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2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback: First Look

  • More efficient than the E-Tron SUV
  • Predicted range of more than 204 miles
  • Sexy coupe profile

Yes, the recently unveiled 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback is an SUV. It doesn’t look much like one, especially with its plunging roofline — but in the E-Tron Sportback, Audi has added more style, eye appeal and efficiency to what is, in many ways, a mechanical knockoff of the E-Tron SUV.

We would be wowed if the E-Tron Sportback was just a coupe-shaped interpretation of its sibling E-Tron SUV, but Audi did more than just dress up the SUV. Sure, we like the different exterior colors available on the Sportback and the digital matrix LED headlights, but Audi also tinkered with the E-Tron SUV’s electric powertrain for better battery management and range.

Making It Better

Audi started from a good place as it toiled to better the E-Tron SUV’s electric performance and 204-mile estimated range. Borrowing the SUV’s core elements, Audi equipped the E-Tron Sportback with the same two electric motors. Motivating the front axle is a 184-horsepower electric motor, while a 224-hp electric motor oversees the rear axle. Torque is 228 lb-ft in front and 262 lb-ft in the rear. A liquid-cooled 95.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack handles storage duties.

Benefiting from the E-Tron Sportback’s sleeker form, the coefficient of drag improves from the E-Tron SUV’s 0.27 to the E-Tron Sportback’s 0.25. This in itself will squeeze a bit of extra range from each charge.

Additionally, under most driving conditions, the E-Tron Sportback’s front motor decouples, defaulting to rear-wheel drive. This saves more energy and adds range. Audi previously restricted access to power stored in the E-Tron SUV’s battery to about 88 percent of its total charge. In the E-Tron Sportback, Audi loosened this restriction to 91 percent, increasing maximum range per charge.

Finally, Audi tweaked the braking system, reducing resistance during brief applications of the brakes and allowing the wheels to roll more freely. This also contributes to a small improvement in range.

All of these factors colluded to stretch the range to an estimated 277 miles on the European cycle. We don’t believe the U.S. version will be anything close to that, but it should be significantly improved over the E-Tron SUV’s 204 miles. We think maybe 225 miles.

The Rest of the Story

Audi will offer two versions of the E-Tron Sportback, with the more-powerful Quattro 55 earmarked for the U.S.

Audi claims that this version can gallop from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds. Additionally, in Sport Mode, you can goose the combined 413 lb-ft of torque to 489 lb-ft for 8-second bursts. Expect the top speed to be about the same as the E-Tron SUV’s 124 mph.

When and How Much?

Europe will get the 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback in the spring of 2020. The U.S. should see it before the end of the year. We are expecting prices to begin in the $75,000-to-$80,000 range. Find an Audi E-Tron for sale

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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