Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Our favoured E-tron Sportback, the 55 quattro, is priced above the BMW iX3, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC, but undercuts the Tesla Model X Long Range (5-seat) by a few thousand pounds. The Sportback is expected to hold its value better than the iX3 and I-Pace and should prove comparable to the EQC, but the Model X has the strongest resale values of all.
The upside to all these electric SUVs, however, is that they will cost you peanuts to run compared with a petrol or diesel alternative. As well as not having to visit the fuel pumps, you'll also benefit from free entry to London's Congestion Charge zone. And if you choose one as your company car, you'll enjoy extremely low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bills, at least for the next few years.
Up to 11kW AC charging enables a full charge from empty in less than 9hrs, while DC charging rates of up to 150kW allow you to charge the Sportback from 10% to 80% in around 30min. However finding such a charger is currently a bit of a novelty in the UK. It’s also worth remembering that, unlike the Sportback, the Model X gets access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, whose chargers are easy to use, quick and widespread.
Because the Sportback range opens with S line trim (higher on the ladder than the standard E-tron’s Technik and Sport base trims) it comes very well equipped. Standard equipment includes 21in alloy wheels, an S line bodykit, heated front seats, faux-leather upholstery, two-zone climate control and charging points on both sides of the car so you never have to drag cables over the top of it.
Like conventionally powered Audis, the Sportback comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, with its battery covered separately for eight years or 100,000 miles – whichever comes first.
Euro NCAP hasn’t safety tested the Sportback separately from the regular E-tron SUV, but the latter pipped the I-Pace and Model X’s scores when it came to child occupant protection. It didn't score quite as well for adult occupant protection, though. Overall, it's no surprise that it received a full five-star NCAP rating.
All versions of the E-tron come with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance, and there are heaps more active safety aids on the options list, all of which are standard if you go for range-topping Vorsprung trim.
It’s difficult to know how reliable the Sportback will prove, given that it’s too new to have featured in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. Using bespoke mechanical components, there’s no direct comparison to be gleaned from the wider Audi range, either, although Audi as a brand finished 22nd out of 31 – ahead of Mercedes and Tesla, but behind BMW and Jaguar.
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