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
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|e-tron 50 Sportback||185 miles||10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||29mins (10-80%, 140kW)|
|e-tron 55 Sportback||241 miles||13hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||38mins (10-80%, 140kW)|
|e-tron S Sportback||216 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 high-tech, classy cabin as the conventional e-tron SUV. Originally, the e-tron Sportback range started with the well-equipped S line trim, which gives Sportback buyers a raft of standard kit including Matrix LED headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels and adaptive sport air suspension.
But, from 2022, the e-tron Sportback will also be available in Technik, Sport and Black Edition Trim, and the range-topping e-tron S Sportback will be available in Vorsprung trim too. However, 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, 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 (although it does cost more than than the equivalent e-tron SUV) 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. For a more detailed look at the Audi e-tron Sportback, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...
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 Sportback doesn’t have the longest range in its class, but its ability to rapid charge at 150kW makes it an easy car to live with day-to-day
- 3Running costs & insuranceCharging at home is cheapest, but many e-tron Sportback buyers will want to make use of the car's 150kW charging, which will cost you
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Audi e-tron Sportback feels like a heavy and cumbersome car to drive; relaxing, but not that much fun
- 5Interior, dashboard & 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
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe e-tron Sportback is a big car, which means the compromises you’ll have to make for that cool sloping roofline are minimal
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Audi e-tron has been around for a couple of years now, so the the technology underpinning this Sportback variant should be reliable