Audi seems bent not to affright the brand-faithful with its EVs. Aloof as the aboriginal e-tron SUV surreptitiously injected electrification into what contrarily acquainted like any added contempo SUV with a four-ring grille, so too the new 2021 Audi e-tron Sportback makes acquaintance as important as zero-emissions. Rather than alien exoteric area metal or abrupt departures in berth design, this newest e-tron presents all-electric drive as about as abutting to boilerplate as we’ve seen.
It’s a cunning strategy. VW Group has big affairs for electric vehicles, and it can’t calculation on affairs all of them to bleeding-edge early-adopters and blooming zealots. If abounding EVs are to annual for 20 of Audi’s cartage by 2025, it needs to allure drivers abroad from centralized combustion.
Pricing bliss off at $69,100 (plus $1,045 destination, but afore any incentives) for the 2021 e-tron Sportback Premium; the Premium Additional is $78,000 and the Prestige is $82,300. Alike the entry-level car gets four-zone altitude control, a ability sunroof, Quattro all-wheel drive, navigation, a Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system, and covering seats with heating and blast for the front.
Things attending accustomed from the e-tron SUV, up until you get to the angled roofline. Audi’s Sportback models like the A5 and A7 concluded up abacus sales rather than burglary them from A4 and A6, the aggregation says, and the apprehension is that the 2021 e-tron Sportback will do the aforementioned in EVs. The not-really-a-coupe-but-almost artful is handsome and clean, with aseptic electric cues – like the closed-off grille – there for those in the apperceive to spot.
In the rear you get 27.2 cu-ft of space, decidedly alone 1.3 cu-ft beneath than the e-tron SUV offers. There’s a advanced accumulator alcove beneath the hood, but it’s small: Audi’s charging cable takes up best of it. Alike rear allowance isn’t absolutely all that impacted, with boilerplate acme adults aback there giving no complaints.
Under the glassy new sheetmetal is the aforementioned e-tron architectonics that we’ve enjoyed before. Audi uses two electric motors, one for anniversary axle, with the rear actuality hardly beyond and added powerful. In accustomed use you get 355 application and 414 lb-ft, admitting those abstracts can briefly be additional to 402 hp and 490 lb-ft back you coffin the accelerator in the S manual mode.
0-60 mph comes in 5.5 seconds, top dispatch is 124 mph, and the EPA appraisal is 218 afar on a abounding allegation of the 95 kWh battery. With a DC fast charger and the e-tron Sportback’s 150 kW charging support, a 0-80% allegation takes about bisected an hour. And, admitting it ability attending added sporting, you’ll still be able to tow up to 4,000 pounds with the accessible package.
On the road, there’s a slight accommodation in ride fabricated for style: the accepted e-tron Sportback gets 20-inch wheels, rather than the e-tron SUV’s 19-inch, while the $4,100 Edition One amalgamation upgrades that to 21-inches. Adaptive air abeyance is standard, though, which goes a continued way; in Comfort mode, the EV is as costly as an A8.
Switch to Dynamic, meanwhile, and the e-tron Sportback does its best to adumbrate the 5,754 lb barrier weight. Admitting the dispatch isn’t at “Ludicrous” levels, the actuality that all that torque arrives from the get-go makes for a acutely absorbing point-and-shoot active experience. You billow abroad from lights and stops signs, bound through gaps in traffic, all the time serenaded with the e-tron’s spaceship-like cyberbanking whirring. Audi says it hasn’t absitively yet whether to barrage the Sportback S in the US, so accede me preemptively anxious that Europe gets to adore peaks of 496 hp and 718 lb-ft.
The council caster still has paddles, but back there are no apparatus to cast through they ascendancy adorning braking instead. There are three levels available, from basically non-existent through to moderately aggressive, and Audi says that the e-tron Sportback can ameliorate about 30-percent of its absolute ambit at the best setting. I’d not altercate with a fourth, alike added accelerated setting, frankly; clashing added EVs, you can’t do one-pedal active alike with the regen cranked up to the max.
Now, I didn’t set out to scientifically analysis Audi’s ambit promises. The e-tron Sportback’s dashboard appraisal is based on your contempo active behavior, and I’m about of the assessment that absolute abeyant ambit isn’t what gives bodies anxiety, but ambiguity about aloof how reliable the cardinal of afar quoted is. Having been in some EVs area the ambit actual cardinal starts to circuit bottomward like an elevator in freefall, with acutely little affiliation to how far you’re absolutely driving, accurateness there is article I’m consistently acquainted of.
With alone a continued weekend to see how it captivated up, I’ll authority off from any final conclusions. The e-tron Sportback’s estimate, though, about came aural 1-3 afar of the ambit I absolutely collection on anniversary charge. I doubtable it would advance the added the cruise computer had time to beam my active style, itself adequately alloyed accustomed I was was aggravating to awning all the bases in the time I had. In short, then, not Tesla-rivaling numbers but abundant anticipated afar from a abounding array to clothing best circadian needs.
Audi’s berth architectonics doesn’t devious from the archetype it set with the aboriginal e-tron SUV: abundant of the accustomed so as not to abash loyalists, forth with a few tech tweaks. The bifold touchscreen infotainment arrangement is aboveboard to use, admitting those advancing from added EVs and absent to acquisition the ability burning metrics best action may appear up short. Audi is adequately aseptic in what it shows you.
The idea, I suspect, is to stop electrification activity like such an outlier. Certainly, the automaker has done all it can to accomplish active with an EV as aboveboard as possible. Having two charging ports, one on anniversary advanced fender, as comes accepted on the Premium trim may feel needlessly lavish, appropriate up until you acquisition a charger with a abbreviate cable reach.
There’s affluence to like about the e-tron Sportback. All the same, though, I can’t advice but anticipate that the absolute action in Audi’s EV agency is still aloof about the corner. The Audi e-tron GT will accompany some ball to the affluence sports auto segment, yes, but it’s the 2021 Q4 e-tron and its accounted $45k starting amount which I’m best absorbed by.
That’s because, while there may be no curtailment of high-end all-electric cartage for those with abysmal pockets to enjoy, we’re yet to absolutely see affluence and electric cantankerous bottomward into the mainstream. I can absolutely accept Audi’s action at ablution the e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback first, and they absolutely action a aftertaste of what’s to come, but it’s accepting added EVs assimilate added driveways that I anticipate will be the accurate angled point.
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