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Audi e-tron Sportback 2020: specs, prices and on-sale date

New Audi e-tron Sportback electric coupe SUV is on sale now, priced from £79,900

Audi e-tron Sportback

Prices and specs for the Audi e-tron Sportback electric coupe-SUV have been revealed, ahead of first deliveries later in 2020. This sleeker version of the Audi e-tron costs from £79,900 – meaning a premium of around £4,000 over the conventional model.

The e-tron Sportback was revealed at the 2019 Los Angeles Motor Show and is on sale now. In addition to the already-announced 50 and 55 versions of the car's electric drivetrain, a high-performance S model will also be offered.

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That starting price is for the e-tron 55 quattro Sportback in S line spec – no figures have been revealed for the 50 quattro model or the flagship 'S' variant yet. Every S line model gets Matrix LED lights, 21-inch wheels and air suspension, while Launch Edition cars (from £85,900) boast unique wheels, black detailing and those virtual door mirrors.

New features for the e-tron Sportback – which are being added to the standard e-tron as well – include a battery with slightly more usable capacity and a front motor that can disconnect from the powertrain to save energy when required. Audi has also removed a cooling pump from the system, helping to save weight, while the regenerative braking has been improved to allow single-pedal driving.

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Like the e-tron SUV, the Sportback is built on the Volkswagen Group's MLB architecture, rather than the electric-car-specific MEB and PPE platforms that underpin the Volkswagen ID.3 and Porsche Taycan respectively.

Styling

The Audi e-tron Sportback’s design is identical to the e-tron SUV until you get to the B-pillar, where the new car takes on its style-led roofline for a coupe-esque look. This results in a smaller boot than the normal e-tron, with capacity falling from 650 to 615 litres with the rear seats in their upright position. Fold the seats flat and the Sportback's 1,655-litre load bay is 70 litres shy of the standard car.

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Smart LED matrix projector headlights that are capable of broadcasting signals on to the road surface do feature, however. Audi claims they contain a million ‘micromirrors’ that help to provide “unprecedented” precision. Initially, Audi will offer a choice of S line and Launch Edition specs for the e-tron Sportback.

Interior

The Audi e-tron Sportback’s interior is virtually identical to that of the standard e-tron: the company’s Virtual Cockpit operates on the digital display behind the steering wheel, with an infotainment screen in the middle of the dashboard.

Under this, a second screen operates the climate control, heated seats and other interior functions At the extreme ends of the dashboard, a pair of small screens display the video feed from the car’s side cameras, which replace conventional mirrors.

Range and charging

As with the standard e-tron SUV on which the Sportback is based, the 308bhp Sportback 50 quattro features a 71kWh battery giving 216 miles of range, while the 55 quattro gets a 95kWh battery returning up to 278 miles on a charge – around seven miles more than the standard SUV. That's thanks to its more aerodynamic profile; the car’s sweeping shape gives it a drag coefficient of 0.25. Exact range figures for the S model have yet to be confirmed.

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The e-tron Sportback’s charging performance will be identical to the e-tron SUV. That means rapid-charging capability from a CCS socket of up to 150kW, with an 80% top-up taking around 30 minutes. A full charge from a 7kW home wallbox should take 14 hours.

Audi e-tron Sportback S

The e-tron Sportback S expands the range of available drivetrains to three. The S model (which is also available in the standard Audi e-tron bodystyle) uses three electric motors to deliver a total power output of 496bhp and torque of 973Nm.

It also incorporates an advanced torque-vectoring system, which can automatically vary the amount of power being sent to each wheel in order to maximise grip and improve the car's handling. Both the e-tron S and e-tron Sportback S will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and keep going to a maximum speed of 131mph.

Although the e-tron S models still feature quattro four-wheel drive, Audi says the system is more rear-biased in these cars, to give a more agile and sporty character to their driving experience. On their front axle, the e-tron S models use the 201bhp electric motor that sits on the rear axle of the e-tron 55s. Their rear axle then features a pair of motors that together deliver 354bhp.

The S models have the same total battery capacity as the 55 – 95kWh – and in normal driving only the two motors on the rear axle are used, with the front-axle motor activating if additional power is needed for greater acceleration or to boost grip. These models will also come with more responsive sports steering as standard.

The e-tron Sportback S gets wheel choices up to 22 inches available as an option. Wider wheelarches, orange-painted brake callipers and 'S' badging also serve to set it apart from the 50 and 55 versions. The same 150kW rapid-charging capability as the other e-tron models is offered here.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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