Audi announced today that the Sportback version of its e-tron EV will hit dealerships this summer with a starting price of $77,400. The extra few thousand dollars above the existing e-tron SUV brings a sleeker sportback silhouette and a boost to 218 miles of range.
Audi still benefits from the $7,500 tax credit, making for an effective starting price of $77,000.
The 14 miles of additional range comes from a combination of strategies. It will use an ample 91% of the 95kWh pack. The sportback design is more aerodynamic. And the front motor can decouple from the powertrain when not needed to create less drag. There were also improvements to the software strategy and thermal management.
The sportback design simultaneously provides a sleeker style, like a power wagon or chunky coupe rather than a dowdy SUV, while being the key to aerodynamic efficiency. Audi explains:
At the front, the distinctively contoured bumper is flanked by uniquely designed air intakes for optimized air flow. These vents extend below the headlights, thereby creating a dynamic appearance even from a distance. At the rear, the spoiler and diffuser extend across the entire vehicle width contributing to vehicle aerodynamics.
And here is how the company describes the aesthetics:
The e-tron Sportback comes standard equipped with 20-inch wheels and air suspension. Distinct for the US model, the exterior trim components come painted in the exterior body color — including the wheel arch trims, door sills, bumpers, and exterior mirrors for a cohesive and sleek design. Creating an aggressively styled variant, Audi also offers the Black Optics package that accentuates the area of the Singleframe grille, the side windows, bumpers, and exterior mirror housings as an option.
The US version will not yet get the camera-based side mirrors.
The sportier design is backed by a two-motor design with a peak output of 402 horsepower when the driver uses Boost Mode. That means it can zoom from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, which is decent for the vehicle’s proportions. The measurements are 4,901 millimeters (16.1 feet) long, 1,935 millimeters (6.3 feet) wide, and 1,616 millimeters (5.3 feet) high.
Efficiency is, to be polite, not cutting edge based on the EPA’s combined estimate at 77 MPGe.
Like its sibling, it has 150-kilowatt quick-charge capability, which Audi estimates can add 174 miles of range in 30 minutes.
We could criticize Audi’s decision to emphasize creature comforts and other features over efficiency. But it’s not the main point of this vehicle. The e-tron Sportback is luxurious, well-built, looks cool, and is still way more efficient than similar conventional models. (Can’t resist: 77 MPGe is low for an EV.)
The Audi e-tron Sportback has a compelling combination of features, including comfortable seating for five, sunroof, standard adaptive air suspension, and towing capacity up to 4,000 pounds. Audi says the sloped roofline does not compromise the headroom in all seating positions.
Moreover, it boosts the range of the e-tron SUV by 14 miles. That’s a good step in the right direction. The e-tron Sportback gives luxury buyers another option to go electric.
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