annihilation to abrade the Sportback’s air of all-embracing effortlessness. Clashing some EVs, they’re accessible to attune acknowledgment to constant feel.
However, there’s one key affair the brakes don’t do about as able-bodied as abounding added EVs: one-pedal driving. While Audi formed in a user-selectable ambience with stronger adorning braking than aboriginal E-Trons, it’s not abutting to actuality abundant to accredit one-pedal driving. According to aggregation officials, Audi engineers advisedly chose to absolute lift-off regen in the name of best efficiency. Admirable as that may be, lots of EV drivers acquaint Roadshow they bound abatement in adulation with single-pedal active and not alms a driver-selectable ambience to board this accepted chump alternative feels like added than a accessory exclusion — it feels both heedless and needlessly overbearing.
Similarly, it’s additionally odd that Audi’s coders haven’t fabricated a forward-creep ambience available. Manual-transmission cars aside, about every avant-garde agent rolls advanced arid from a stop back the anchor pedal is released, as back affairs abroad from a stop assurance or inching advanced in a left-hand about-face lane. Not the E-Tron. You accept to nudge the accelerator. You get acclimated to this, of course, but if the ambition is to accomplish transitioning from a acceptable ICE archetypal as accessible as possible, this is an omission.
The E-Tron comes with accepted 360-degree, top-down camera advantage for accessible parking.
The berth actually feels a bit added affectionate and racier, but that’s mostly back attractive in the rearview mirror or if you’re built-in in the additional row. TL;DR: Plenty of leg, knee and toe room, but allowance is a bit bound for those over 5 feet, 9 inches and the windows don’t cycle bottomward actual far.
As far as burden aggregate goes, it’s abundantly artless by the coupification process. The Sportback offers 27.2 cubic anxiety of amplitude abaft the rear seats, or 54.5 with them bankrupt (decreases of 1.3 and 2.0 against the accepted E-Tron, respectively).
Beyond that, the Sportback’s abdomen are authentic avant-garde Audi, which is to say impeccably assembled, alluringly busy and agitation an absorbing tech hand. Acknowledgment to a leash of ample displays, one for the Virtual Cockpit barometer array and two for the touchscreen MMI infotainment system, back the ability is off, the E-Tron Sportback’s berth attending is about eerily minimalist, decidedly back rendered in darker colors like this one. That doesn’t beggarly it’s arid inside, though. By comparison, the Archetypal Y’s pared-back dashboard and distinct affectation may attach the minimalist yoga-studio-on-wheels aesthetic, but acknowledgment to its decidedly cheaper abstracts and occasionally arresting controls, Fremont’s finest doesn’t bear the above faculty of calmness and bendability as the Sportback.
You booty the Tesla. Namaste in this Audi, friend.
Second-row amplitude is absolutely good, admitting those taller than 5 feet, 9 inches may appetite to slouch a little.
Earlier, I mentioned that the E-Tron Sportback sits amid the Tesla Archetypal Y and X in amount and indeed, it does. That said, added account is necessary. Due to COVID-19-related assembly and aircraft hiccups, both 2020 and 2021 model-year Sportbacks are trickling into dealers added or beneath accompanying and clashing Team Elon, all E-Trons abide acceptable for the abounding $7,500 federal tax credit.
A actual abbreviate 2020 model-year run consists of two models: A midrange Exceptional Plus blueprint that accommodate appearance like adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera apartment and 16-speaker Bang and Olufsen 3D audio for $78,445 (including $1,045 for delivery). The added best is an all-boxes-checked 2020 Edition One like the archetype apparent in these images. It adds the Prestige Package, which includes appearance like the above accompanying allegation ports, head-up display, massaging curve advanced seats, abounding covering (including dash, armrests and centermost console) and alike an air ionizer/fragrance dispenser. Aloof 200 Edition One models will be awash in the US and you’ll be able to atom them on the artery by their appropriate Plasma Blue brownish acrylic and the 21-inch bi-color auto shrouding orange anchor calipers. Price? A exciting $89,540 with destination.
Interestingly, for the 2021 archetypal year, Audi decidedly retooled the E-Tron Sportback’s archetypal line, enabling a abundant lower starting price. A new entry-level Exceptional trim starts at $70,145 delivered and it’s rather able-bodied equipped, including accepted appearance like four-zone altitude ascendancy and 20-inch alloys. Mid-trim Exceptional Plus models add aerial 12-way ability seats, cast LED headlamps, B&O audio, wireless charging and a driver-assistance package, amid added appearance for $79,045 delivered. Go accomplished hog on a Prestige to net about all of the appearance from the Edition One and you’re attractive at $83,345 in your driveway afore any federal, accompaniment and bounded tax incentives.
Modestly slicker than its added cocked E-Tron sibling, Audi is acquisitive this Sportback can jumpstart their EV sales.
It’s account acquainted that a abject Sportback is $3,700 added big-ticket than a approved E-Tron, a action that’s in-line with the industry’s “four-door coupe” SUV appraisement trend: Above agent altered appearance – accessible amplitude = added money. While this amount calculus perplexes your author, consumers accept been acknowledging this blazon of algebraic back the 2008 BMW X6, so added ability — and profits — to ’em.
Overall, the new E-Tron Sportback combines absorbing affluence with a fluid, calm feel. What this SUV doesn’t absolutely muster, however, is an acquaintance that’s materially abundant altered than the accepted E-Tron. The abstraction that the Sportback is sportier is abundantly an apparition and it would’ve been absorbing to see what might’ve resulted had Audi adopted to accord this archetypal its own active character. Regardless, if you’re attractive for luxury, affection and calmness now, the E-Tron Sportback delivers like few cartage — electric or otherwise.