Audi e-tron Sportback review
The Audi e-tron electric SUV now has a coupe-style 'Sportback' variant – but is it worth paying more for?
- Classy interior
- Excellent refinement
- S model's sharp handling
- Expensive to buy
- Jaguar I-Pace better to drive
- Not as practical as standard SUV
|Battery size||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|e-tron 50||185 miles||10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||29mins (10-80%, 140kW)|
|e-tron 55||241 miles||13hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||38mins (10-80%, 140kW)|
The Audi e-tron has been around for a couple of years now. It was one of the first big, premium electric SUVs – along with models like the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X and Mercedes EQC – majoring on comfort, quality and the ability to charge in double-quick time.
But now, Audi has launched a sleeker, sportier model called the e-tron Sportback. It’s a rakish, coupe-styled version of the standard SUV, with the same mechanical platform, the same electric motor, and the same tech-filled interior. But are the compromises when it comes to space and practicality worth the extra style and higher price?
To many, it’ll be the visually more attractive option, but at 4.9 metres nose-to-tail, it’s just as long, if ever so slightly narrower. From the front, the Sportback looks identical to its standard SUV sibling. But at the rear it’s a different story; the roofline dips away sooner, while the revised beltline gives it a small lip spoiler and a taller back end.
Inside, the Sportback offers the same hi-tech, classy cabin as the conventional e-tron SUV. But unlike that car, there’s no entry-level Technik or Sport trims to choose from. Starting with the well-equipped S line means Sportback buyers get a raft of standard kit. The long list includes a pair of central touchscreens – one for the infotainment system and another for the climate control – as well as a set of fully-digital Virtual Cockpit dials and Valcona leather seats. There’s a set of 21-inch wheels, standard 150kW rapid charging capability and Matrix LED headlights.
There’s very little compromise to be made when it comes to practicality, either. The e-tron is a big car, with a huge boot and enough room inside for taller adults to get comfortable – despite that sloping roofline. There’s a neat storage area for the charging cables under the bonnet.
But those generous dimensions mean the e-tron feels big on the road. In fact, appears cumbersome on all but the widest motorways, making it a challenge to drive in town. This is a car with a powertrain perfectly suited to urban driving, but its size prevents it from ever being a truly enjoyable car to drive. Still, it rides wonderfully and it’s incredibly refined at high speeds.
Overall, the e-tron Sportback’s relatively modest price premium (around £1,600 more than the normal SUV if you ignore the fact it’s not available in those cheaper trims) makes it a worthy addition to the range. It’s a stylish, beautifully built and capable family car, with a decent range and the ability to charge faster than any of its main rivals. The fact it feels quite so cumbersome is a big black mark; the Jaguar I-Pace remains our favourite premium electric SUV.
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Audi e-tron electric SUV now has a coupe-style 'Sportback' variant – but is it worth paying more for?
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Audi e-tron doesn’t have the longest pure-electric range in its class, but its ability to rapid charge at 150kW makes it an easy car to live with
- 3Running costsCharging at home is cheapest, but many e-tron buyers will want to make use of the car’s 150kW charging, which will cost you
- 4Electric motor, drive & performanceThe Audi e-tron Sportback feels like a heavy and cumbersome car to drive; relaxing, but not that much fun
- 5Interior & comfortIt’s hard to find fault with the e-tron Sportback’s cabin – it feels beautifully built and there’s loads of tech on offer
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe Sportback is a big car, which means the compromises you’ll have to make for that cool sloping roofline are minimal
- 7Reliability & safetyThe e-tron has been around for a couple of years, so the parts fitted to this Sportback model should be reliable