Audi e-tron Sportback: was it necessary?
Or is it just to keep the bills coming?
We should’ve seen this coming. We should’ve seen this coming way before than now. Initially, this was being followed by the option of removing the roof, but now, it’s just making the roof slope downwards. Silly.
Right after the arrival of the Q3 and the Q3 Sportback, it’s utterly identical twin with a downward sloping roof, Audi has gone ahead and done the same with its electric cavalry. Wanting to expand their electric line-up, Audi has released the Sportback version of its popular electric SUV e-tron, the e-tron Sportback.
The e-tron Sportback, in all possible angles except the side profile, looks and is exactly the same as its straight-roofed cousin. Except, the e-tron Sportback now offers lesser headroom at the back. A reduction of 20mm to be specific. Additionally, the lower sloping roof even eats up a bit of the luggage space, leaving this Sportback with 615 litres of free space when compared to the 650 litres being offered in the e-tron.
Fortunately, it also comes with a host of technological advancements which is said to be carried over to the standard e-tron in its 2020 mid-life update as well. While most of it involves just numerous ways which aid bumping up the efficiency figures, one such advancement is a world-first for a mass-produced vehicle.
For instance, the front and rear axles can be decoupled here. Which means the Sportback can only be driven as a rear-wheel-drive which adds an additional 10kms of range. The brakes pads now receive stronger springs implying lesser friction when not required which leads to gaining an extra 3kms of range. In the regular e-tron, Audi equips two water pumps. With the Sportback, just one larger unit, thereby saving weight and costs and hence, gaining another 2kms of additional range.
Furthermore, Audi claims slicing off a part of the roof makes it more slippery. That not only gives the Sportback a better drag coefficient of 0.25Cd in contrast to the 0.27Cd in the e-tron, but it also makes it more efficient via an additional range of 10kms.
Remember I was on about a world-first feature? Yeah, those comprise of matrix LED headlights which are being offered as standard, making the e-tron Sportback the world’s first mass-produced vehicle to receive the same. The fancy tech involves the usage of hardware usually found in video projectors, which is then further broken down to 1 million micro-mirrors. Best part? The headlights can even project videos, albeit when stationary.
Doing power duties in the top-spec e-tron Sportback 55 are two electric motors and a 95kWh battery, delivering 360hp and 561Nm of torques. All that converts the 0-100kph time to 6.6 secs and that time can get further reduced to 5.7 secs if the Sport mode is activated. Operational only for 8 seconds, the Sport mode engages a boost facility that increases the power output to 408hp and 664Nm of torque.
Pitting the WLTP tested range figures of both cars against each other, we have the top-spec Sportback 55 having a range of 450kms as opposed to a mere 400kms offered with the e-tron 55. The story stays exactly the same when opposing the lower 50-spec variants of either car. The former with the sliced off roof can go on till 350kms whereas the standard car can do just 300kms. Charging times also resemble the standard e-tron. An 80 per cent charge can be achieved in just 30 mins via a 150kW fast charger.
Speaking on the possible design variations on the e-tron Sportback, Jens van Eikels, head of the e-tron line, said, “We looked at some crazy things, A pick-up (that was very interesting) a three-box saloon but the coupé was definitely the best looking. We took the roofline from A7 Sportback. This model is very sporty and more progressive than the e-tron.”
The e-tron Sportback will be debuting in European markets by spring 2020. Prices for the base variant starts from EUR 71,350 (or $79,000). Similar to Q3 Sportback, the e-tron Sportback will also be sold in an ‘edition one’ limited edition variant with a plasma blue paintjob, available only at launch.