Audi’s first electric car was the E-Tron SUV, but it would prove to be the beginning of an onslaught of battery powered models. The original model was quickly followed up by the more distinctive Sportback version, which added more style at a price premium. A re-engineered version of the original, with the new name applied to bring it in line with the rest of the electric Audi range, and also reinforce its position as firm’s range-topping EV. There’s ample space for four adults, with ample leg and knee room. For fifth passengers who end up in the rear middle seat, the situation isn’t too bad thanks to the near-lack of a transmission tunnel, and the wide rear bench.
SPACE STORAGE AND SAFETY
You also get a strong 615-litre boot (or 1,665 litres with the seats down) plus another 60 litres in the front where the engine should be. This doesn’t sound much but it’s enough for all the cables, which means they don’t take up unnecessary space in the back, and is a really nice touch..
The cabin is packed with plenty of storage, with a huge area in between the front seats that you can configure, while big door bins front and back also helps to keep random items in check.
There’s no Euro NCAP rating specifically for the E-tron Sportback but the SUV version was awarded the full five stars in 2019, and there’s not that much difference between the two. This was available with excellent adaptive headlights – these offer a more precise beam pattern than the existing Matrix LED system, with a few additional eye-catching features.
On that point – this car also features optional cameras to replace the standard glass units. They’re quite neat from a tech point of view.
There is also lots of driver assistance equipment kit, with these items as standard on all models:
Although both 50 and 55 models feature Quattro all-wheel drive, for the most part the E-Tron Sportback runs with just the rear wheels driven to maximise efficiency. The heaviest components are positioned low and centrally between the axles, which means the E-Tron Sportback feel very planted on the road and balanced when cornering quickly.
It also has a sportier set-uo for its air suspension, it does a great job of negating bodyroll too, without adversely affecting the way the car rides. You can fine tune this balance with Audi’s drive select system, a choice of seven modes from Comfort to Sport and Offroad, to set the car up just the way you want.There’s also a more dynamic setting for the traction control called ESC Sport (plus you can turn it off altogether) if you want to add a bit more involvement into what is otherwise a very tied down driving experience. It’s still no match for the livelier Jaguar I-Pace in this department though so we think you’re better off leaving everything on and enjoying the E-tron’s natural state of being stuck so hard to the tarmac it feels like the tyres will pull the top inch off the tarmac before they let go.
Like other coupefied SUVs in the Audi stable the E-Tron Sportback features something of a firmer suspension set up. It’s not uncomfortable – far from it – you only really feel that stiffness when riding over tarmac defects or rough roads, otherwise it’s a smooth and serene experience. It’s an excellent motorway cruiser, being supremely quiet and unruffled, which makes it brilliant for long-distances.
At its heart the E-Tron Sportback is a fast but still relaxed and refined electric car...