Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
At launch, the Audi E-tron Sportback was available only as a 55 quattro model with a 95kWh battery and a claimed range capability of 241 miles – a little behind its main rivals. A lower-priced 50 quattro version will also be offered, using the same 71kWh battery as the regular E-tron SUV.
In 55 quattro form, the Sportback is priced above both the Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE and Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 AMG Line, but undercuts the Tesla Model X Long Range (5-seat) by a few thousand pounds. The Sportback should hold its value better than the I-Pace and should prove comparable to the EQC, but isn’t expected to show such a strong showing against the Model X.
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 8.9hrs, 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 the Matrix LED headlights and adaptive sport air suspension mentioned earlier, 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.
Launch Edition cars get extras such as a panoramic glass roof, a black styling pack and various additional driver-assistance systems, while range-topping Vorsprung trim comes with just about every option box ticked and enormous 22in alloys. It's too expensive to recommend, though.
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 low-speed 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. However, Audi as a brand finished 22nd out of 31 – ahead of Mercedes and Tesla, but behind Jaguar.
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