Audi has just taken the wraps off the E-Tron Sportback, the company's second electric car, at the LA Auto Show 2019. Coming to Europe in the first half of 2020, the top version of the new premium EV offers a range of up to 446 kilometers (277 miles) and is powered by dual electric motors with a total capacity of 265 kW or around 350 hp. A slightly less powerful version of the Sportback with a smaller battery starts at € 71,350 (around $ 79,000).
If some of those numbers seem familiar, it is because the E-Tron Sportback is built with the same electric drive and battery as the E-Tron SUV Audi unveiled last year. The company now simply uses the platform it has developed for the original E-Tron to power a sedan variant. Both E-Trons represent the first flagship vehicles from Audi's upcoming EV & # 39; s series, which is part of an even greater push in space by parent company Volkswagen.
Audi says the higher spec version of its new electric car will come to the United States in mid-2020. If that's the case, the E-Tron Sportback is likely to end up with a much more conservative range, considering how the E-Tron SUV received an estimate of 204 miles from the EPA. That said, Audi claims that the sedan-style has resulted in a lower air resistance coefficient and says it is possible that the vehicle will squeeze a few miles out of the same 95 kWh battery pack.
The interior of the E-Tron Sportback also mimics that of the E-Tron SUV. There is a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel behind the wheel, a 12.1-inch main touchscreen in the dashboard and another 8.6-inch touchscreen below for text input and climate control. (Audi & # 39; s infotainment system also makes voice control possible and Amazon Alexa is also built in.)
Audi originally teased the E-Tron Sportback in concept form in 2017, but not much has changed since then. The biggest difference is that Audi chose a more standard roster on the final production version of the E-Tron Sportback compared to the gaping mouth of the draft version. Part of the styling of the bodywork is also somewhat watered down, although the overall shape of the car is very similar. The production version will even have virtual mirrors like the concept, at least in Europe. (Virtual mirrors are currently not allowed in the US, but regulators are considering changing this rule.) It will also include the new LED matrix headlights from Audi, which, according to the company, can dynamically illuminate the road with ultra precision.
The E-Tron SUV has been relatively well received in the few short months that it is available, and so it is not hard to imagine that the Sportback version is facing a similar fate. That said, the first rollout of the E-Tron SUV did not go according to plan. The release of Audi & # 39; s first EV was delayed for months due to battery power issues – a failure that allegedly reduced production of the Sportback. As soon as the E-Tron SUV came on the market, Audi had to recall hundreds of vehicles due to the risk of fire due to batteries. The company says it has now solved both problems.