Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro

In a world mostly dominated by Tesla, the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro offers the most exciting aspects of driving an electric car. With a 0-100kph (62.1mph) time of just 5.7s, a range over 230 miles, an extremely smooth and silent drive, this pretty much packs everything you’d want in any car, let alone it be an electric car. Until recently, SUVs have had the reputation of being gas guzzlers, being bad for the environment, but the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro is ready to challenge those stereotypes.

Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro – Features

  • Quattro permanent all-wheel drive
  • Single speed automatic
  • Top speed limited to 124.3 mph (200 kph)
  • 0-100kph (62.4mph) in 5.7s on boost, 6.6s under normal mode
  • 95kWh Lithium Ion battery gives you up to 241 miles of range
  • 4901 x 1935 x 1616 mm, up to 1665 litre of boot space behind the front seat, normal boot space of 615 litres

Look and feel

If you’re after looks, this car ticks all the boxes. The Audi engineers have put an immense lot of attention to the minutest of details, giving this SUV an almost coupe like feel. From the edges to the curves, from the wheels to the top, every bit of the car is designed to excite your visual senses.

Internally, the seats are comfortable, come with good support and lots of room. The dashboard offers everything you need, and once you have driven the car enough, you build enough muscle memory to be able to use whatever you want without needing to look for it.

A very exciting car to drive

Most of the cars I try to be petrol or diesel based, and I am still new to Electric. The last electric car I properly reviewed was a Nissan Leaf. So excuse me if I sound a bit excited about how powerful, how responsive, how smooth, and how utterly exciting the e-tron Sportback is to drive. Combine this with the fact that this car feels utterly silent while you’re driving it, and it almost adds a magical carpet feel to the whole thing.

Fantasy aside, this car has a beautiful responsiveness to its drive. Every mm movement of the acceleration pedal is rewarding, and if you want to just throw things up a notch, just go into boost mode. The fact that boost mode lets you nip to over 60 mph in just over 5 seconds should be telling.

You can adjust your driving mode too, but I found the standard one was good enough for all I wanted.

A smooth ride

Alas, driving is generally an A to B experience, and if adrenaline fuelled journeys are not your thing, this car does not disappoint there either. In fact, this is where the quietness of the car really impresses. The car is able to take on long roads and journeys at a very comfortable and smooth pace, offering you an experience akin to gliding. Mix this with seats that offer extra support, and little things like dual climate control, heated seats, and many many other gizmos, and you’re good to go.

Handling

The handling is quite superb too, and you can easily take both corners as well as straight roads. It is a heavy car, and it feels heavy, but in a ‘I am in control’ kind of way rather than skirling about.

While we talk of handling, also note that like most other Audis, this also offers lane assistance, which gives you a gentle nudge if you’re drifting off your lane. I always find that feature interesting in cars, but on this I found it to be rather gentle rather than the forceful implementation I have found in others.

So quiet

If you feel like I may be going on and on about how quiet this is, it is because it really is that quiet! The acoustics have been managed to a supreme detail, which means that even on faster roads, the experience inside the cabin is quite serene.

The Virtual Mirrors

Despite all that the vehicle has to offer, the thing I was asked most about the car was the Virtual Mirrors. The car comes with aerodynamic virtual mirrors on the side, which are essentially cameras packed into the side of the car, to reduce the drag the normal wing mirror would have on the car.

This takes a little getting used to, and while they are very easy to see and manipulate, you can instantly notice the fact that they are digital and not optical. For example, any car with LED lights behind you will be noticeable as a flashing/blinking headlight instead of fully on, as it is to the naked eye. This effect is generally noticeable via smartphones too, so nothing new there. It is also a bit weird to try and look through the window, but then gaze slightly lower to see what these have to show. One of the risks with these is if there is any water on the camera, it might obscure the vision.

Having said all that, like all new things, by the end of my trial week, I had pretty much got used to these. Changing lanes in high pressure situations was a little more stressful than I would have liked to begin with, but it got better and easier in only 3 days of driving. The fact that the rear windows are tinted also meant that you rely on these more than you might have realised.

Would I pay extra for them as an option? Personally, no, but I think there is potential with the technology, and will be interesting to see how it develops. It takes all the tech that most cars are packing into wing mirrors and brings it inside into a handy screen, keeping it safe from any accidents. It already is at par with what a normal mirror would offer, and a bit more, especially as it marks out when a car is too close in your blind spot, or useful markers when you indicate, or reverse.

Full of tech

It is almost a given that an electric car will come full of tech, and the Audi e-tron Sportback does not disappoint. There is a lot of lighted trims, illuminated curves and lights, and even the word ‘e-tron’ projected onto the floor from the doors. However, my particular favourite was the birds-eye view camera which is generally enabled when you’re reversing. The cameras are so good that I pretty much stopped looking out of the windows while reversing.

On top of that you have all the tech that you have come to expect from such a car. There is a pretty decent audio system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a very decent Sat Nav and much more.

Battery Life and charging

The car comes packed with the ability to be fast-charged. This means that you can charge this over 50% in around half an hour. Annoyingly, Oxford is pretty backwards when it comes to offering such options, and the only few I found around me seemed to be either on forecourts of propriety garages, or in some cases, only for taxi uses. The one fast charger I did find near my work that I could use was broken. All this added to quite a bit of range anxiety.

Sure, I can charge it at home and plug it in to a regular 3 pin socket, but without a standard charger setup at home, you get about 8-12 miles every hour.

However, a lot of electric car deals do include a home charging setup, so do check that option out and you’ll be grand.

More information

More information on the car can be found on the Audi website. The model we tested retails for £89,470, but generally the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro starts at £79k.

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