Audi has joined the battle for EV dominance, and its second electric offering in the US happens to be a mid-size luxury crossover SUV coupe that can sprint to sixty in 5.5 seconds and packs over 400 horsepower. The Audi e-tron Sportback is the perfect amalgamation of the ever-popular crossover SUV design, mated to a futuristic electric powertrain. With only 218 miles of range, the e-tron Sportback can't get close to what the Tesla Model X or Model Y offers between charges, but it makes up for it with brilliant road comfort, a stunning interior, and lots of standard tech. It's not quite as practical as the more conventionally styled e-tron, though. Starting at $69,100, the e-tron Sportback goes up against the smaller Jaguar I-Pace as well as the Tesla Model X.
The 2021 e-tron Sportback carries over virtually unchanged, save for changes to the options and packages. A new Convenience Plus package is now offered on the Premium trim and it contains active lane assist, a 360-degree camera, and adaptive cruise control with turn assist and efficiency assistant, as well as the entire Black Optic package with its blacked-out exterior trim. When paired to the Prestige trim, the Black Optic package gets a new style of 21-inch alloy wheel and can now also be specced with a 22-inch five-spoke-turbine-style wheel. The brake calipers are painted Dynamic Orange if you spec this package.
See trim levels and configurations:
In the world of crossover SUVs, the Audi e-tron Sportback is one of the better-looking players. Compared with the regular e-tron, the Sportback's sloping roofline is hard to miss and will appeal to the fashion-conscious crowd. The base model's exterior features full LED headlights, a power panoramic sunroof, and a set of 20-inch five-spoke turbine-design bi-color wheels. The Premium Plus adds Matrix-design LED headlights and dual charging ports, and the Prestige model adds dual-pane acoustic side windows, while all models get a power trunk lid. The Black Optic package, which can be specced on the upper two trims, gives the e-tron Sportback a menacing air with blacked-out exterior styling elements, 21-inch alloys, and Dynamic Orange brake calipers. When ordered on the Prestige trim, the wheels can be further upspecced to 22 inches.
Classified as a mid-size luxury crossover SUV, the e-tron Sportback shares similar dimensions with competitors such as the Tesla Model X, although the biggest difference between the two is in body length. This Audi is 193 inches long, over five inches shorter than the Model X, but nearly nine inches longer than the Jaguar I-Pace. The e-tron is 65 inches tall, has a max width of 76.2 inches excluding the side mirrors, and a wheelbase of 115 inches. Curb weight comes in at a substantial 5,787 lbs.
As one of Audi's very first all-electric vehicles, the e-tron Sportback model uses the same powertrain as the e-tron. The 2022 car features twin electric motors with a max output of 402 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque when Boost Mode is activated. In normal use, outputs are 355 hp and 414 lb-ft. In the front is an axially parallel, asynchronous electric motor producing up to 181 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque. At the same time, the rear houses a coaxial, asynchronous motor producing 221 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via Audi's legendary quattro all-wheel-drive system, while dual single-speed transmissions - one per axle - seamlessly direct power to all four corners. This electric behemoth will accelerate from 0 to 60 in only 5.5 seconds and will reach an electronically limited top speed of 124 mph. With all that torque on offer, the e-tron can tow up to 4,000 lbs when properly equipped. In and around town, the AWD e-tron feels powerful enough for most driving situations, and while it is not as explosive as some EVs, it delivers its power without any fuss, which adds to its refinement. On the highway, there's enough poke for overtaking, but things start to wind down after 110 mph.
Electric vehicles weigh more than ordinary gas-powered cars due to their heavy battery pack configurations. More weight tends to mean inferior handling, but in the case of the 2022 Audi e-tron, its low-mounted battery pack actually helps the car to feel more stable at speed and also aids in keeping body roll to a minimum when taking corners at speed. The e-tron feels composed over even the roughest of road surfaces with the standard adaptive air suspension, despite its large 20-inch wheels or optional 21-inch wheels. Steering is light but accurate, and selecting the Sport driving mode beautifully weighs up the steering, but with little to no road feedback, the overall experience is a bit numb. The e-tron is not exactly a sports car but can be flung around corners with impressive stability and overall poise.
With EPA-rated figures of 76/78/77 MPG-equivalent city/highway/combined and a range on a full charge of 218 miles, the 2022 e-tron Sportback fails to impress relative to its key rivals. The Jaguar I-Pace offers 234 miles, and the base Tesla Model X offers a massive 348 miles between charges. The Tesla Model X will also get up to 142 miles of range from only 15 minutes of charging at one of Tesla's Supercharging stations. Despite its shorter than average maximum range, the e-tron does offer fast charging times. Fully replenishing the 95 kWh battery on an AC 9.6-kW charge will take about nine hours, and charging to 80 percent with a DC 150-kW connection will only take 30 minutes. To make charging as easy as possible, the e-tron includes a charging port on the drivers and front passenger fenders for the top two trims.
Despite its sleek looks, the 2022 Audi e-tron remains a family-friendly five-seater SUV with enough space to seat five adults in comfort. The front seats are beautifully supportive and should keep its occupants comfortable for as long as the car can keep itself on the road before needing a charge. Headroom and legroom in the front is more than enough for six-foot-tall occupants, and there is also an abundance of room in the rear. Compared with the regular e-tron, rear legroom is just as generous, although rear headroom has dropped by around 0.7 inches due to the Sportback's sloping roofline. Access to the rear seats also requires stooping down a bit lower. The base model offers eight-way power-adjustable front seats with four-way power-adjustable lumbar support, leather seating surfaces, and heated front seats. The Premium Plus trim adds ventilated front seats with 18-way power-adjustability, and the Prestige adds massage front seats in Valcona perforated leather along with driver and passenger memory.
Forget about the fancy all-electric powertrain and handsome styling; the e-tron Sportback is first and foremost an SUV that needs to provide enough interior and trunk space if it wants to stay competitive in its class. The good news is that the e-tron offers a solid amount of space. Behind the second row seats, this Audi provides 27.2 cubic feet of space, which is 1.9 cubic feet more than what you get in the smaller Jaguar I-Pace, and behind the first row, the Audi offers 54.5 cubic feet, just 0.9 cubes more than the Jaguar. Both these cars are dominated by the Tesla Model X, though, which provides a total cargo capacity of 88 cubic feet. Small items can be stored in the e-tron Sportback's center console bin, glove box, front and rear cupholders, and sizable door pockets.
Like any other high-end Audi, the e-tron comes packed with a long list of features and tech. The base model features a power panoramic sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated Toll Module and a digital compass, a powered tilting/telescoping and heated leather steering wheel with shift paddles and hands-on detection, and an extended leatherette-trimmed interior. The list continues with heated front seats, front/rear parking sensors, forward-collision warning, full automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle-exit warning, lane-departure warning, cruise control, and high-beam assist. The Premium Plus trim adds ambient LED interior lighting, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and traffic sign recognition, a surround-view camera system, and wireless phone charging. The top of the range Prestige includes features such as a multicolor ambient LED lighting package, the extended leather package, Valcona leather seating surfaces, massaging and ventilated front seats, rear-window sunshades, dual-pane acoustic side glass, and a head-up display.
Audi's 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster faces the driver and the infotainment system's multiple screens dominate the dashboard of the e-tron. To the right of the gauge cluster are two touchscreens; an upper 10.1-inch screen for the MMI Navigation plus system and a slightly smaller touchscreen for the climate controls below this. This sleek and contemporary design might look cool, but small issues find their way into the design, such as the climate controls that are a hassle to reach and operate or the fact that the system overall can be slightly intimidating to use for the technologically inept. For the rest, this system will work beautifully and offers all the latest connectivity features. This infotainment system features Bluetooth streaming with voice control, integrated navigation, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, an Audi smartphone interface with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, front/rear USB ports, wireless charging, and a six-month trial subscription to Audi connect Prime and Audi connect Plus online services. The standard Audi sound system is replaced by a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D premium sound system on the top two trims.
A few reliability issues have plagued the Audi e-tron Sportback, with four recalls being issued for the 2021 model. These were for corrosion in the brake booster causing a possible loss of ABS functionality, a malfunctioning seat-belt locking retractor, a glovebox that may interfere with the passenger's knee-airbag deployment, and the failure of a rotor and shaft that may cause the ABS and stability control to fail. A recall was issued for the 2022 model for a failure of the backup camera's image to display. Audi covers the e-tron with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty plan. Finally, the high-voltage battery is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback attained a five-out-of-five star safety rating from the NHTSA for crashworthiness. After review by the IIHS, the 2021 version attained the agency's best Top Safety Pick + accolade and so far, the 2022 model has also achieved top scores at the agency. The 2022 e-tron Sportback features a full complement of eight airbags, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, high-beam assist, cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle-exit warning, lane-departure warning, and a rearview camera. The Premium Plus adds adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist and traffic-sign recognition, and a surround-view camera system. The Prestige also adds a head-up display and intersection assist. Rear side airbags are available as an option on all trims and digital Matrix-design LED headlights can be specified, but only on the Prestige trim.
The e-tron range of SUVs marks Audi's official entry into the world of EV cars and has been met with open arms by fans of the German auto manufacturer; but does that mean that it's any good? In review, the Audi e-tron Sportback is enjoying its first year of being on sale in the USA, and with strikingly good looks and impressive performance, there should be no reason why people shouldn't be snapping these new electric SUVs up. The e-tron, as with most of Audi's other offerings, brings class and refinement to the table. The exterior is a beautiful example of contemporary crossover SUV design, and the interior is as refined as anything you'll find in this price range. The standard technology on offer is also on par with the best, and as the standard e-tron SUV has proven, these cars are seriously safe thanks to the Audi range of active driver assistance features. The e-tron Sportback's maximum range might be less than the competition, but it offers a supremely refined driving experience, and there's enough go to match the show. With a starting price of $69,100, the new Audi e-tron Sportback is cheaper than the competition, including the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace.
The price of the e-tron Sportback will depend on how much you're willing to spend on features. US pricing starts with a base price of $69,100 for the Premium. This price does not include tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,095. Next up is the Premium Plus, which goes for an MSRP of $78,000, followed by the Prestige at $82,300. Fully kitted, the Prestige model costs $92,040 including the destination fee.
Seeing as the 2022 e-tron Sportback shares the same drivetrain specs and performance figures across the board, it would only make sense to look at the list of standard features to make a final purchasing decision. The e-tron is powered by dual electric motors, offering a range of 218 miles and a zero to sixty sprint time of 5.5 seconds. The range starts with the Premium, which offers standard features such as four-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, parking sensors, forward-collision warning, automatic braking, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and high beam assist. The Premium Plus sees the greatest step up in terms of additional features and adds gear and tech such as ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system. The Premium Plus would be our choice, as it strikes the best balance between cost and standard features.
The Jaguar I-Pace is one of the original all-electric SUVs and still offers a magnificent package. From the outside, this car looks a treat, and with a capable powertrain, excellent driving dynamics, and a respectable driving range, this Brit might be one of the best in its class. The I-Pace delivers 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque from its two electric motors and will out-accelerate the Audi with a 0-60 time of only 4.5 seconds. With EPA figures of 80/72/76 MPGe city/highway/combined and a maximum range of 234 miles, the I-Pace is also the more efficient car. On the road, the Jag will match the e-tron for road comfort but offers more feedback through the steering wheel. The I-Pace interior is sleek and contemporary, but the Audi offers slightly more interior and trunk space. The Audi will most likely be the safer car, but both pack a lot of standard tech. The Jag might be smaller, but it's more fun to live with.
Tesla's luxury crossover SUV has proven to be a massive hit, and despite its far higher price tag, it poses one of the biggest threats to the e-tron family of cars. The base Model X is powered by a pair of electric motors and has a 100-kWh battery pack, which provides 670 hp. When those figures hit the road, the base Model X sprints to sixty in only 3.8 seconds and tops out at 155 mph, making it much faster than the e-tron Sportback. In terms of efficiency, the Model X has a maximum range of 348 miles, absolutely blowing the e-tron Sportback out of the water. On the road, the Model X is just as comfortable as its German rival and can be thrown around with surprising glee. Unfortunately, the Model X can't match the Audi for build quality, but it does offer much more trunk space. The Model X is a tech-rich vehicle and is exceptionally safe, according to the NHTSA. The Tesla is also larger, faster, and more efficient, so if you can pay $110,490, go for it.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback: