Audi unveiled the second model in its e-tron product line. The Audi e-tron Sportback is a battery-electric SUV coupé offering up to 300 kW of power and a range of up to 446 kilometers (277.1 miles) (WLTP) from a single battery charge. Combined electric power consumption is 26.3 - 21.6 kWh/100 km (WLTP); 23.9 – 20.6 kWh/100 km (NEDC). The Audi e-tron Sportback can be ordered as of the end of November. Market introduction in Europe is scheduled for the spring of 2020.
Audi is introducing the new e-tron Sportback with two powertrain versions: the e-tron Sportback 55 quattro, and the e-tron Sportback 50 quattro, with less power, battery capacity, and range.
The Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro. Each axle is fitted with an asynchronous electric motor that is fed with three-phase current by the power electronics. Output is 265 kW and 561 N·m (413.8 lb-ft) of torque.
The Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro takes 6.6 seconds to reach 100 km/h (62.1 mph), and its top speed is electronically limited to 200 km/h (124.3 mph). By shifting from drive range D to S and fully depressing the accelerator pedal, the driver can activate boost mode.
Here, the drive generates 300 kW of output and 664 N·m (489.7 lb-ft) of torque for eight seconds. This enables the SUV coupé to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 5.7 seconds. Two-stage planetary gearboxes with one gear range transfer the torque from the electric motors to the axles. A switch, which the driver can operate with the thumb and forefinger, is used to select the gears. It is embedded in a lever that is set low above the center tunnel and serves as a hand rest.
Electric all-wheel drive delivers outstanding traction and dynamism on any terrain. It continuously regulates the ideal drive torque distribution between both axles within fractions of a second. In most driving situations, the Audi e-tron Sportback relies exclusively on its rear electric motor for efficiency. If the driver requests more output than it can provide, the front unit is instantly activated. This also happens predictively before slip occurs in icy conditions or when cornering fast, or if the car understeers or oversteers.
A key factor behind the sporty character and outstanding transverse dynamics is the low installation position of the drive components, resulting in a center of gravity that is much lower than in a conventional SUV. All of the heaviest components are concentrated in the center of the vehicle. The axle load distribution with a ratio of almost 50:50 is perfectly balanced; the self-steering behavior is neutral.
With components such as the five-link suspensions, the progressive steering and the electrohydraulic brake system, the suspension combines the latest technologies, which together ensure agile vehicle handling and a high degree of comfort.
The standard 255/55 R19 size tires stand out with their ultra-low rolling resistance. On request, tires of up to 22 inches will also be available from the middle of 2020—one size larger than on the e-tron.
The dynamic handling system Audi drive select—fitted as standard in the Audi e-tron Sportback allows the driver to switch the method of operation of multiple drive components between seven profiles. This creates a marked difference between smooth rolling comfort and sporty, stable handling. The adaptive air suspension with controlled dampers provides a major contribution to this versatile character. At higher speeds, the body is lowered, noticeably improving airflow around it and extending the vehicle’s range. In total, the system is capable of varying the ride height by up to 76 millimeters (3.0 in).
95 kWh battery system. The battery system of the Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro stores 95 kWh of gross energy (86.5 kWh net) and operates at a rated voltage of 396 volts. It is fitted as a wide flat block beneath the passenger cell, to which it is bolted at 35 points.
The battery system is exceptionally rigid and crash-proof due to a solid protective frame and an aluminum laminate that holds the 36 cell modules. These are arranged on two levels, as a long lower “floor” with 31 modules and a short upper floor with five modules. Each module integrates twelve pouch cells. The cooling system is located beneath the cell chamber.
During deceleration actions of up to 0.3 g—which applies to more than 90% of such actions in everyday driving—the high-voltage battery is charged by the electric motors, primarily by the rear electric motor, which act as generators in these situations. The recuperation system provides for variable regulation of energy recuperation between both electric modules—both in coasting mode when the driver releases the right-hand pedal as well as during braking. The degree of coasting recuperation can be set to three stages by means of paddles on the steering wheel and is even more strongly differentiated than on the e-tron.
When braking from 100 km/h (62.1 mph), the Audi e-tron Sportback can recuperate a maximum of 300 N·m (221.3 lb-ft) and 220 kW. As with its sister model, this amounts to more than 70% of its output and more than any other production model. Overall, the SUV‑coupé attains up to 30% of its range through recuperation.
The wheel brakes, the innovative electrohydraulic activation concept of which allows them to respond with exceptional speed, come into play only at deceleration forces greater than 0.3 g. Depending on the driving situation, the control system decides individually for each axle whether the SUV coupé recuperates using just the electric motors, just the wheel brakes, or a combination of both. The transition between electric and hydraulic braking is smooth and homogeneous so the driver does not even notice it. Brake forces remain constant.
On the wheel brakes of the Audi e-tron Sportback, the developers have substantially reduced residual brake torque—the losses that occur during brief application of the brake pads against the disk. This benefits both efficiency and range. The same applies to three additional measures: During normal vehicle operation, the front electric motor is almost completely decoupled from the drive. An increase in the usable range of the high-voltage battery combined with a reduction in several of the volume flows in the coolant circuit means that the pump has to provide less power.
The highly flexible thermal management, which comprises four separate circuits, regulates the temperature of the high-voltage components with maximum efficiency. This enables rapid DC charging, a long battery life cycle, and reproducible performance even under heavy loads. The standard heat pump, which harnesses waste heat from the high-voltage battery, can use up to 3 kW of actual power losses for heating and air conditioning the interior—which is exceptionally efficient. Depending on the outside temperature, that can boost the Audi e-tron Sportback’s range by up to ten percent in customer operation.
Audi e-tron Sportback 50 quattro. At market launch, Audi will offer the all-electric drive SUV coupé with a second motor variant. The e-tron Sportback 50 quattro generates 230 kW of output and 540 N·m (398.3 lb-ft) of torque.
A 71 kWh battery packs dispenses with the upper “floor;” its 27 modules each consist of twelve prismatic cells. The system, which weighs roughly 120 kilograms (264.6 lb) less than the battery of the Sportback 55 quattro, provides 71 kWh of gross energy (64.7 kWh net). This allows the SUV coupé to cover up to 347 kilometers (215.6 mi) on a full charge in the WLTP cycle.
The Audi e-tron Sportback 50 quattro accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 6.8 seconds and has a top speed of 190 km/h (118.1 mph). Combined electric power consumption is 26.3 - 21.6 kWh/100 km (WLTP); 23.9 – 21.4 (NEDC).
Charging. The Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro can charge with direct current (DC) at up to 150 kW at fast-charging stations. In just under half an hour, the battery reaches 80% of its capacity—sufficient for the next leg of a long-distance trip. The e-tron Sportback 50 quattro can charge at up to 120 kW and achieves an identical charge status in the same time.
Charging at public AC charging stations can be performed using a standard mode-3 cable. Up to 11 kW of power is available here, which can be increased to 22 kW with an optional second on-board charging device that will be available in summer 2020. Audi’s own charging service, the e-tron Charging Service, provides easy access to almost 120,000 public charging points in 21 European countries – and the number is rising. Whether AC or DC, 11 or 150 kW—a single card is all that is required to start the process. The Plug & Charge function, which is also due to follow in 2020, will make charging even more convenient: The car authorizes itself at the charging station and activates it.
Audi also offers a range of solutions for charging in the garage at home, depending on the capacity of the domestic power supply. The standard compact charging system is suitable for a simple 230-volt connection and for a 400-volt three-phase outlet with an output of up to 11 kW. The optional charging stem connect will be available for ordering at market launch. It offers smart charging functions, for example preferred charging at low-cost times. The combination with a suitable home energy management system allows the vehicle to be charged preferably with self-generated solar power, provided that the house is equipped with a photovoltaic system.
Aerodynamics. The Audi e-tron Sportback in conjunction with an S line exterior and virtual exterior mirrors achieves a drag coefficient value of 0.25—better than its Audi e-tron sister model.
This is primarily due to the coupé body shape and the associated lower aerodynamic drag behind the car. The high separating edge of the Sportback minimizes swirl in the air flow in this area, which ultimately also benefits consumption.
In the WLTP cycle, the SUV coupé has a range of up to 446 kilometers on a single battery charge. Roughly 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of the increased range compared to the e-tron can be attributed to the aerodynamically more favorable body.
The optional virtual exterior mirrors, whose wing-shaped supports integrate small cameras, represent yet another efficiency factor. The captured images appear on high-contrast OLED displays in the transition between the instrument panel and the door. If the driver moves his or her finger toward the surface of the touch display, symbols are activated with which the driver can reposition the image.
In addition, the mirrors adjust automatically to three driving situations: On the highway as well as during turning and parking maneuvers, they provide optimum visibility for each scenario. The aerodynamic refinement also extends to areas hidden from view. Among others, these include the controllable air intake with channels for cooling the front brakes, the aero wheels, and the fully lined underbody including the aluminum plate to protect the high-voltage battery.
Digital matrix LED headlights. With digital matrix LED headlights as top-of-the range equipment, Audi presents a worldwide first in a production vehicle: Broken down into minute pixels, the light can illuminate the road in high resolution.
The design is based on a technology abbreviated as DMD (digital micromirror device) and is also used in many video projectors. At its heart is a small chip containing one million micromirrors, each of whose edge length measures just a few hundredths of a millimeter. With the help of electrostatic fields, each individual micromirror can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. Depending on the setting, the LED light is either directed via the lenses onto the road or is absorbed in order to mask out areas of the light beam.
In the Audi e-tron Sportback, the digital light that will expand the offering in mid-2020, performs multiple tasks. It can generate dynamic leaving- and coming-home animations that appear as projections on a wall or on the ground. This presentation transforms the area in front of the car into a carefully illuminated stage.
Not only does the digital light system deliver cornering, city, and highway lighting as versions of the low-beam light with exceptional precision, it also supplements the high-beam light by masking out other road users with even greater accuracy. Above all, however, it offers innovative functions such as lane light and orientation light.
On freeways, the lane light creates a carpet of light that illuminates the driver’s own lane brightly and adjusts dynamically when he or she changes lane. In this way, it improves the driver’s awareness of the relevant lane and contributes to improved road safety.
In addition, the orientation light uses darkened areas masked out from the light beam to predictively show the vehicle’s position in the lane, thereby supporting—especially on narrow roads or in highway construction zones—the safe lane centering assist. The marking light function is also used in conjunction with the optional night vision assist. The light automatically draws attention to any pedestrians it detects, thereby reducing the danger of overlooking pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the lane.
Customization after the purchase: Functions on demand. The Audi e-tron Sportback is a standard-bearer for the new digital services and business areas that the brand is opening up. One of these is the “functions on demand” offering, which covers functions from the areas of light, driver assist systems, and infotainment. The customer can book them online, on demand and at any time. Even after they have taken delivery of their car, the customer can now continually customize it to their individual requirements. Every function can be obtained for varying periods—monthly, annually, or permanently. Functions are booked either via the myAudi app or on the myAudi online portal and paid for conveniently and securely via AudiPay.
At market launch: Edition model “edition one”. The Audi e-tron Sportback, which is being built in the CO2-neutral plant in Brussels, will debut on the European market in spring 2020. In Germany, the e-tron Sportback will be available in the two output variants, with the base price starting at €71,350.
To celebrate the launch, Audi will offer the limited-edition model “edition one” in plasma blue. Based on the S line exterior, it also includes the virtual exterior mirrors, attachments finished in an aluminum look, exclusive 21-inch wheels, orange brake calipers, and the panoramic glass sunroof. The illuminated front door sill trims project the model name “edition one” as a logo onto the ground. The interior offers a choice between the interior design selection, supplemented with customized contour seats with exclusive Monaco gray seat covers in Valcona leather, and the S line interior with sport seats also in Valcona leather. The equipment also includes the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with front 3D sound, the assist package Tour and matrix LED headlights with front and rear dynamic turn signals as well as dynamic light scenarios.