2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback Review: Expected Prices, Release Date, Range, And Performance

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John Bedrow 

Automotive Journalist

July 30, 2020  at 9:01 AM

With the electric vehicle segment going through some exponential growth, almost every carmaker is selling at least one mass-produced EV in the American market. For the German carmaker, Audi, the e-Tron Sportback has been another stepping stone into the world of electric cars. However, this EV neither offers the radical innovation of the Tesla or the looks of the Jaguar, what it offers is a more traditional approach to bring the benefits of an electric car to its customers.

With the extensive depletion of fossil fuels at a massive rate and awareness among the public about newer automotive fuel alternatives, electric cars are the way to go forward. Although Tesla has the strongest hold in this market space, other car manufacturers are working very hard to get their own competitors down in the competition. Hence, Audi had put down its second trump card in the electric market space with the Audi e-Tron Sportback. It is an electrically operated coupe shaped SUV meant to steal a slice of the sales pie from the major EV carmakers like Tesla. 

Being the newest addition to Audi's all-electric line-up, the car claims to provide an advanced all-electric vehicle experience. The e-Tron Sportback is in fact the updated and a sportier version of the Audi e-Tron 55 Quattro, however, due to its Coupe like the shape, it is more aerodynamic. Some of the tough competition that Audi e-Tron Sportback will have to fight is against Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X. The SUV is rumored to be soon updated to the 2021 model year giving it even more power under the tap. So, let’s have a look at what the 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback will be capable of offering to its customers this time.

What's new with the 2021 Audi e-tron

  • Three electric motor setup for the newer model
  • Optional 22-inch wheels with a new design might be offered
  • Digital Matrix LED headlights from the Audi e-tron SUV will be offered

What is the expected price and release date of the 2021 Audi e-tron Sportback?

Audi has currently priced the 2021 e-tron Sportback at a starting price of $77,500 currently, but we do expect it to increase due to the additional motor that will be offered. The manufacturer has also stated that they will offer a limited edition 'Edition One' model. It will flaunt a plasma blue metallic paint along with orange brake calipers and will also feature Monaco Gray leather upholstered seats.

We expect the 2021 model of this all-electric SUV to arrive in early 2021. However, there could be a bit of a delay in its launch due to the ongoing pandemic in the country. 

What to expect under the hood of the 2021 Audi e-tron Sportback?

The Audi e-tron Sportback will be equipped with a set of two asynchronous electric motors positioned on the front and rear axles. The motors power the axels using a single-speed transmission, making an all-wheel-drive setup which Audi calls the Quattro drive. A 95 KWh battery powers the system which makes the motors capable of producing 355 horsepower and 414 lb-ft of torque. However, there is an option of engaging the Boost mode in the car which maximizes the performance of the SUV to 496 horsepower and 717 lb-ft of torque, but this maximum torque is only available in eight-second boost periods.

Out of the 95 kWh battery pack, only 86 kWh or 91 percent power is usable. On a full charge, the Audi e-tron can go up to 223 miles to 226 miles based on the tests done in some European countries. Audi will tune the motor at the rear to engage in normal driving mode while the front electric motor is activated only when the car is put in sports mode. The e-tron Sportback is more focused in terms of power management at the rear for a sportier driving experience. The 2021 model is expected to offer a bump in terms of power and torque due to the extra motor at the front compared to the other e-tron models.

Models

2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback (Expected)

2020 Jaguar I-Pace

2020 Tesla Model X

MSRP

$77900

$70500

$79700

Engine

Dual Asynchronous Electric Motors

2 Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric Motors

Dual AC Induction Motors with Copper rotors

Transmission

Single Speed

Single Speed

Single Speed

Power (Horsepower @ rpm)

496

394

778

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

717

513

841

0 - 60 mph (Seconds)

4.3

4.5

2.6

Quarter Mile (Seconds)

12.5

12.9

N/A

2020 Data used for reference

The Audi e-Tron Sportback is one of the fastest SUV in 0 - 60 mph sprints, however, it was overtaken by the Jaguar I-Pace in the quarter-mile category. The better aerodynamics and more powerful motors of this SUV, help make it faster than the previous versions. However, the Model X is in a league of its own as no other SUV manages to come close to it. But this is not true for the regular Model X which is capable of doing the same in 4.6 seconds.

How well does the 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback handle?

Even after having a curb weight of 5700 pounds, the  Audi e-Tron Sportback offers a comfortable ride and a pretty engaging driving experience. One of the most important parts played by the Quattro all-wheel-drive which distributes the torque between both the axles is to give the car a stable approach and keep it under control in situations like oversteering, understeering, or drifting. The suspension also gets S-specific tuning which varies the ride height by up to three inches depending on the terrain.

The weight distribution of the vehicle is 50:50, which makes the SUV highly stable with neutral steering power. An additional factor contributing to the SUV's stability and amazing handling is that the drive components are positioned low in the car, lowering the overall center of gravity of the SUV. If you put the ESC stabilization control into sport mode and the drive select into the dynamic mode, the car shall automatically make sure that it is easier to drift. Hence, with an exceptional amount of feedback and a sporty ride setup, it will be easy to have fun behind the wheel of the e-Tron Sportback.

How many miles to the gallon (electric) will the 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback deliver?

The current Audi e-Tron Sportback gives 74 MPGe in the city and 73 MPGe on the highway. On the other hand, the maximum mile range anticipated on a full charge is 226 miles. The dual motors in the SUV are powered by a 95 kWh battery with a 150 KW rapid charging ability. When using a high-speed charger, the SUV can get charged to run for 58 miles in 10 minutes and for 178 miles in 30 minutes. A regular wall-charger will take nine hours to completely charge the vehicle's battery. 

Models

2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback

2020 Jaguar I-Pace

2020 Tesla Model X

MPGe (City)

74

76

93

MPGe (Highway)

73

80

99

Range (in miles)

226

298

328

2020 Data used for reference

Audi is significantly new to this section of the market and hence doesn't have the power at the moment to compete with the rivals that have been a part of this market for a long time and have now developed a stronghold on it. Audi needs to work upon its mileage area a lot to compete with the likes of Tesla, making its motors much more efficient than they currently are. Tesla Model X as well as the Jaguar I-pace are ahead of the e-Tron and shall remain so even for the 2021 model year.

What to expect from the 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback's interior?

The Audi e-Tron Sportback will be offer quite a spacious, premium, and comfortable interior. The SUV will offer enough room for five adults to sit comfortably along with their luggage. The cabin's design and layout have been made very practical yet very sophisticated. It feels quite advanced on the inside with its multiple high-resolution displays which give every bit of information possible about the car to the driver. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit looks stunning and the other two screens on the dashboard also offer quite a user-friendly experience. 

However, some might miss the lack of physical buttons for their tactile feedback. Features such as the heads-up display and the massaging front seats offer the comfort and convenience that a customer expects in a car of its class. The seats hold you well in your place and the under-thigh support and the back support for the front passengers is exceptional. At the rear, you get a good amount of legroom as well due to the battery pack being positioned flat under the floor. The fit and finish is top-notch and simply one of the best in its segment. Overall, the cabin of the e-Tron Sportback will be a nice and quite an upmarket place to be in.

Models

2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback

2020 Jaguar I-Pace

2020 Tesla Model X

Seating Capacity

5

5

7

Front Row (Headroom/ Shoulder Room/ Legroom, in inches)

39.8/ 58.6/ 40.8

39.9/ 57.6/ 40.9

41.7/ 60.7/ 41.2

Rear Row (Headroom/ Shoulder Room/ Legroom, in inches)

38.6/ 57.2/ 39.1

38.1/ 54.6/ 35.0

40.9/ 56.8/ 38.4

Cargo Capacity (cu.ft.)

29

25.3

26

2020 Data used for reference

The battery pack is positioned under the floor which facilitates the large cargo space that the SUV offers. There are 29 cubic feet of space available with the seats up and 57 cubic feet with the rear row folded down. That means you can easily fit 8-9 medium-sized bags in the boot of the Audi e-Tron Sportback which is simply the best in its segment.

2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback: Infotainment and Connectivity

The Audi e-Tron Sportback comes equipped with the MMI touch response operating system with a 12.1-inch primary touch screen for the driver to control various features and an 8.6-inch secondary touch screen for climate control. These screens offer hi-resolution displays along with haptic feedback upon touch. The interface is plain and simple and offers a quick and fluid user experience. Some of the features on offer are Navigation, Voice control with Alexa, Automatic climate control, Bang and Olufsen audio system, Wifi hotspot, and wireless charging pad. 

Will there be any changes to the exterior of the 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback?

The Audi e-Tron Sportback is a coupe shaped SUV, very visible by its flat roof followed by the steeply sloping rear roof that meets the trunk at a very high angle. The SUV looks like a large, sporty cruiser due to its curves, edges, and shape. It doesn't really give much of an SUV look. It looks like a regular coupe was just scaled to a larger size but has much better design as well as sharper looks. The black styling package that the Audi offers elevates the car’s overall appeal to certain new eye-appealing levels.

The e-Tron Sportback will offer the same exterior features as the regular e-Tron models like the matrix LED headlights that cleverly illuminate the road without dazzling the oncoming traffic. These headlamp units utilize around one million micromirrors, capable of tilting around 5,000 times per second. However, this might now be offered in the US market due to the road regulations here. The car looks elegant on the outside while also looking muscular. The steeply raked D-pillars with its extended roof gives the car a squat stance. Overall, the 2021 Audi e-Tron shall look simple and straightforward but also very futuristic at the same time.

Models

2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback

2020 Jaguar I-Pace

2020 Tesla Model X

Curb Weight (lbs)

5643

4784

5421

Length (inches)

193

184.3

198.3

Width (inches)

76.3

74.6

81.5

Height (inches)

65.5

61.3

66

Ground Clearance (inches)

6.9

5.6

5.4

Wheelbase (inches)

115.1

117.7

116.7

2020 Data used for reference

These exterior dimensions show that Audi is neither the largest vehicle nor the smallest in the whole competition. It rides somewhere in the middle, which may be what helps the car to pass through as just a larger coupe than a regular coupe or a full-size SUV. If you want the best road presence then the Tesla Model X is the car for you which offers unique features as the falcon-wing doors.

Will the 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback be worth it?

There is no doubt that the 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback is the sportier version of the Audi e-tron SUV. It is a more driver-oriented and performance-focused electric vehicle that offers a much more engaging drive. The sporty exterior looks, stable handling, impeccable aerodynamic design of the vehicle, and the super practical, comfortable, luxurious, premium cabin is what makes this one a very good overall package. If style and quality are what you look for in a car and miles or range is not your prime concern, then the e-Tron Sportsback should certainly be at the top of your list.

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