In-depth reviews

Audi e-tron Sportback review

Is the less practical but more stylish Sportback coupe variant of Audi's e-tron electric SUV worth the higher asking price?

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Classy interior
  • Excellent refinement
  • S model's sharp handling

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Jaguar I-Pace better to drive
  • Not as practical as standard SUV
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
e-tron 50 Sportback185 miles10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)29mins (10-80%, 140kW)
e-tron 55 Sportback241 miles13hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)38mins (10-80%, 140kW)
e-tron S Sportback216 miles13hrs 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.

The standard version has since been joined by a sleeker, sportier variant called the e-tron Sportback. It’s a rakish, coupe-styled take on the standard SUV, sitting on the same mechanical platform, driven by the same electric motor and boasting 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, the Sportback will be the more visually attractive option, but at 4.9 metres nose-to-tail, it’s just as long as the standard e-tron, if ever so slightly narrower. From the front, it 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 taller back end.

Inside, the Sportback offers the same high-tech, classy cabin as the conventional e-tron. Originally, range started with well equipped S line trim, which gives buyers a raft of standard kit, including Matrix LED headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels and adaptive sport air suspension. Now, though, it's also available in Technik, Sport and Black Edition forms, while the range-topping e-tron S gets a Vorsprung variant.

Even the entry-level model comes as standard with 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, LED headlights and leather seats.

There’s very little compromise to be made when it comes to practicality. 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, it 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 truly enjoyable to drive in that environment. Still, it rides wonderfully and it’s incredibly refined at high speeds.

Overall, the e-tron Sportback’s relatively modest price increase over the standard e-tron 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 many of its main rivals. For a more detailed look at the Audi e-tron Sportback, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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