The Audi e-tron Sportback is probably the most attractive and performance-oriented all-electric vehicle on the market. Sorry Tesla, but I’m rolling with the advanced technology, talent, robustness, and safety security of the Germans on this one. Introduced as the second EV in the e-tron family, the Sportback is slated to help Audi meet its 30% EV fleet commitment by 2025. And coming down the pipeline, we can expect the e-tron GT high-performance sport sedan and Audi Q4 e-tron compact SUV to broaden the lineup.
For my drive time, Audi delivered the unique Edition One e-tron Sportback in an exclusive Plasma Blue Metallic hue and fashionable Monaco Blue leather interior with white double-stitched decor. With only 200 models in production, the special edition receives Alu-optic exterior design elements, a two-tone stitched dash, and a black headliner. Edition One also features distinctive S-line front and rear bumpers and massive Dynamic Orange brake calipers to reduce the momentum of the dazzling 10-spoke 21″ black bi-color rims and Continental CrossContact rubber. The vehicle is stunning when stagnant and electrifying as it whistles through the scene.
Behind the wheel, the e-tron Sportback moves subconsciously brisker than its performance parameters suggest, including a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.5 seconds in Boost mode from the 355 e-horses (402 with Boost Mode) and 490 lb-ft of torque. Its top speed is rated at 124 mph. Available on the Premium Plus trims are driver and passenger side charge ports that slide open from the touch of the e-tron logo. I love this feature since it offers more maneuvering flexibility when charging. Plus, the front placement allows the driver to pull the vehicle directly in instead of reversing. However, at Mom’s Organic Market, where I spent 30 minutes shopping for fruits, veggies, and legumes, the vehicle reenergized minimally from the onsite station. Maybe it was only a level one. I was a bit dismayed since my home is not equipped with a 240-volt Level 2 charging system to restore the 218-mile EPA-Estimated Range (about 10.5 hours) to the 95 kWh battery. Yet, a Level 3 150 kW DC fast charger only requires 30 minutes for 80% completion. Expect an EPA-Estimated 76 city/78 highway/77 combined MPGe from your Sportback. But as the battery wears over time, these numbers will decrease.
I love the lack of gears and instant torque from electric vehicles. The e-tron Sportback experience, with its bigger wheels pushed to the corners, feels like roller coaster cars on rails. Yet, when all available power is not required, the front electric motor can be uncoupled to reserve mileage. It will join the second Asynchronous electric motor only when full energy or traction from the electric quattro AWD is necessary. Resulting from that wired power is the high-tech, bionic e-tron electric sound, which is pretty cool. The laser-resembling light strips at night and Edition One logo insignia that reflect on the ground when the front and rear doors are opened are also striking. A Standard Air Suspension lowers the Audi once engaged in park.
The interior is not only sassy, but its futuristic feel and features radiate. Its leather-wrapped metal gear shift housing is more akin to a grab handle. The selector can then be clicked down or up to set the vehicle in Drive, Neutral, Reverse, or Sport mode. Paddle shifters on the sporty steering wheel adjust the level of regeneration. But on a hill, after you release the brake pedal, make sure to accelerate immediately, or the Sportback will roll backward. Bang & Olufsen’s 3D premium sound system provides a deep base and stellar acoustics, and the heated and ventilated 12-way power contour front seats with massaging functionality are comfortable. Nice subtle touches include the light grey suede on the doors, a darker grey wood panel that blends into the dash, and a voluminous middle console with storage for your essentials such as a smartphone that slides into the upright charging pad.
More tech comes in the form of Audi’s dual-touch MMI (Multi-Media Interface). The bottom screen is utilized for climate control, and the larger, upper screen manages the operation for audio, navigation, vehicle settings, apps, and more. Then you have a Head-up display with navigation information, Audi adaptive cruise assist, Matrix-design LED headlights with animation, and a Virtual 360-degree top view camera system that was handy when pulling up close to walls in parking garages. I was also impressed with the storage in the rear once I opened the liftgate. So we went for a Lowe’s run for nourishing fall lawn supplies. I figured since the e-tron Sportback can tow (with Tow Package) 4,000 lbs, it should have no problem escorting 15 bags of mulch, soil, and weed and feed. Moreover, under the floorboard is space for additional supplies.
The 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback has an MSRP of $77,400 for a Premium Plus, $83,400 for the Prestige, and $88,495 for my Edition One. Possibly you can also receive a 7,500 federal tax credit. If your heart and soul are geared towards reducing the household’s carbon footprint, and style and performance still need to be maintained, then the e-tron Sportback is a perfect choice.