Audi e-tron Sportback: the gilded chariot of electric SUVs

The 2020 edition of Audi’s e-tron Sportback is more powerful than its predecessor, says Nicole Garcia Merida

The Audi e-tron Sportback has no shortage of technology, luxury and engineering, says Mike Sutton on Car and Driver. And yet its “arguably standout quality” is how little noise it actually makes; “if silence is golden, then the e-tron is the gilded chariot of electric SUVs”. Audi “deserves kudos for refining the e-tron’s aerodynamics”. 

But the big news for the 2020 e-tron SUV is that Audi now uses a higher-powered battery, bumping up the car’s range by 30 miles from 190 in the 2019 version to 220. It’s a “useful improvement” for the large and accommodating SUV. It can recharge to 80% in about 30 minutes, and its demeanour “makes it easy to nurse its energy capacity”. 

As well as a better battery, the Sportback has the “latest in automotive gadgets”, says Andrew English in The Daily Telegraph. The Sportback costs from £68,385 and for an extra £1,250, buyers have the option of swapping conventional mirrors for rear-view cameras on the doors, “a bargain compared with the £1,050 for the super sports diamond-stitched seats… the £750 paintwork or the £1,475 panoramic sunroof”. The cameras project a rear image onto a screen mounted on each door lining; they take some getting used to because they aren’t as intuitive as a mirror, but it is a cool bit of tech. The car can also be fitted with £3,175 LED matrix headlights that can tilt their one million micro mirrors to track the road, mask other vehicles and highlight road signs and road markings. 

This tech was available previously, but this is the next generation, says Jeremy White on Wired. “Far from just blocking out light to oncoming cars, the Sportback can automatically throw down a 50-metre carpet of light on the motorway, complete with arrows, overplayed on top of your usual dipped beam, exactly the width of your lane to help you stay in that lane.” It can even play animations and, theoretically, monochrome films through the headlights for you to make your own drive-in, “should you have the wherewithal to hack the tech”. 

If you liked the idea of last year’s e-tron but you’re not the biggest fan of SUVs, the Sportback might be just the ticket. It goes from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and achieves a top speed of 124mph. Thanks to Audi’s refinements and the four-wheel drive, the steering wheel is easy to handle and the acceleration is responsive and eager, “but not frantic”. 

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