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2020 Audi e-Tron Sportback: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
Electric vehicles comprise a small percentage of total vehicles sales in America, but that portion continues to grow every year. One of the first premium EV SUV offerings was the Audi e-tron, which is now available as a sleeker Sportback. Although the number of competitors has increased in the last few years, the 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback still stands out with decent performance, stylish lines, an attractive, high-tech cockpit and great everyday drivability.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
Audi provided us with a 2020 e-tron Sportback Premium Plus painted in Manhattan Gray metallic. Well equipped with standard features, this e-tron’s only options were an interior protection kit and rear side thorax airbags for a total MSRP of $80,075. Competitors to the 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback include the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-PACE, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStyling
The e-tron Sportback wears the familiar Audi Singleframe grille; however, the vertical bars and lack of openings for airflow distinguishes the e-tron from non-electric models in the Audi lineup. Four horizontal LED bars below the headlights add further distinction to the e-tron.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSportback Silhouette
With a roofline that slopes steeply to the rear lip spoiler, the 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback features lines similar to the A7. Standard-equipment, 20-inch Turbine design wheels add to the overall sporty look of the e-tron.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePower
The 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback gets motivation from two potent electric motors — one powering each axle — creating a new generation of quattro electric all-wheel drive. Total output is 355 horsepower and 414 lb-ft of torque; however, when the driver selects Boost Mode power increases to 414 horses and 490 lb-ft of torque — enough power to accelerate to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds (in Boost Mode) or tow up to 4,000 pounds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBattery
Power comes from a 95 kWh battery pack built into a protective honeycomb structure that sits low in the e-tron for better weight distribution and a low center of gravity — both of which improve overall handling. This unique Audi-developed battery is designed to use 91 percent of its total capacity with optimized longevity.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRange and Charging
According to the U.S. EPA, the 2020 Audi e-tron has a range of 218 miles, and with a 150 kW high-speed charger it can add about 60 miles in 10 minutes. Of course range varies depending on driving style and other factors. During our test drive the e-tron displayed 190 miles of range after a full charge. With a Level 2 home charger, the e-tron takes about 9 hours for a full charge, so it’ possible to wake up every morning to a fully charged vehicle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
With multiple digital displays and practically no physical buttons, the 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback’s interior feels comfortably high tech. The main display screen integrates well with the dashboard and features large, easy-to-use icons that provide haptic response; selections feel like presses of a button. Climate control functions and other menu items can be found on the secondary display below the dashboard. With practically everything controlled via voice or electronic display, the e-tron feels incredibly high tech, although we were pleased to see a volume knob for the audio system in the center console.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVirtual Cockpit
The Audi Virtual Cockpit employs a third display screen as a completely configurable driver display.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnique Shifter
Call it cases over re-engineering — it seems as if every car company must reinvent the wheel — in this case the gear selector. The 2020 Audi e-tron features a unique selector that slides forward or back with a push-button for Park, and thankfully it is very intuitive. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with occasionally reinventing the wheel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
The rear seat of the 2020 Audi e-tron is comfortable — the aft space has decent legroom, and even though the roof slopes steeply downward at the rear it doesn’t impinge on much headroom.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdded Convenience
Multiple USB ports are available for rear-seat passengers, and a digital display provides complete control over the dual-zone rear climate systems.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
A spacious rear cargo area provides additional utility to the e-tron’s everyday usability. Owners can easily fit multiple pieces of luggage or other cargo, and rear seats easily fold flat for larger items. A hard cover keeps nosy passersby from seeing the contents stored in back.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFrunk
As with other EVs, Audi’s e-tron features a small storage space up front under the hood. Although the space is not large, it does provide a convenient space for storing the charge cord or other small items.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
Most electric vehicles feel quick off the line thanks to the torquey nature of electric motors. That said, we are a bit disappointed that the 2020 Audi e-Tron Sportback doesn’t provide that same thrill of acceleration. The e-tron is more subtle with its power; it may not accelerate quickly, although once it gets moving the smooth, quiet ride hides the fact that speed does not build quickly.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDrive Modes
As with other Audis we’ve driven, the e-tron lets pilots select a drive mode for their current needs. Our favorite mode has to be Dynamic — not only does this mode boost output to maximum horsepower and torque, it also lowers the suspension for improved driving dynamics. And while the e-tron may not be as quick off the line as anticipated, its excellent grip and precise steering makes the vehicle enjoyable on winding back roads.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
As more electric vehicles come to market, the novelty of an EV becomes less of a selling point. Thankfully with the 2020 Audi e-tron the EV powertrain is not the whole story. In addition to its smooth, efficient and powerful operation, the e-tron offers a stylish exterior design and an interior that feels comfortable as well as high tech. With its useable range, excellent drivabilty and quick charging, the 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback makes a great argument for using this premium EV as an everyday driver.

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Published on: April 1, 2021

Filled Under: Audi, Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews

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