With the official unveiling already taking place on April 18th at the Auto Shanghai 2017, Audi’s all-new e-tron Sportback concept is throwing the German automaker into the high-performance electric luxury arena with the likes of Tesla’s Model X.
From Audi e-tron SUV to Sportback
With the Sportback’s predecessor (the e-tron Quattro SUV) already in production and scheduled for release early next year (2018), Audi is certainly on its way to penetrate the already impressive field of electric luxury vehicles.
Equipped with a “Boost Mode” that yields a power capacity of 370 kW and an impressive 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds off-the-line performance, the e-tron Sportback will be a highly anticipated model when it hits the roads in 2019. To better illustrate Audi’s electric vehicle plan of attack over the next few years, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG, explained:
“Our Audi e-tron will be starting out in 2018 – the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use. With a range of over 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) and the special electric driving experience, we will make this sporty SUV the must-have product of the next decade. Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback – an emotional coupé version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance.”
For disclaimer purposes: Because Audi’s parent company Volkswagen is located in Germany, they use the NEDC rating for electric vehicle range. According to Electrek, “the e-tron Sportback’s real-world range would be approximately 275 miles.”
Almost in anticipation of autonomous driving hardware, Audi left plenty of interior room for its occupants. Keeping up with Tesla’s oversized touchscreens and intuitive dashboard technology, the e-tron Sportback is being engineered for connectivity.
“In its consciously light-colored interior, the Audi e-tron Sportback concept offers a blend of functional clarity and reductive controls as a formal principle. Expansive touch-sensitive screens below the central display, on the center console and in the door trims supply information and interact with the onboard systems. Horizontal surfaces on the dashboard and the seemingly floating center console convey a sense of open perspectives for the occupants of the four individual seats.
Armed with a full suite of LED lights strategically positioned around the car, the Sportback will be one of the safest, most illuminated vehicles hitting the road in 2019.
“The concept car’s lighting technology is an innovation that is visible by both day and night. Digitally controlled Matrix LED units at the front and rear produce an excellent light yield. Minuscule Digital Matrix projectors literally make their mark on the road ahead, turning light into a versatile, dynamic channel of communication with the surroundings.”
It’s tough to imagine Audi’s new e-tron Sportback without the full arsenal of electric vehicle safety features, such as collision avoidance, automatic emergency braking, side impacts, etc. For now, we’ll have to wait for the much-anticipated release of the Quattro e-tron SUV early next year. I have a feeling that Audi may have a few surprises up their sleeve prior to their electric vehicle launch date.