Audi e-tron Sportback review

Audi has expanded its electric e-tron range with this Sportback model available in both standard and S forms. With a sleeker roofline, the German is clearly aiming for the BMW X6/ Range Rover Sport sportier end of the SUV market, albeit with electric power under the driver’s right foot. Given the ever-growing popularity of SUVs and electric models, it’s a natural expansion of the e-tron range.


Audi e-tron Sportback review front - EVs Unplugged

Sporty SUVs, discuss. There are few areas of the car market more likely to invoke ire than the sporty SUV. The idea of such a physically large car boasting sleeker lines and therefore less practicality – despite its dimensions – is one that’s heavy with irony.

The only problem is, it’s heavy with sales prospects too. It’s no mistake that the more exotic sports car brands have moved into the SUV arena. Does electric power negate that? A little, and we have to admit that we rather like the look of the e-tron Sportback. That drooping roofline does well to disguise the Sportback’s size (at 4.9m long and 1.9m wide), but this is still a big car – and a heavy one too. More on which in a moment.


Audi e-tron Sportback review charging - EVs Unplugged

With a 95kW battery and the equivalent of 402bhp under the driver’s right foot, this is not a slow car – as the 0 to 60mph time of 5.7 seconds and 124mph top speed will attest. Audi claims a fully charged range of 241 miles with a time of 14 hours on a domestic 7kW charger to completely replenish that. At a 150kW charger – if you can find one – the Sportback will charge to 80 per cent in 30 minutes.

Rather unusually, the e-tron Sportback has two charging ports, one on each front wing, both with electric flaps to open them. On the passenger nearside, there is a Type 2 charging port, while on the driver’s off-side there is a Type 2 and CCS charging port. There’s no doubt that owners will get used to this, but for those charging points with a side on parking space, they will need to remember to park the right way round.


Audi e-tron Sportback review rear - EVs Unplugged

Clearly the Audi e-tron Sportback isn’t slow against the stopwatch in a straight line, but this is not a small or light car. Even without passengers, it tips the scales the wrong side of two and a half tonnes and it hides that well with a pretty good ride quality – especially so on the standard, sizeable 21-inch alloy wheels (the Vorsprung special edition wears even larger 22in wheels).

By and large, the Sportback handles well too, although you’re never anything but fully aware of that substantial weight. Long bends are fine, the main issue is when you’ve got quick changes of direction or a rise in the road is immediately followed by a sharp corner. It’s here where you can feel the mass of the big Audi shift beneath you and, while it’s all under control, you’re very aware that pushing any harder could have consequences.

Added to that is the steering feel which, while accurate enough, can feel slightly clinical and falsely weighted at times. You can adapt your driving style accordingly of course, but this isn’t a car that enthusiasts are going to connect with on an especially emotional level. That weight also affects the economy which Audi claims is between 2.4 and 2.8 miles per kWh.

The Sportback’s regenerative braking can be set via the paddles behind the steering wheel and also via the satellite navigation system, although frustratingly there’s no display on the dashboard of which regenerative braking level you’re in.


Audi e-tron Sportback review interior - EVs Unplugged

Audi has been producing some of the best quality interiors in the premium sector for some years now and this e-tron Sportback is no different. The build quality is little short of excellent and the materials give it a very upmarket feel – but then so they should do wearing a price tag of more than £68,000. Head and legroom in the front and rear seats are both good and the rear three-quarter windows help with rear visibility.

The haptic touch-screen controls work well but do require you to take your eyes off the road when on the move which isn’t ideal. We’re also not entirely convinced about the side cameras replacing the door mirrors either. They can be hazy when the lens is in direct sunlight and inside, the screens on the doors are set slightly lower than where you’d naturally glance over to view a traditional mirror. Again, it’s something that no doubt owners would grow acclimatised to, but it’s still frustrating nonetheless.

The boot is long but shallower than you’d expect with 615 litres of space with the rear seats up (1665 litres with them lowered) which is 45 litres less than the standard e-tron, although there is a large underfloor cubby.


Audi e-tron Sportback review driving - EVs Unplugged

There’s lots to like about the Audi e-tron Sportback. It’s refined to drive, spacious, looks good and is a good addition to the premium fully electric models on offer in showrooms. It may not handle quite as sharply as Jaguar’s I-Pace and yes there’s a premium for the Sportback compared to the standard e-tron, but if the marginally reduced practicality doesn’t present a problem, then it’s a worthy addition to the range.


Model: Audi e-tron Sportback

Price: from £68,385

Power: Battery – 95kWh

Range: 241 miles

Average consumption: 2.4-2.8mls/kWh

CO2 emissions: 0g/km

Rating: 8/10