The Audi e-tron Sportback has been revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show as a low-riding electric SUV with the same 496bhp as the e-tron quattro concept.
A high riding hatchback or low riding SUV – take your pick – the e-tron Sportback is said to be a new class of car (did someone at Audi read Jaguar’s bumph for the i-Pace?) and the forerunner of a production model in 2019.
The Sportback gets what Audi are calling next generation digital lighting with matrix LED full beam headlights, daytime running lights which project light on to reflective parts of the body and also act as indicators, and matrix laser lights which project turn signals on the road.
The electric powertrain has two electric motors at the back and one at the front delivering a maximum of 496bhp and 590lb/ft of torque, enough to get to 62mph in 4.5 seconds.
The motors can recover energy during braking, and in normal driving the Sportback relies on the front motor, but the rear motors cut in when demanded.
Audi say the 95kWh batteries can be charged wirelessly and will take 50kWh on a fast charger, but they expect that to triple by the time the Sportback goes in to production, potentially offering an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes. As long as you can find a charger capable of delivering that.
More or less the same size as an A7 – although a chunk taller – the Sportback weighs in at around 2,000kg, not bad for a big EV and helped by plenty of carbon fibre and aluminium.
Inside, the Sportback has a new take on Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with a digital instrument cluster, a pair of touchscreens and a digital display in front of the passenger, all part of the wraparound design.
With Audi pitching in with a car very like the Jaguar i-Pace, it’s clear we’re going to see more of these short nosed, not quite SUVs on the way from premium car makers as they continue to try and drive the EV market to maturity.
The four-door Gran Turismo Audi e-tron Sportback concept will turn in to a production model in 2019.