Audi just pulled the package of E-Tron Sportback, the company's second electric car, at the LA Auto Show in 2019. Coming to Europe in the first half of 2020, the top-level version of the new premium EV will offer up to 446 kilometers of range (277 miles) and powered by dual electric motors with a total output of 265kW, or around 350 horsepower. A slightly less powerful version of the Sportback with a smaller battery will start at € 71,350 (around $ 79,000).
If any of these numbers sound familiar, it is because the E-Tron Sportback will be built with the same electric powertrain and battery as the E-Tron SUV Audi revealed last year. The company simply uses the platform it developed for the original E-Tron to operate a sedan variant. Both E-Trons represent the first flagship vehicles for Audi's upcoming selection of EVs, which are part of an even bigger push into space by parent company Volkswagen.
Audi says the higher version of the new electric car will arrive in the US by mid-2020. When that happens, E-Tron Sportback is likely to wind up with a far more conservative order, given how E-Tron SUV got an estimate at 204 miles from the EPA. That being said, Audi claims that the sedan styling has resulted in a lower drag coefficient, and says it's possible the vehicle will squeeze a few more miles from 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 cluster behind the steering wheel, a 12.1-inch main touch screen in the dashboard and another 8.6-inch touchscreen below for entry and climate control. (Audi's infotainment system also allows voice controls, and Amazon Alexa is also built in.)
Audi originally teased E-Tron Sportback in concept form as early as 2017, but not much has changed since then. The biggest difference is that Audi chose a more standard grille on the final production version of the E-Tron Sportback rather than the conceptual gaping fog. Some of the styling on the bodywork is also toned down, although the overall shape of the car looks 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 United States, but regulators are considering changing that rule.) It will also feature Audi's new LED array headlights, which the company says can dynamically illuminate the road with ultra-precision.
The E-Tron SUV has been relatively well received in the few short months it has been available, so it is not difficult to imagine the Sportback version meeting a similar fate. That said, the first roll-out of the E-Tron SUV did not go according to plan. The release of Audi's first EV was delayed for several months due to battery supply problems – a disruption that also reportedly pushed back production of Sportback. When the E-Tron SUV hit the market, Audi had to remember hundreds of vehicles due to fire hazards. The company says it has since solved both problems.